Why Heath Ledger’s Joker Sucked – Sticking To The Source Material

Ledger-Joker-Sucked.jpg“I can’t believe how stupid some people are and how easily they get brain washed by marketing. Why are people saying Heath Ledger’s Joker was so good in The Dark Knight? It totally baffles my mind when obviously Heath Ledger’s Joker was total bullshit. Why did they even bother naming that character “The Joker”? That so called Joker was nothing like the real joker. They should have called him something else like “Scary White Make Up Man” or something along those lines.

First of all, the real Joker is INSANE. Not eccentric, not wild, not misunderstood. He’s certifiably and clinically insane. He is the paradox to Batman’s order. The so-called-Joker in Dark Knight was totally wrong. He was just eccentric, but also really calm. Yeah he was evil, but he wasn’t insane.

Secondly, what the hell was with the razor cuts? Show me where the hell in the comics where The Joker got his iconic and legendary smile from razor cuts? That was a spit in the face to all Batman comic fans. The Joker’s smile is as iconic as the Superman Emblem. What do you think people would say if they suddenly replaced the Jor-El family crest with a crayon drawing “S” that some dying kid in Hospital gave Superman early in his career? They’d riot in the streets! Joker got his smile from razor cuts??? Why not just make an Aquaman movie where Arthur can’t actually swim. That would make about as much sense.

Third, the white face. The REAL Joker has a white face that he disguises sometimes with flesh colored make up, but this so-called-Joker in The Dark Knight does completely the opposite thing. We all know how the Joker got his white skin, but apparently Christopher Nolan couldn’t be bothered to read a comic book or two to find out for himself. This was blasphemy to any self respecting comic book fan.

The Dark Knight could have been a good movie, but that character they had in there as the bad guy wasn’t The Joker. It was someone else that sort of bore a resemblance to The Joker in some ways, but that wasn’t him. They messed it up totally, and if you like Heath Ledger’s so-called-Joker, then you know nothing about Batman or comic books. Nuff said.”


Ok, now everyone take a deep breath and put your gun away. I don’t really think any of those things I wrote above. So why did I write it? Well, because this issue seems to come up whenever a comic or literary story gets brought to the big screen.

Just this morning I got an email from someone telling me about why The Punisher movie was going to suck because of a list of details that this movie has that are in conflict with some details from the comic book. Same discussion has been going on with the origins of Wolverine. We all know the debates that went on over the design of Megatron in the Transformers movie. Hell, there were tons of real reasons to hate Jessica Alba for Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four franchise, but just because she’s not a natural blonde isn’t one of them.

My argument, when talking about how strictly movies should stick to the source material, has always been that adaptations sometimes need to be made between mediums. Just because one thing works on a comic book page doesn’t mean it will work on a movie screen, and so compromises are sometimes needed. My main question is “Do they stick to the SPIRIT of the characters, rather than making sure they have the right eye color or size of shoe.

Really, the bottom line is “does the character work in the movie or not”, not “how perfectly does the character match the comic character”. The fake note at the beginning of this post was one that I expected to read about 100 times from various people… but thankfully I haven’t got more than 2 or 3 of them.

Ledger’s Joker NEEDED to be adapted for the story and world that Nolan had created. Jack Nicholson’s Joker simply would not have fit with Nolan’s Dark Knight world. He would have come off as silly and ridiculous in this setting. To really nail the spirit of The Joker in the context of Nolan’s world, those changes NEEDED to be made… and I think 99.9% of us agree the changes were for the best and worked perfectly.

If people were consistent with how the expect other comic characters to be exactly like how they are on the printed page, then letters like the one above would have been pouring in. Thankfully that hasn’t happened… so thanks to the Joker, maybe in the future less people will jump up in arms when they see deviations from the source material in an upcoming movie. Maybe if the first designs of Thor come out and he’s not wearing feathered wings on his head… that it MIGHT still be ok. Maybe.

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200 thoughts on “Why Heath Ledger’s Joker Sucked – Sticking To The Source Material

    1. Hamill’s Joker begged for mercy plenty of times on the show when he was in danger. Pretty lame for a character that should be fearless. Ledger’s Joker laughed his ass off when he was falling from a twenty-storey building.

  1. I agree, well, at least with the first part of what you said. I thought I was alone, I never liked HL’s Joker. Didn’t understand why everyone thought he was so great.

    1. I don’t either. As a Batman fan I’m saying this…Batman fans get deaf, dumb and blind before Nolan’s bullshit. I was really going to say “bless you” to this article’s author until I arrived in the middle.

      1. I just re-read this when I saw your reply. Still feel the same way of course. Literally, people say this role was career-defining for him. Wtf?! Am I seriously missing something?

  2. You shouldn’t have retracted your argument. That was a p**sy move. You’re actually right that Ledger’s Joker was not the Joker. The Joker isn’t a calm anarchist who barely laughs. I can tell you weren’t kidding about your comments because you hit the nail right on the head in just about every point you amde.

    1. “The Joker isn’t a calm anarchist ”

      A) In what way Ledger’s Joker was calm? He was the most eccentric live-action Joker. B) Batman, in LofTDK: Mask, describes Joker as the personification of anarchy, chaos, and disorder. Read comics before pretending that you know them.

    1. nothing wrong with deviations from the original source, but the massive overhaul of a story’s entire history is spitting in the face of fans… maybe something such as the marvel noir series would be interesting because it is the overhaul of the original form that makes it what it is – it is necessary to the art. however, removing or adding something major for no apparent reason comes across to fans as hollywood bullsh*t… there is nothing wrong with fans trying to protect the stories and characters they love from money grubbing production studios… not every adaptation has to be a carbon copy of the original material, a faithful yet creative approach is the perfect balance…

  3. Really, if people say to me that the Heath Ledger Joker doesn’t fit with the comic cannon, then I just tell them they haven’t read all the comics. One of the most famous Batman comics out there is The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore(This is definitely cannon, as proven by the fact that it is the comic that produced Barbara Gordon’s back injury). No spoilers, but suffice it to say that the Joker behaves in much the same way as Heath Ledger’s legendary portrayal. As to the argument that the Joke couldn’t have gotten his smile from razors, one truly beautiful aspect of the character that adds to his mystique as a completely unknown character is his lack of a concrete origin story, or more accurately, the fact that he has so many different origin stories that it’d be nearly impossible to point to one and say, “That’s how it happened.” This being the case, whose to say there can’t be an origin story involving facial scarring. Same point does for face.

  4. Heath wanted to make his version of the Joker different. That was his whole point. And what’s wrong with a little change? I am a huge fan of Batman myself and I think his joker was amazing.

  5. Heath Ledger’s Joker sucked, here’s why:

    “Ledger’s Joker NEEDED to be adapted for the story and world that Nolan had created.”

    Well, the world he created, was better suited to the ideals and plans of “The Riddler” instead of “The Joker”. Since, there already IS a character that already is suited to Nolan’s “Needs”, why does he need to butcher another character?

    BTW, is it too much to ask for the joker to at least laugh? He fucking laughed only twice in the whole movie. It was more like “The Seriouser” instead of “The Joker”. At least stick to the name.

