The Joker – Hero Slayer, Hero Maker
Just when you think you have seen the greatest comic book hero movie of all time, it gets displaced soon enough which makes you pause and say, “I thought I’ve seen it all….”
The recent Batman tale elicits such a reaction it is so philosophically rich thanks to the character of the joker. The recent Batman movie is something that as never been done before. This movie is unapologetically dark and gritty; it’s cinematography consistently sticking to dark gray tones throughout. If you are expecting a conventional hero movie where all the protagonists get away unscathed prepare to be disappointed it won’t happen so here. This time our heroes are battered, bruised and nearly broken if not dead thanks to….the joker (again).
This is a psychologically heavy film and it’s borrowing from silence of the lambs is so obvious but it is still worth the watch, because the same elements in silence is reproduced and applied to our iconic heroes batman and joker resulting in a huge success. Here, the joker evilly lets it all out, much to the disquiet of batman and all the good law abiding citizens of Gotham. Throughout the film one would be compelled to ask more than once if the joker is really truly the bad guy or is the bad guy the hypocrisy that resides within civilized people in times when well things are civilized. One would even be compelled to ask if the bad guy is actually Batman. This is how cannily the joker will manipulate you in the film. However, that would be the conventional train of thought this film wants to lead you into so watching this film requires higher thinking and the ability to glimpse into the inner workings of the sinister mind of the joker.
The cast are all veterans in portraying complicated characters, Christian Bale (American Psycho), Maggie Glynehaal (The Secretary) and Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) and they all gave a memorable performance. The best performance in the film goes to Heath Ledger as the Joker hands down totally eclipsing our dark knight. The reason for this is his flamboyantly evil character and his auspiciously philosophically rich dialogue he can sink his teeth into at nearly every minute of his appearance. Truly the most memorable lines in the film are uttered by those characters other than batman. Batman is so eclipsed they should have renamed the film “The Joker”.
But really the main point of the film is to make the Joker as some sort of catalyst for events to take in their toll while Batman and the other good guys are in the sidelines reacting to his machinations according to their true nature and so the reason for the Joker’s centrality. This film successfully brings our heroes closer to humanity than ever before as we see them break under pressure. This film offers a great exploration of good and evil, and the types of evil people are capable of. But its richest contribution to the comic world is solving the enigma of the relationship between Batman and Joker, because the joker is no conventional crime lord here. To the joker there is a higher power than wealth or gold and to those who see only that shame on you to the joker there is a higher power and that is very simple: to play god among men, testing them over and over again, while men like Batman really have no choice but to triumph in the end.