Saturday, July 19, 2008

Will The Real Joker Please Stand Up

I take it back. A while ago I was horrified that Heath Ledger was going to play the Joker in the new Batman flick. You see, I am a purist. I expect an exceptional person to play the Joker. His character is the most complex and well done villain in comics -- my personal opinion. I worry that an unworthy actor would make a mess out of the character. Let me list some actors who I think would do a bad job as the Joker: Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins (even when he was young), Ben Kingsley, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Essentially, I didn't think anyone could play the Joker and do him justice.

Boy, was I wrong. I am always willing to admit when I discover that I am wrong. First, of course, I have to discover that I'm wrong, then I'll admit. Heath Ledger (RIP) made the best Joker ever set to film. I eat my words now. The Joker he played was very much as I would think he would be if he were a real person. He lies constantly, his ideas are bizarre, grotesque, crazy and random. He is the extreme of Batman's madness and the perfect enemy for the Dark Knight. He is a force of nature -- a stroke of genius. As a comics partial geek I was impressed.

It's nice to have a film director take Batman seriously for a change. That's what Christopher Nolan has done in these two movies. I am sad that he will have to recast the Joker for the next movie. He may not find someone who can play the part so well as Ledger did. On the other hand, I hope he does put the Joker in the next movie. The Joker is as necessary to Batman as the cape and the batarangs. The Dark Knight is truly the best in the franchise so far. They didn't eliminate the Joker nor go into a lengthy origin story for him. I think it was a wise move and I've got my eye out for what Nolan will do next. If he destroys the Penguin like that idiot Tim Burton (I consider Batman Returns to be Burton's greatest cinematic error) I'm gonna have a few choice words for him. . .

Anyways. Go see the movie. It's worth it.

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