  6. Daniel Garza he's not alone, so funny… actually you understand why they stick more as fanboy to the movie than sticking to the comic, they could not read the comic probably, too much signs ahah

  7. if you want the Joker from the comics. then stick to the comics…
    if you haven't realized by now, most hollywood movies based off comics aren't always 100% accurate to the comics.
    cry me a river…

  8. Exactly what he’s saying. What if we based the entire movie on the comic books?
    Oh, right. WE’D GET THE COMIC BOOKS. Little more than that, period.
    The Dark Knight Trilogy was a RETELLING of the story. It was more realistic than the comics are, because let’s face it…how many people survive drops into chemical-filled vats and become insane clowns?
    Most, if not all, of the events in the trilogy were entirely possible (nonwithstanding the high-tech gear Batman uses), and that was part of what made it more vivid. Unlike the Avengers, which had a more bright and “cheerful” tone, The Dark Knight was dark, dreary, and depressing. The Joker in the comics was a little exaggerated. He lives in the darkness and is completely insane. I don’t think he’d be spotlessly clean.
    Either way, I enjoyed the series because it made the point it was trying to make. I enjoyed those older movies, too, because they did the best with what they had and they stuck pretty closely to the comics.
    And for Mr. Tancordo below me, I heavily disagree. He was NOT trying to make us realize evil was in all of us. He WAS trying to get Batman to accept that civilized society is a “bad joke”, because humans deep down are just as crazy as he is. Not to mention, it’s the goddamn comic books. This is not the first interpretation of Joker doing stuff like that.
    Ever read “The Long Halloween”? He threatened The Roman because there was “only room for one homicidal maniac in this town”. That’s a reason to kill someone, at least in Joker’s stance.
    Joker was insane in his own way. He burned a pile of cash worth several million dollars because he didn’t care about the money. He wanted to start this because he was the dog chasing cars.
    That’s pretty fucking insane to me.
    Long story short, Nicholson’s Joker was awesome in his own way. In my opinion (a very well-read opinion, considering I know quite a bit more than most about DC, so don’t call me an ignorant fanboy) Nolan’s Joker was better for the story he was put in. It was dark and serious, and the humorous bit that  Nicholson’s Joker represented wouldn’t have fit. Heath Ledger fit the role, and he did a magnificent job.
    That’s just my opinion.

  9. for those who would defend ledger by saying he was “really scary and terrifying”, sure ill give them that, but to say he was better than NICHOLSON?!? JACK FREAKING NICHOLSON?!? PLEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! The role was virtually MADE for the man when he was born. Nicholson captured the true essence of the Joker; a psychopathic man child out not to prove a good damn thing, but to kill and mess around with people all for the laughs. THESE are traits that define the Joker, not some cliché ideal of wanting people to accept that evil exists in all of us. and i fail to see how the joker was EVER a greasy, dirtyass hobo with long stringy hair painted on makeup.
    the author has it correct. all the morons saying “weeeell, it may not be close to the source material BUT  it still rocked.” well then you can t put down tim burtons penguin or schumachers mr freeze because they were not exactly like the comics yet they still were memorable and rocked in there own way. the hypocrisy of the nolan fanbase is really astounding. this is yet another reason i cant stand the new movies, the fans are total bafoons.

    1. @PeterTancordo Well :) You’re a cunt. Lol
      I’m aware of the instant allocation into the nolan’s fanboy corner, but I’m saying this purely as a human being. “the fans are total bafoons.”
      You’re just an asshole, and you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion, but waking up on the dick side of the bed doesn’t give you the right to slander people.
      And for the record, I Heath’s performance was nothing short of legendary in terms of acting. The resemblance I see to nicholson’s joker is purely in the name and makeup, little else. If you believe otherwise, no worries, but you can go fuck yourself if you think you have the right to force it down other people’s throats. Stop being a verbally debauching piece of shit .
      :) Toodles.

    2. @PeterTancordo I’ve watched the other movies you mentioned. Nolan’s take on the franchise was much more realistic and was by far the best. Tim Burton’s Batman movies were too comical, to a point where they just were not as entertaining. They are good movies, but just not on par with Nolan’s. And Heath Ledger’s Joker plenty insane. He blew up a hospital, and wanted to blow up 2 ships full of people (Batman stopped him). And confronts the mob, alone, and has himself rigged with enough explosives to level a small building. What part of that is not insane?

  10. lol just because people liked the joker in this movie doesn’t make them “brain washed by marketing.” You’re a terrible writer.

  11. Whats wrong with you? I am a batman comic book reader and I agree that it was a different joker, but I am happy with it. I liked his performance, The movie actually features a dark and realistic tone, so the joker’s “acid” origin and comical things, would just make the movie horrible.  I believe that Ledger’s joker is for that movie.

  12. seriously…this trilogy is based on taking a superhero and treating it in a realistic fashion..i dont think immortality is realistic so thats why there was no lazarus pits and why ra’s ah ghul was not really immortal, thats why the scarecrow didnt actually look like a scarecrow, and honestly..there is no possible or scientific way that if the joker fell into nuclearwaste or whatever that his hair turns green and skin white. and they did take everything in the movies from the comics faithfully, the man who falls, the long halloween, knightfall, the killing joke, no mans land, batman year one, the dark kngiht returns..etc. sooo…shut up

  13. Clearly you have no appreciation for good, pure, talented acting. his role as the joker was not just to show a villain. the joker sought to prove to people how individuals in society can become so easily corrupt when they stand to lose something. if you actually listen to some of the jokers lines, he proves this. the joker justifies his actions because he feels he is showing Gotham city what they are all like below the surface and exposes them for who they are when “push comes to shove.” The reason the Joker digs at Batman is because he refuses to prove the Joker’s theory that everyone is corrupt and selfish. For example, when the Joker stands in the middle of the street saying, “Go on hit me, hit me.” Batman contemplates and then at the last minute swerves and crashes his bike instead, because he can’t bring himself to do it, he has a better moral code than that. And again in the final Joker seen, Batman just can’t bring himself to let the Joker fall to his death, even though it would’ve been the easier alternative. There is just so much behind the Joker’s character that you clearly have not understood. 

  14. You, sir, are an absolute buffoon. Look up what the definition of sanity is before you comment, or even hint at the fact, that Heath Ledger did not portray an insane person. His role as the Joker was possibly the best movie character any of us have seen in the last couple of decades, and he rightfully deserves all the accolades everyone has since given him for the role. RIP  

  15. *laugh* I wonder how many people reacted only to the first part of your post? You might find it amusing that Rotten Tomatoes had to turn off its comments temporarily this week for a similar reason.
    Although, even to make a point, that first part shows a truly disturbing inability to comprehend what sociopathy and/or psychosis actually are. (I avoid the term “insanity” as it is solely a legal term for the inability to understand the difference between right and wrong.) If you have in fact been getting e-mails along this line, well …
    Actually, I rather like your alternate take on the Superman symbol. Pursuing that possibility could be intriguing.
    Btw, the film did not say that this Joker had gotten his smile from razor cuts. The Joker says that at one point — both before and after it is also established that nothing he says can be trusted.
    Looking forward to this weekend.

  16. i hate when people talk about “sticking to source material” as their major gripe about not liking heath ledger’s interpretation of the joker (which almost always comes across as a shallow “im too cool to have the same opinion as everyone else” complaint, because not only was ledger’s take on the joker terrifying, but he acted the part so well that you couldn’t even tell it was ledger under the makeup for almost all the movie.)
    if you want to gripe about “sticking to source material” then you should just throw out the entire movie, throw it all out. and throw out tim burton’s take on batman as well, we all know joe chill killed bruce wayne’s parents, not the joker. hell you should throw out half the comic books too, they can’t even agree on how old bruce was when his parents were gunned down. you can also throw out batman begins because clearly ra’s al ghul isn’t 600 years old and he is not the same person as henri ducard (and thus never trained batman).
    its a new interpretation, and a more believable one. everything in nolan’s dark knight triology is rooted in a little more reality than the comic books. it was a fresh take on old material, and a welcomed one. nicholson’s joker was creepy and evil and closer to the old comic books yes. but ledger’s joker is maniacal and terrifying and much more believable as a sociopath covered in makeup than a guy who falls into a vat of mysterious chemicals that turns his skin ghost white.
    if we stick strictly to the original source the films would suck (and then we’d also have to bear with another movie that featured Robin in it. thats a horrifying thought.) the universe that nolan created for his take on batman is dark and serious (as opposed to tim burton’s take on it which was dark and fantastical) and the characters need to be made to fit properly. 99% of people that saw the dark knight loved heath ledger’s take on the joker im sure of it. that 1% that claims they didnt like it, i get the feeling that more than half of those people fall into the afformentioned category of “i wanna be different and edgy so i’ll say i didnt like it” douchebaggery.

