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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Dark Knight: Through the Eyes of a Joker Fanatic (Annotated Version)


by Guest Contributor: Mark Donica

All right, so I’ve been a fan of Batman since I can remember. I know who Jervis Tetch is. Do you? Anyway, for as long as I’ve been a Batman fan, I have been a Joker fan. This was mostly due to Mark Hamill’s performance on Batman: The Animated Series. His characterization is part of the reason why I wanted to become a comedian. When I heard a rumor way back when that Mark Hamill was up for the role of the Joker, I was ecstatic. Then more people rose up to show interest, Adrien Brody (who I was for), Robin Williams and even Steve Carrell. So when it came to be known that Heath Ledger was going to be playing the Joker, the community let out a collective groan. Brokeback Mountain jokes commenced, but little did we know that one of the greatest young actors was developing, what in my opinion, was the greatest role of his career. When the Internet at large also found out that the Joker was not going to be his acid-bathed self. More scoffing. Oye.

Fast forward to July 2007, the first teaser trailer was released with the Simpsons Movie. Hearing Christian Bale was great, but the moment that I found out how great this movie was going to be was hearing the Jokers first dialogue. “Starting tonight, people will die. I’m a man of my word.” Hearing the cackle made my eyes widen and my stomach turn. It was perfect. I couldn’t wait to hear more. I hoped that this would be the epitome of what the Joker was supposed to be. After the movie wrapped, it was just a waiting game. Then a horrible tragedy happened. As you all know Heath Ledger died due to an accidental overdose. My biggest want became my biggest fear. If this WAS the excellent Joker performance that everybody wanted, we wouldn’t be able to get a repeat. My condolences go to his family and I hope that his daughter turns out okay.

This made the hype for “The Dark Knight” even bigger. So I went to the midnight showing at the nearest movie theatre with a great group of friends. We were with a group of devoted fans that couldn’t wait to see what Christopher Nolan had to offer. The teased us with the Joker first, then built up what the main movie storyline would be. The first full scene with the Joker showed exactly what we wanted to see, morbid comedy and disregard for everyone else as long as he gets what wants. He knows the inner workings of Batman because they are essentially the same person. He states every move that Batman is going to make before he makes it and gets it perfectly right. Except of course for the last one, assuming that if someone has a bad enough day, it will drive him or her mad. His changing of his back-story shows how deep into madness he has gone. In Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, the Joker himself says, “ If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” His “humor” made people laugh throughout the film despite how inhumane he acts. Never have the words “hospital”, “explosion”, and “gag” all been used as a phrase. That is indeed what it was, and everyone enjoyed it. One of the more subtle jokes that I enjoyed was when they were transferring Harvey. It was a sight gag that involved a fire truck. It was on fire. … GET IT?! See it’s subtle, hokey humor that the Joker is all about. His or her attention to detail was phenomenal and sadly, though the Joker is in Arkham, there is a very small chance that anyone would want to try to recreate Ledger’s performance in any way. The final thing that I will talk about in terms of the Joker’s character is in the interrogation scene. When the Joker’s said, “You complete me”, the crowd laughed a bit. Finally, someone got it right, without the Batman, the Joker would have never come to be. Without Batman, the Joker has no challenge. Actually, in the comics one time the Joker thought he did kill Batman. He became a regular guy by the name of Joseph Kerr, get it? Once he found out that Batman was still alive, he went crazy again. The Joker has no other equivalent and likes it that way, it’s fun to him. At one point, someone was auctioning off the knowledge of Batman’s secret identity, so the Joker shot him, similar to the occurrence in the film. In both, the Joker thought that if he or someone knew, it wouldn’t be fun anymore! That’s the idea, as long as it’s fun!

I could go on about the Joker forever (if you’d like me to, let me know, as I am well learned in the Clown Prince of Crime), but I will wrap this up with some speculation from a fans perspective. There are several little nods that could imply what villains could be in the next movie. I will simply tell the references that I noticed and can let you think of your own. I have mine, but I will let you know of what I think. The first is in one of the first scenes of the film. Bruce asks Lucius if his new armor will protect him against dogs. Lucius replies with, “It’ll work against cats.” Obviously a clue to fans that could mean Catwoman may be involved in the story soon. Clue number two, one of Bruce’s employees discovered his identity. Sounds like a man who loves to challenge his brain to riddles. Mister Reese sends the city into a panic with what he knows. Say it with me now, Mister Reese. A little bit faster now. Does that sound like mysteries to you? One who deals with mysteries? The Riddler is it? Maybe. Now, Harvey’s last toss was originally for Gordan’s son, but if the son was saved, why show how the coin landed, it wouldn’t have mattered. The coin could have been landing for Harvey. What do you think?

So this was longer than I intended, but actually, I could have written a lot more. If the gracious man known as Ezra would like me to write more on the subject of the future of the Batman franchise, I would love to do so.

Thanks for reading.


1 comment:

Ezra Edmond said...

I would welcome you to do so.

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