  17. Hey man!…WTF are you saying!!!!!!…..Heath Ledger’s joker was absolutely brilliant!….What the hell do you know about comic books!!!!!………..and you know what is BULLSHIT!….YOUR ARTICLE!

  18. nope, sorry. i disagree i think leder was just playing random serial killer #1245443 but not the joker. jack nicholson is still the best on screen version of joker N UFF SAID. dont give a shit what the nerds think.

  19. I agree with your they didn’t capture Tim Burton’s Joker perfectly. I think the director was going for a more realistic persona of the Joker. Which in my opinion was completely fantastic way to fit him into the new batman movies.

  20. I love this so true! Heath Ledgers performance was good but not as the Joker. He wasn't playing the Joker because it was so far from accurate it would be a sin to call him the Joker.

  21. I’m a big fanatic of Batman Franchise from comics to cartoon series and now movies! I couldn’t even finish reading the first two paragraph. Because you are out of your MIND. You as a movie fanatic have no idea how a comic movie should translate to film, not hollywood film but film.

    Everything in the Dark Knight was THE JOKER in every series of the comic.
    That’s right I said series. Because there is different kinds of Joker.
    Funny, Evil, Insane, storyteller, Psycho killer, and so on.
    It’s up to you which parts you want to choose and place it in any series.

    Or Depending on the storyline, you can choose which part of THE JOKER you want in the film.

    I do agree with that razor knife. Have no idea where they got that from. But as far as eveything else. The Joker from Dark Knight has been the best thing I ever got in my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!! Not including Sex :P

    Anyways, If you read the comics very carefully and start watching the movie, you’ll notice that people who never read the comic and knows The Joker has no idea how the joker is in the Dark Knight!

    There is so much, I means so much in few minutes of the Joker has so much in it, people don’t notice!

    For example, why did the bank robbery was a sucess? Because The Joker was smart and planed it? But that’s still no answer right,

    The answer in Comic was that The Joker recruited Psycho Killers and Schizophrenia. Why? that way he knows for sure everyone is so paranoid and never met each other, ends up killing each other. These are little things that adds up to The Joker why he’s so powerful!

    The movie is just a movie, you can’t have movie running 20 hours to explain how The Joker is the main villain for Batman Franchise, unless you read the documentry of The Joker.

    You John Campea, have no clue and absolutley not a fan of Batman Franchise.

    Now as to aside of the Batman, let me go through with FILMS with you.
    You know FILMS are hard to make and hard to market.
    It’s not same as marketing for comic or cartoon shows.

    So the changes has to be right if they plan to sell DVD and Blu Ray with the same customers, not including you and me! But to the movie lovers who can careless about comic or tv shows.

    Thank YOU
    I wrote this fast so mind me.

  22. I really hated his interpretation of the character, way too different, daring, yes, but I thought the makeup just looked lame, I really almost walked out but I was with friends and didn’t want to spoil their fun or I would have. He didn’t have to mimic Nicholson or Romero to “be” an acceptable Joker, to an old comic fan, and I haven’t bought a Batman comic in many years, I just found the movie on the whole unenjoyable and overrated in the extreme, and I think partly because he was dead, people heap praise on the recently deceased, whether they deserve it or not. I liked the first film in the current series, but have very low expectations for the new one, I find Bane less interesting than the Joker, who I could do without. perhaps I’m old, I still find Batman an interesting character, but if they retired the Joker, I’d be perfectly ok with that.

  23. I think it would have been a bit ridiculous and unrealistic if the Joker did have the same origin that he does in the show/comic. However, Ledger’s Joker did seem way too serious. He didn’t seem right for the character’s personality.

  24. I strongly disagree.

    Ledgers Joker totally missed the point. He have more in common with Jack Sparrow than the Joker.

    I see no problem whatsoever in putting the original Joker into the Dark knight, just make him a bit more psychotic and twisted. (actually some comic versions of the Joker would be TOO dark and scary for this movie!)

    This depressing hobo Joker, played by ledger is popular mostly because the actor died.

    NO JOKER SMILE! WTF. And no demented laugh, just a shabby hobo with too much lipstick.

  25. I hate batman, but you know, you’re right, but you must also know that some actors have their own look or their own points, the corner that they want to shows us , they may be right or wrong, but its also a good think to see an actor make is own thinkung and traslate it on the caracters he play.
    at the end it will still a simple movie not based on true events.
    is there a real batman and joker………?

  26. The Fact is that most movies are not at all accurate representations of the book…take Da Vinci code or Angels and Demons. If u stop comparing Heath Ledger’s portrayal as Joker and Jack Nicholson’s joker….Heath is far more grueling and intense….Jack’s portrayal was pretty lame i feel….

    1. I think you totally missed the point of the article.

      People claiming source material as gospel will never accept change no matter how good it is.

      The title is tongue in cheek reference to purists bashing a good performance, judging it by applying qualifiers it never attempted to fulfill.

  27. good point, but heath ledger’s joker isn’t supposed to be based on any of the comics, movies or cartoons. heath ledger’s joker isn’t supposed to be insane, he’s supposed to smart. if ledger’s joker was “insane” then the movie would be boring, it would just involve the joker commiting random and mindless acts of murder, theft, etc. but ledger’s originality with the joker added to the movie’s intense and exciting nature. just because ledger didn’t follow the other joker portrayals doesn’t mean that he sucked. i’m not expecting anyone to agree with me, it’s just my opinion.

      1. Im pretty sure Ledger’s Joker fits the bill for being clinically insane… The guy spent his time concocting death traps as part of a giant social experiment to prove people were not inherently good… while thats interesting, when put into action, its deranged and ultimately insane.

  28. jack nicholson’s joker was little bit better than ordinary villains in super hero movies…… but i dont think it’ll come any where near heath’s joker… heath ledger gave joker a new face….

  29. Actually, I’m unaware of any time when the Joker put on make-up to look normal outside of the 1989 movie “Batman”. And that actually pissed me off when I first saw it… But once I got past it, Jack Nicholson acted magnificently, even if his Joker was heresy to the Joker’s legecy. Heh. :)

  30. I do entirely agree with what you said and for the Dark Knight it worked. But in my opinion, Jack Nicholson was still better though he wouldn’t have fit into the Dark Knight, I preferred him to Heath Ledger’s Joker. Personally anyway.
    I’m not saying I didn’t like the film and such just prefer Jack.

    1. Ledger was getting RAVE reviews for his portrayal of the Joker even before he died. The cast, the director and everyone who saw it said he was going to be a superstar after they see this performance. Sadly it never happened due to his death.

  31. While the comicbook Joker is the most popular, it doesnt mean hes the best. He is the original, the base mold for people to build on. Perhaps Nicholson’s Joker may have been more respected if the look they were going for wasnt so far ahead of its time as far as special effects are concerned.
    The truth is, you saw a character who you know and love portrayed in a light that is unfamiliar to you. Its called taking creative liberties. You say he sucked because he wasnt more like the original. but if ALL actors who EVER played the Joker did the SAME Joker, you would all be complaining about how boring the character has become. You cant have it both ways. He either stays the same and dies from the monotony, OR the character is interpreted differently and kept fresh.
    Secondly, a cheesy comicbook Joker, in order to be recieved well, would have to exist in a cheesy comicbook world (i.e. Joker Nicholson)
    Christopher Nolan is simply taking these iconic comicbook characters and putting them in a real world perspective. if someone gets dropped into chemicals in a Chris Nolan movie, they will be scarred for life, yes, but more like Freddy Kreuger than the Joker.
    You saw something that was different than what you are used to, but because you obviously fear change, you peed your pants and started bitching about it.

  32. To anyone who has actually taken the time to study the character it would be MORE than apparent that the Joker is NOT insane. He is merely a disfigured clownish man with severed nerve endings and a purple suit, alongside an unstoppable rage towards a world that ousts him for his ldeals.
    The Joker is just, plainly and simply, evil. thats why we love him. he makes it fun to be the bad guy. to be insane requires that you are not able to sustain yourself through any dependable means, and to be completely unaware of what youre doing while youre doing it. Has there ever beena time when the Joker wasnt aware of his actions? NO.
    He runs around and screws with Batman, purely for the joy it brings him. and then when he is caught, he slaps on the crazy face so they will lock him away in an asylum, rather than prison. so THEN, all he has to do is ONCE AGAIN say: “IM CURED!!!” and he will be handed his suit, gloves, and spats, and be out and at it again in a week.

    but you know what they say: “THose who cannot do, teach. THose who cannot teach, teach gym class. AND those who cannot do anything, criticize everyone else’s work”

  33. Main issues with heath’s joker
    Joker is considered insane but also in love with himself.
    He Invents a new personality every day he’s not so much insane as super sanity. He therefore would not in any way shape or form be suicidal.
    The Plots in dark knight are not jokerish.
    His style is deadly but also has a sick underlying humor.
    JaCK’S Joker while not perfect is more correct to the comic.
    Heath would have made a better Mr zsaz.

  34. omg!! im glad i read the end i got so pissed while i was reading this :D i agree that movies should stick to the original characters with few if no changes. but still i love heath and it sucks that he died (real life) but i was seriously about to pull out my pocket-knife/ ak47 …or both …good thing you made a save at the end..lol….just dont dis heath again…ok….EVER!!!!!!

  35. hey yo bitch ur lost cuz u dont like thet act of heath edger ur just jelous hes btter than u man watch itagain and ull see how good he was

  36. I was finally relieved to see someone on my side about Heath sucking horribly, and no I’m not gonna feel bad that i said that. Because of the simple fact that he took his own life and in truth this role is what killed him, he wasn’t prepared to do a character he didn’t understand or portray right. The hours and psyche-e of the Joker made him lose sleep and take vast medication which ultimately led to his over dose. And before you say that I’m only stating this because I’m a comic book fan, no. I do read comics and always have but as far as this opinion I’ve developed it has little impute. I ask what the fuck is wrong with Ledger’s fans? Not for liking him, but for out right slandering Jack Nicholson’s interpetation, how Fucking dare you! That is a good actor, that is an Oscar winner, Heath Ledger was not good period, its as you first said why name him the Joker anyway? Read a fucking Batman comic sometime, the movie in all wasn’t bad and Aaron Eckhart ctually impressed me, i would actually enjoy him as Two-face or if he won a best supporting actor nod, to Mr Ledger i wish him peace in his passing and hope those who liked his Joker will bang their heads on bricks to clear their vision, see a movie he was actually “o.k” in like Brokeback Mountain.

    Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Batman!!!!

  37. Ppl come on have some respect 4 Heath Ledger!!!! You ppl who said he sucked have no respect! The guy is dead and this was his last movie!!!!!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?? This movie was great and their is no reason to critize Heath Ledger when he is gone. Its just a movie dont get so mean about it. He just did his job like the way the directer told him so quit saying he sucked. i agree with kayla dewitt he was awesome and he was so hot. He was better than any past joker. He played that part perfectly and i cant believe that hes dead. So everyone who doesn’t like him shut ur fucking mouths because no one gives a damn that you didn’t like the way he played the part. Have some respect for him hes not here anymore so quit insulting him he did great. As 4 ppl who think that the movie didn’t follow the comics duh its not supposed to!!! Its a movie!!!! Its entertainment no movie follows books exactly so get over it.Who gives a fuck if it didn’t follow the comics? You ppl who find every single thing wrong with this movie piss me off and I think you should get lives and find something better to do than insult dead actors. RIP Heath I LOVE YOU!!!

  38. in the movie he got his smile from his dad cuting his mouth to make a smile thats where the “why so serious” part comes in.

  39. ill have to disagree with you john .i think that what you were wrong about everything .its not that i like heath ledger or somethin’ like that but i think that u were overdramatic about ure arguments.sure heath changed the joker but he did it in a good way.i mean look at all the fans there is a great average of them who liked heath’sjoker.and i have to tell you we ARE in 2008 i think lot of people are starting to get bored with the old comixs books characters.take X men for an example (you know what i mean).they need a little change and that what heath ledger gave us .the old dies and the new come.

    when you started to complain about the razor cuts you really started to pisse me off.i mean no one knows who is the joker in all the other batman films where did he came from ,his white skin .his smile so the razor cuts ARE the most likely story.HEATH LEDGER did a well good dam job in the cast.he pulled out the best of the joker. U JUST HAVE TO ADMIT IT.


  40. ill have to disagree with you john .i think that what you were wrong about everything .its not that i like heath ledger or somethin’ like that but i think that u were overdramatic about ure arguments.sure heath changed the joker but he did it in a good way.i mean look at all the fans there is a great average of them who liked heath’sjoker.and i have to tell you we ARE in 2008 i think lot of people are starting to get bored with the old comixs books characters.take X men for an example (you know what i mean).they need a little change and that what heath ledger gave us .the old dies and the new come.

    when you started to complain about the razor cuts you really started to pisse me off.i mean no one knows who is the joker in all the other batman films where did he came from ,his white skin .his smile so the razor cuts ARE the most likely story.HEATH LEDGER did a well good dam job in the cast.he pulled out the best of the joker. U JUST HAVE TO ADMIT IT.


  41. u have no idea what u are talking about can u imagine the joker in the movie like he is in the movies?????that would be wierd and if u go on wikepedia he won over 30 awards for best supporting actor the new joker took over the old joker get use to it

  42. your original post, without the repreive was actually right on. Ledger sucked, and not because he didn’t recreate the exact comic character but because his voice and inflection were silly and ridiculous and not psychotic at all. Rather he comes off as just another bland villain. There is nothing really unique at all about him. As you said, he’s just a guy in white face paint. Batman beginning was way better.

  43. Dude, CHILL OUT. It was a movie. When people make movies, they never stick to the storyline if it was based on a book. You can’t have high hopes and expectations for everything to be followed perfectly and right on the money. So just GET OVER IT. I agree with the guy above me saying that you are wasting your time shedding pointless tears about how you were dissappointed in the Joker, but it is just a movie. The movie itself was good, so just forget about that stuff. ENJOY IT. And quit making such a big stinking deal about it.
    Don’t take it personally, but I LOVED that movie. My all-time favorite. So I am just giving my input. :)

  44. Listen,

    Would you lames shut the heck up? You’re getting yourselves upset and blatently hostile over something that is, for one, not relevant to anything – anywhere in life! For two, none of you worked on, or put any time towards the interpretations of any Joker stories, so let the authors of these works tell the tale how they want to!

    That’s why it is called “freedom of speech”. Yes, you are exercising your right to the same, but to criticize the work of another – ESPECIALLY ON A COMPLETELY FICTIONAL WORK is absolutely ludicrous. For the people who ever told the story of the Joker, which IS open to discussion for the rest of eternity (thank you, Mr. Bob Kane), they are allowed to tell the thoughts on the Joker which have for some reason or another, gone on in their head. This man, The Joker, has never really lived. There is no way in history to be accurate on his past, BECAUSE THE MAN WHO ORIGINATED HIM NEVER GAVE HIM A DEFINITE BACKGROUND. None of you are right, and none of you are wrong. Just enjoy what the authors display upon the screen for us.

    This is why you lonely, dateless, outcasts are indeed lonely, dateless, and cast out from normal society. There are more important things going on than you LAMES shedding tears over a damn movie. I came across this page, and was compelled to comment on it.


  45. To the poster prior to this one: I doubt anyone read your multiple postings after noting the all caps and lack of punctuation. I understand that sort of thing is meant to be incendiary and that you are demonstrating you really have no opinion at all. Thus, no reason to post.

    John, I guess you were trying to get the reader’s attention with the ‘first’ part of the article. Well you definitely got mine. Don’t know that it was such a good idea to approach it that way, though. It’s almost as if you were trying to irritate people who enjoyed Ledger’s performance to get as many responses as possible. Maybe not.

    I’m not a comic book fan. I read a few when I was a kid and enjoyed the ones I was given, but I never got into them the way collectors do. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate fans of comic books. Everyone should have something they really enjoy.
    But I think it’s a little petty to make an issue of a writer/director’s interpretation of a comic franchise. The movie is based on the comic, meaning it doesn’t have to follow any of the ‘original’ material if the writer/director doesn’t want it to. As long as the basic premises are there, it’s up to the writer/director to tell the story. Of course, it helps if the characters are basically the same because they are familiar to the audience and it lends more credibility to the movie. But if they want the Joker to wear make-up as opposed to being naturally pale, hmm…not a big deal. In fact, most of the differences between this screen adaptation and others (and the comic books and graphic novels) just make this one better.
    Adaptations are created and remakes are done because, among other things, times change. Technological advances occur, entertainment expectations evolve. I’m not saying that Keaton’s and Clooney’s Batman and Nicholson’s Joker were bad by any means, but the trend these days for the graphic novel or comic genre adaptation is ‘grit’, not ‘camp’. You can’t have the Joker jumping up and down everywhere and laughing like a hyena. Ledger was spot on for the times and for this adaptation. In fact, that puts it too lightly. He owned that role.
    On another subject…I am a huge fan of Jack Nicholson. His character in The Shining is one of my favorite ever, but I’m a little amazed at his reaction to not being consulted about playing the Joker in The Dark Knight. It’s hard to imagine Jack pulling off any of the stunts, much less the interpretation of the Joker that Ledger created.




  49. Listen up people Heath’s last role in a blockbusting movie was probably the best acting performance as the joker ever. Now maybe things werent old school like the original joker but Heath had to take the part and run with it getting hyped up on drugs to make the Joker a real schitzo and gruesome character and add the drama he definately brought in the part so whoever disagrees hit me on my email so we can have a word about this. R.I.P. Heath Ledger

  50. Well, I agree with your last part. I am glad you didn’t leave off with the first entry. For your sake. Adaptations are necessary. It’s common sense. If Jack Nicholson were to appear in “The Dark Knight” instead of Heath Ledger, then it wouldn’t be Number 1 for the highest income movie on opening day AND weekend of all time. Nicholson’s Joker didn’t float my boat. Ledger actually began to scare me. His manipulative mind games kept me at the edge of my seat instead of on the floor falling asleep like Nicholson’s did. The whole movie is dark, hence the title. It would only make sense to have Ledger’s joker. In response to the calmness, that’s what makes it so scary. It’s not a lack of “Joker-ness”, it adds an entire new demension to the character; one i never would’ve thought possible. The Joker never had much depth to me but Ledger’s apperance turned the Joker into an idol figure amongst today’s teenagers. Look at the stores; posters, shirts, hats, notebooks, calendars; ALL WITH LEDGER’S JOKER? WHERE’S NICHOLSONS? On some tattered home-made shirt from the 80’s. In your words, sir, “nuff said”.

  51. Sometimes the comics / cartoons can follow a completely different story line and concept than what would actually occur in real life. Movie directors like Nolan try show everyone that Batman is NOT Superman and he actually is a potential possibility (It is to a degree, far fetched.. But hes not shooting lazers out of his eyes..) Nolans world of “The Dark Knight” has a very modern day/realistic feel to it as well. Well to argue the fan boys that John speaks about here, I would say this. 1) His mouth was never explained… He says two different storys in the movie, One to the black mob guy Gamble and one to Rachel. Both were different stories.. A truely psychotic person speaks and rambles and lies constantly without any real gain other than to mess with his victims.. Ledgers Joker did just that.. 2) As for the white face..? The movie did not EXPLAIN if that was his real skin or make up.. People who spoke about him in the movie said “He wears a cheap purple suit and paints his face” Commisoner Gordon said one comment too “What is he hiding under that make up” , TRUTHFULLY nobody knows if it was his actual face or the make up because they knew nothing about him in the movie… remember “No Name, No other alias, nothing in his pockets but knives and lint” If you go back to the comics… The joker was never Jack Napier (Like the burton original)… He was known as “The Joker” and “The Joker” only.

    3) As for being the paradox to batmans order, Ledgers Joker was just that.. He was a psychotic terroist… He tested Batmans will to kill him, He laughed when batman beat him… He exposed batman for his “rules” that no other mob boss or criminal could do to batman..

    So thats how I would argue those silly fans John who always have to have everything just like the COMIC, but I still think x-men did mess a lot of things up with killing off cyclops and how pheonix died etc… different topic, but I really believe Nolan never stears to far away from the original story.

  52. Have you read Batman Black and White? In one of those stories they come acrcross a report on the Joker while he was in Arkham, written by Harley, saying the Joker might actually be sane. Also, in Arkham Asylum A Serious House On serious Earth, the doctors come to the conclusion that the Joker is super sane and he re-creates himself each day with a new personality.

    Ledgers Joker is just a new variation of the Joker. I love it. The Joker needs to be evil and the new one pulled it off because the older Jokers wanted money and the new one didnt care. The scars were cool because it was kind of a refrence to the Arkham Asylum comic and it added a mystery to him.

    I’m not putting anyone down or anything but I’m glad they didnt repeat the 1989 Joker. Jack N. done a really good Joker and I love that movie but it would have been a waste having that same Joker. And Joker doesnt have an identity or personality so when people say the Heath Ledger Joker is wrong, they obviasly havn’t read a Batman comic.

    And one more thing about the scars. Nolan is going for a more real Batman series and correct me if I’m wrong but there is no kind of chemical, made in factories, turns peoples skin white, hair green and give them (that amazing) smile. The scars ass to the evil, still keep the smile and make it more real.



  53. Honestly I was bothered at the idea of recasting the joker. However recasting the Hero is not in my opinion a good comparison, the first 4 Batman movies while good in their own world are not apart of the last two. I was angry that Jack was angry he was not asked about the joker role, calling it a sequal.

    It isn’t the same batman, furthermore I hope that the Joker will not be in the next movie, he is a scene thief, and I would like to see Batman facing down other foes, also I think that if Joker is recast it should not be taken lightly and would expect him missing for at least 1 more movie!

    If I had to pick the worst adaption of book to movie, I would be torn between “Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Eragon” which were both horrible so much so that I walked out on them!


  55. One thing I read is that some are not happy at the thought of recasting the Joker. How many Batmans have we had; 4 (not including Adam West)? If you can recast the main character, surely you can recast a villan. I was surprised at this film in the beginning because the Joker was already dead in a previous movie. It would seem to me if they want to keep using these characters; they might consider not creating their demise in the film.

    I think the real issue here is that the author of the article wrote two reviews; the first one I happen to agree with which enraged a lot of people. Then he changed his story. I didn’t like that aspect because he got both of his views accross while inventing an excuse that he didn’t really mean the first one. He sure put a lot of effort into something he said he didn’t believe. I think he did and believe he also believes the second one as well. I’m not so different; I kind of liked it and kind of didn’t.

    I also think some people are taking this entire topic way too seriously.

  56. i completley agree w/ what u wrote, however i think he played a good part, and did his character well, even if his smile was from razor cuts, and his make up was wrong. however i agree with u 100% percent

  57. Oscar worthy; I think not, but if “No Country for Old Men” can get one (or 4), this one should get 10. Good film? Yes, for the most part. I have to see the scenes I missed when I napped in the theatre; I was just bored. The Joker’s makeup was as silly as Batman’s voice. I couldn’t understand some of the dialogue.

    They hype for this film was undeserved. It was another Batman movie and the star was Christian Bale; not Heath Ledger. They both did well and I will see it one more time; but will not buy it as I had planned.

    An interesting thing is that people embarrass themselves on this blog with their spelling and grammar. I see, “Quz” (because?), “Regaurdless” (regardless?), “weather” (is it raining or do you mean whether?) , “Heaths” (Heath’s?), “i” (I?). Folks, this is a message board; not an instant message.

  58. I’m going to be truthful, and I know I’m going to get killed for this; but, I did not like Heath Ledger’s Joker! *Sheilds self* I really did not, I think Ledger was a fantastic actor, but for me he didn’t quite sell it. That is just for me, I know it was a great film for some people, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much. To me this film was hyped up so much, it was a bit of a dissapointment, still good, but not as great as I thought it would be. And now people are in outrage that they are rumours of recasting the Joker, lets just get over it, characters get recast all the time, doing so would not be disrespectful to Ledger, as it isn’t about how good or bad he was, it’s about how he obviously cannot play the Joker again. Should we take away one of, some would say the most important Batman villian away just because some people are saying it would be disrepectful, when it clearly isn’t.

    So I shall conclude, I know this was a good film, but not the best in the whole world, and it doesn’t really deserve an oscar.

  59. If I may put in a slice of personal philosophy, I agree with your arguments. However, I wish to add that it is important to maintain a truthfulness to the characters. You are right in that the characters must change within mediums. However, they must also represent the essence of what they were written to be despite the physical or personality changes. Heath Ledger was true to the joker character from the comics, even if he had scars and the makeup was not is real skin.

  60. I’m totally agree with you.
    I’m getting sick with people who told me that the new joker was awesome and put his picture in their facebook profile.

  61. It’s my personal belief, that The Dark Knight Joker was perfect. Reguardless of weather or not he completely follows the comic story lines. If you ask me, the Nicholson Joker was the off one, he didn’t seem crazy at all, just kind of unreasonable. This Joker is the one I wanted to see, the one who killed Robin with a crowbar. This blog really sucked me in with the Title and everything, but I must say that in the end, I think this Joker accurately portrays the worst (best) side of the Joker.

  62. Anne, valid point, very true. Um, theres just one tiny problem- you may have to read the post again and revise your statement lol

  63. I understand that you think that Heaths Joker sucked since it wasn’t the joker from the comic books. And ofcourse you get angry that they messed up your favorite character (or that’s what i understand from this article) but that doesn’t mean that because they changed it that this i a bad joker or not the joker at all.

    When i saw the movie i already agreed to the fact that they made it more realistic. The batman and the Joker from the comic books are not realistic. Batman is a real hero with super powers (i’ve only seen a small amout of episodes and comic chapters so i’m sorry when i’m wrong) and the joker is some mutated human (also apologies if i got that wrong). Nothing wrong with that but you will lose a lot of people in that.
    Why? People like to be dragged into a movie in which they can imagine them selves in. If you make a ”fantasy” movie you have to work out a lot of details (like The lord of the rings and there the humans didn’t even had magical powers). And i don’t mean that stories like Spiderman or the Hulk suck because of this but those movies are the more popcorn movies (you watch them but there’s no need for full attention).
    So the thing why they changed is was marketing.
    Personally i LOVE the Dark Knight and the way that Heath played the Joker. Quz you see i’m not a person for super hero movies but when i saw the trailers and read or heard people comments on the Dark Knight, I knew i had to see it and i was not dissapointed at all.

    So i understand your view as a fan quz i also saw movies or series where they totaly changed characters and that also made me mad.
    But i think you have to see this movie from the realistic side. You’ll proberly say that batman is a superhero and that ”making it realistic” only makes it worst since it’s a superhero movie and you’ll still love the old joker (that will proberly stay that way) but who knowes, maybe you’ll accept Heaths way of the Joker and find it not so bad as you think.


    ps. I also can enjoy these ”popcorn” movies ^.~
    There’s also no need to respond on this. Maybe some people think it’s a bunch of crap but just give it a though..

  64. Your right, in order to fit into the movie the Joker had to be changed. You can’t insert unrealistic things like a big smile on that face, you can’t make him look perfect because the world NOlan created isnt. The Joker is dirrty,a psychopath in another way. He has a different view on things.

    Jack Nicholsons role sticked to the Comics and look what it is! If you watch it now its just embarassing to see him laughing hysterically like an idiot. I always liked Batman but i never liked the fact that some of his enemies were just supernatural and absurd somehow. That just gives a away a great portion of the atmosphere…

    Heath Ledger did great Job. This Joker makes Batman accessable even to people who dont like comics and /or dont know Batman.Dark Knight is the best way to get to know the special feel that surround Gotham City and Batman. The darker the movie ,the better it is. Thats my oppinion. The darkest hour ist just before dawn. Jack Nicholson doesnt have to be angry,choosing him as the Joker wouldve ruined the movie.Noland did a great Job. Fans might hate ignoring special aspects f the comic but hey does anyone rally believe that batman wouldve been a success if it was just comic like?

  65. I Liked the movie?
    I thought it was mad?

    Not everything has to be the same,
    If the same comic version was adapted into this movie,
    then it would look silly,

    times have changed, what was considered scary back then
    would be completely foolish these days.

    but im glad i read 2nd last paragraph
    Ledger’s Joker NEEDED to be adapted for the story and world that Nolan had created. Jack Nicholson’s Joker simply would not have fit with Nolan’s Dark Knight world. He would have come off as silly and ridiculous in this setting. To really nail the spirit of The Joker in the context of Nolan’s world, those changes NEEDED to be made… and I think 99.9% of us agree the changes were for the best and worked perfectly.


  66. THANK YOU! I doubt anyone would like to see a movie and have some die hard fan spoiling it for them in the seat in front of them. I know a lot about the Batman comics and feel Nolan is just another comic writer…but he chooses to make MOVIES about his comics :).

  67. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)

    The thing is, the Joker wasn’t really changed all that much – people saying he was a ‘totally different character’ really don’t know what they’re talking about. Par for a different visual aesthetic, he’s familiar to anyone who’s read Brubaker, Moore, and Morrison, or he should be.

    Sure, he’s missing his bleached skin, but that wasn’t for realism. There are production designs and sketches out there that depict him with bleached skin, and I’ve heard in a few places that the idea for makeup came about literally weeks before production began, and largely to highlight a particular subtext that Nolan was aiming for.

    As for the character himself, if you really can’t see the Joker as written by Moore, or by Brubaker, or by Morrison in Ledger’s character, then the obvious conclusion here is that you really haven’t read that many stories with the character – and especially Brubaker and Moore; so much of what you see in the film comes from these two renditions, especially, as well as Morrison’s to a somewhat lesser extent, as the character’s psychology and his aims go.

    “The central relationship between Joker and Batman in ‘The Dark Knight’ was definitely inspired by The Killing Joke,” Goyer said. “Especially the part where the Joker says that if he could choose his own origin, he would choose multiple choice. That’s something we embellished on in this film.”

  68. The funny thing is, I listened to a guy in a comic book shop complain to the owner for about 10 minutes over how Hollywood could have afforded brown eye contacts for Tobey Maguire in the Spiderman movie because “Everybody knows Spiderman doesnt have blue eyes.” The guy was pissed.

  69. yea dude, comeon
    you think the old joker would have fit in this scene
    besides, i liked this joker better anyway
    he had a real humor side, along with the insane part of him

  70. Im having some issues with Two Face being “dead” I know Bats took the rap for him so he could use it to strike fear into the hearts of criminals as well as save Harveys reputation for the hope of Gotham- but even if it was an accident, Batman would be breaking his one rule to not kill- doesnt that ruin what Nolan tried to establish in both movies? They didnt actually say he was dead, and yes, there was a funeral (closed casket?), but he could have been in a coma as well- perhaps Bruce Wayne is paying someone off at say, Arkham to keep it all hush-hush, Gordon says to the public he was incinerated at the hospital and thats that. Ive heard Eckhardt was signed to 2 movies, alas, I could be wrong…

  71. I agree that tis Joker fit about as well as it could. This being a dark and serious film series with cold hard reality, I don’t think the Burton version would’ve worked. But I still think Nicholson did it best(so far). At least, he seemed more insane in Burton’s. This one was so serious or completely uncaring when the kill came. One of my favorite monologues in Burton’s was when he killed the guy with the hand buzzer and kept talking to him while he sat there, charred & dead(just like Harvey Dent is now so nobody can say he will be in the next one). But in this kind of world, what other villains can they have, since we’re being painfully realistic. No Killer Croc, no Mr. Freeze, possibility for Penguin is slim, no Poison Ivy, & no Manbat. The only ones left(I can say off the top of my head) are Riddler, Catwoman, or maybe Bane. Good luck Nolan. Please no shitty sidekicks, okay?

  72. I personally was gonna smash your face but calmed down when i read the rest- u got me there. Im sure when Warner Bros. decided to redo the franchise, they wanted a realistic approach. The comics have got real writers now, with darker material, realistic tones and themes, so- there you go. If you are into camp comedy, go watch Shumachers Batman debacles and gut-laugh until you puke blood, or- watch Burtons “Elseworld” Batman movies. I say elseworlds because they were great alternatives to the Batman storyline but not even close to the books. Nolan, and my hat is off, has given almost a perfect story in terms of closeness to the books. Remember- hes fighting a war on crime- not playing scrabble with the Condiment King or defrosting Chris O Donnel like hes a goddamned TV dinner. I cant believe i just referenced that disaster of a movie. I have to puke blood now. Excuse me.

  73. Well, before I read the second part I was going to emphasise the fact that this is a comic book *adaptation*. I feel the same way when a book is made into a movie and people make no allowances for the change of medium/ circumstances/ audience. I loved Ledger’s Joker because he was so unhinged as a character, revelling only in chaos to the point where he doesn’t even care about his own life. There’s no villain quite like the one who doesn’t care if he lives or dies, only the legacy he leaves behind.

  74. Saying Heath Ledger should win an Oscar is doing a disservice to people with Oscars? Like Russell Crowe, Marisa Tomei, and Cher? See where I am going? Crowe is a decent actor, but to say Ledger didn’t rival anything Crowe did in Gladiator is kind of foolish. Plus, Crowe actually uses his Oscar at his band’s gigs as a prop. He is a disservice to the Oscars, Geoffrey Rush should’ve won that year for Quills.

  75. I am usually rather tame in my like for a movie. I hardly go to the theatres at all in fact. I never read comics, though I did own Spawn v Batman along with quite a few others. I just never really got into the superhero thing. I didn’t think the hype around Memento was justified after seeing it. My background in even wanting to see the movie is far from being ideal.

    My favorite movie before seeing The Dark Knight was Barry Lyndon, and had been for years. Like I said, I don’t go to theatres and I don’t listen to hype. I have seen everything from Gone With The Wind to The Lion In Winter, Dr Zhivago, and so on. I spent most of my time when I was younger watching movies, from the time I woke up until i went to bed.

    The Dark Knight is hands down my favorite movie. Heath Ledger as The Joker is by far my favorite on-screen portrayal. Jack Nicholson played The Joker, Heath Ledger was The Joker. It isn’t that he died that I think this highly of this portrayal and the movie as a whole. I wish I could see more of the same, but it won’t happen now (not sure he would’ve done further had he lived). Every time I watch the movie I want to see it again even more. Great acting from top to bottom. Oldman, Caine, and Bale being three of my favorite actors prior to the movie. Oldman was Beethoven just as Ledger was The Joker, in Immortal Beloved. It is a shame we didn’t get to see any further from Ledger and he isn’t alive to receive the praise he justly deserves.

  76. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)I know this might be off-topic, but I know I’m dealing with some movie buffs here, so I thought this might be interesting. I know these 2 movies are entirely different, and I know the elements each actor needed to bring to their respective movies couldn’t be farther apart, but who was the better, creepier, and more evil villian…Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurgh from “No Country For Old Men” or Heath Ledger’s Joker? Again, I know they are entirely different characters in entirely different movies, but just for sheer evil impact, who is more villianous?

  77. It did suck and I agree with your beginning letter. I thought, WOW someone actually giving another point of view; how refreshing. Then you ruined it by telling an opposite story. So much hype and no delivery. Mr. Ledger’s performance singularly was good as an actor. However I did not like the character and could not understand what was being said at times.

    I wanted to like this film badly and I’ll have to rent it when it comes out because I fell asleep twice. I was sure I was going to buy it, but I’m not now. I’m not dissing the entire film, because there was lots of action, dark as it was supposed to be and I like Batman.

    I loved Heath Ledger in everything he did (that I saw) – but this one. I feel OK saying that since you couldn’t tell who was behind the makeup anyway. I liked the last film, but had issues with it also. I don’t like the car (or tank) for one thing and I miss the yellow oval with the bat on the costume. Who is his taylor? I mean, how many of these “batsuits” exist?

    You can change some things about a well-known theme, but not great deals of it. The Joker was a laughing nut who always gave Batman a way out. Jack Nicholson’s character was more true to form with that of Cesar Romero’s in the 60’s series. Many of us know the characters and interaction by that; not by comic books. I surmise that comic books were suitable for children; TDK is the only of the films that is not, which is fine by me (no whining kids in the theatre – great!). There are some who know it only by the first feature film.

    You can bash me for my opinion; I don’t care. It is after all, only an opinion. I’m just not going to give in to the false hype of this film just to join in the chorus. It was a good movie, but it wasn’t great. I’ve seen “Return of the Jedi” at least 12 times; that was great. TDK was good and I’ll watch it one more time to see what I missed to get everybody’s shorts so twisted up about.

    I adored Mr. Ledger in Knight’s Tale, Roar and especially Brokeback (Heath & Jake both should have received Oscars) but I’m not sure about the Oscar for this one since the year isn’t over yet. You can’t just judge a contest until everyone has participated. For the one who said he should get “Best Actor”, unfortunately he can’t. He would have had to play the lead role, which in this case was Christian Bale. He could however, receive an Oscar for best supporting actor; although I don’t know what the point would be since he can’t enjoy it. While I didn’t like the script , visualization, or mannerisms for his character, he did give and Oscar winning performance.

    I think many people are just gripped in the loss of Mr. Ledger. I am too; more than you know. I haven’t been hit with a brick like that since Steve Irwin died. Mr. Ledger was handsome (very), talented and made some terrific films. However, I’m not going to memorialize a stupid movie of any kind for any person. I respect and memorialize Heath Ledger the man; not “The Joker” or “Batman”. Give him an Oscar if he gave the best performance of the year, but don’t do it out of remorse; I doubt Heath would appreciate that.

  78. This is typical fan-boy whining about the difference between source of inspiration and the final product.

    It’s makes y’all look nit-picky, obtuse, and silly. Because, yeah A LOT of fan-peeps do that.

    STOP. IT.

    What it SHOULD BE is a critique of the final product.

    When one of y’all does it wrong, it makes all of us look bad.

  79. The new joker in The Dark Knight is so great how can ou find it so bad. The old Joker with Jack Nicholson was nothing to the new Joker with Health Ledger.

  80. Ok.. Since when is a movie supposed to be exactly like the damn comic or book? Obviously, they wanted to make some changes to see what it would be like if they made the Joker different. There is nothing wrong with that. And yes, the Joker in both the movies/shows AND the comics are VERY insane.. And if you think other wise, you need to get a reality check. Who are you to say anything about a movie that was pure genius? The other Joker was used in the movie with Jack, and so everyone knows THAT SIDE of the story as it is written in a comic book. They wanted to go a whole differant direction and do the make up different. AND IT WAS PERFECT… Ledger did an awsome job of proforming the Joker in The Dark Knight. This Joker was just twisted. And it rocked. BETTER than Jack’s role as the Joker. Heath Ledger’s proformance was brilliant.

  81. ohhh, and as cool as Burton’s Batman and Nicholson’s Joker looked to me when I was a kid, it seriously looks now like Saturday morning-made-for-TV cheese-fest. Nolan has set up an excellent Batman franchise, and I really hope they never try to recast Joker in any sequels.

  82. Ledger’s Joker = AWESOME! You watch and just want to see him in every single scene. And when he is, you hold your breath with excitement waiting to see what he will say or do next. WHO CARES ABOUT SOURCE MATERIAL?!?! The fact that he tells all different stories about how he got the scars on his face is a fitting tribute to the many different variations this villiian has gone through. Im no comic book guy, but even I know that most of these comics have alternate universe characters and such. TDK Best Picture = NO. Mr. Ledger Best Actor = Winner. Bravo Sir.

  83. Before I went to see TDK there was a lot of hype about Heaths Joker and I was begining to think that maybe his death was overshadowing his performance but after that fine pencil trick i was sold.
    I havn’t read the comics or seen any of the other interpretions of the Joker but For me, they may as well have called the film ‘The Joker’ and cast batman as a minor role, Ledger owned this film and after going to see it a second timeI realised that the Joker he played might not have resembled the original comic book one but it sure as hell kicked ass.
    The scenes that the Joker wasnt in were boring and tedious to watch, there was no insanity, no fire, no explosions. Just boring characters being all emotional and weepy. Even that Two-face guy sucked.
    The bottom line is, Heath Ledger played an exellent Joker, Dont like it? Then shoot a new film and we’ll see how good your one is.

  84. The oddest thing I’ve found about people who have complained about things like RDJ being too short or the Joker not being bleached, is that they are non comic book readers complaining about the spirit of the comic. They remember visual details or other little specific things, but they never spent real time with the characters or read the stories. It also seems to acutely affect obnoxious contrarian teens (non com readers) and old dudes(no comics since they were boys.

    And I don’t think anyones mentioned (by name at least) how well Christopher Nolan captured the comic book Jokers lack of a true origin (all we definitly know is that he showed up in Gotham one day with this thing for Batman) or more importantly his”super-sanity.”

    From Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison:
    Batman: Well, you’ll pardon me for saying so, but your techniques don’t seem to have had much effect on the Joker.

    Dr. Adams (Joker’s therapist): The Joker’s a special case. Some of us feel he may be beyond treatment. In fact, we’re not even sure if he can be properly as insane.

    His latest claim is tht he’s possessed by Baron Ghede, the Voodoo loa.

    We’re beginning to think it may be a neurological disorder, similar to Tourette’s syndrome. It’s quite possible we may actually be looking at some kind of super-sanity here. A brilliant new modification of human perception. More suited to urban life at the end of the twentieth century.

    Batman: Tell that to his victims.

    Dr. Adams: Unlike you and I, the Joker seems to have no control over the sensory information he’s receiving from the outside world. He can only cope with the chaotic barrage of input by going with the flow. That’s why some days he’s a mischievous clown, others a psychopathic killer. He has no real personality. He creates himself each day. He sees himself as the Lord of Misrule, and the world as a theatre of the absurd.

    I’m Manny and I read comics. Sorry for length XD

  85. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)you were right the first time this isnt the joker,the joker in this movie is more like an anti-hero than villian-and its not realistic. If the character inflicted this level of domestic terrorism shooting police chiefs and blowing up hospitals theres no way he would be able to remain in the city-without getting killed or arrested by the feds.2 face lets him go after he kills his bride and disfigures him and thats realistic? batman saves him after he kills the love of his life realistic? oh yeah he shoots gordon in front of200 cops and gets away . yeah this movie is realistic.

  86. Why would you want to retread on what was done already in the comics, ad nauseum? Im so glad they went in a completely new direction and did a fresh take on the Joker.

    The essence of the character is still there. Heath said it himself, hes a “schizophrenic, mass murduring clown with zero empathy”. That about sums it up for me anyway.

    Nolan wasnt going for “comic book” here, he was going for something more serious and challenging, and it worked.

  87. WoW! at first I was like someone has the guts not to have loved this movie—you know Heath ledger is dead and all so you can’t criticize or say anything bad…Ooooo.

    I don’t really know that much about comics and their original story so I don’t have anything to really compare them with the movie. I just rate the way I see what I’m seeing. Art is art and doesn’t need to be measured side by side with someone else’s version or another piece of art. So I think I’m with you and it was cool way to write about it!

    I liked it, it was good, it was dark, I thought it was a little long in spots…

    Heath—it’s a shame you’re gone—you did a great job! Really!

    I liked how it was more of a classic drama action movie with very good acting than a pop super hero movie. Is this the new direction of Comic book hero movies??? When Heath started monologuing the movie, his stock, and performance really took off!

    It seemed choppy in some scenes and I wonder if the film had been repaired and spliced together at times, can’t believe it was edited that way. My brother tells me it’s because Heath died before the final editing…

    I liked the dark evilness of the story and characters and at the same time didn’t love the total darkness—I can’t fully explain it.

    I liked it a lot, I’m just not sure I loved it yet—give me some time to digest…


  88. It is pretty safe bet that almost everyone who saw TDK is not really disappointed on the Joker’s performance or his tonal and character that applies to our times.

    Only a few ranting trolls who have no clue of the comic history would diss his performance.

  89. I actually think both the satire and the real comments were spot on. Heath Ledger was not the Joker, but he could have played the same character, called the character Mr Chaos or something and the movie still would have been the same. The movie was fine, but the Joker character did a disservice to the comic. And calling that an Oscar performance is a disservice to people with Oscars.

  90. I have no bones with Ledger’s performance, but I actually thought, script-wise, the Joker was totally underdone. He shared perhaps a total of maybe five or ten minutes of screen-time with the other major characters, and those were by far the best scenes in the movie. Why not take it farther? To me there’s no excuse to only put Batman and the Joker in the same room for an ifintesimal amount of on-screen time.

    Furthermore, why not include some scenes of the Joker with a criminal psychologist? Seems like a no-brainer to me. It’s not that I actually wanted the Joker’s motivations to be revealed, but I think that everyone in the audience still had that base desire for understanding him. So why not have a character or two in the film itself make the (unsuccessful) attempt? To me, something like that would easily give the audience a bit more to chew on.

    Also, Dark Knight’s Joker lost all the macabre, playful eccentricity that made the previous incarnations of the character so much fun to watch. I loved that they tried to focus on the aspect of the Joker that’s truly “disturbing”, but script-wise, most all of his actions weren’t terribly creative. A fairly conventional bank heist. An assassination attempt with nothing all that special about it. Some bombings. And don’t even get me started on the final set-piece, which took place in just a simple office building and tried to play off the old “terrorists disguised as hostages” routine as the major twist. Bleh. Do you think the screenwriter maybe saw that movie… what was it’s name… it was kind of obscure… oh yeah, friggin’ Inside Man? Jesus.

    The Joker’s only act containing any real inspiration was the situation with the two boats, and it was totally under-used.

    Bah. I really think Heath Ledger’s amazing performance is wasted in this boringly written Joker.

  91. Glad I read the last part too… I was pissed, but now that I see where you were coming from with the post I can only say one thing… he never said it was from razor cuts really… he kept changing his story to coincide with the comics and how for years, they had no idea about his past.

  92. Hey John,

    On the topic of linkbaiting, are you telling me that this article didn’t generate more links to TMB than usual ?? It must have! Anyway, if I had a blog or site I would like to it :P Nice article, as usual.

    I’ve always felt that comic book movies needed to make changes to the source material to fit on the big screen or make sense in a more realistic environment. I didn’t say the “real world” because when you really think about it, not much that happened in TDK could even happen in the real world.

  93. You’ve gotta be kidding…
    Heath “joker” Ledger was totally cool on his performance..
    Joker was 5 out of 5..

  94. John,

    just curious – at this point in time, what 5 movies would you nominate for Best Picture? Forget that the one’s that usually get nominated have still to be released; out of the films that have been released in 2008 so far which desesrve to be nominated, in your opinion?

  95. The Joker fixed a permanent smile on his face from self-induced razor cuts in Batman #663.

    With the Joker in particular there’s been a billion different versions of the character in the comic… so any comic fan who really understands MUCH of his history wouldn’t really be bothered by ANY interpretation… because the Joker has been subject to so many interpretations over the years.

  96. A friend of mine said something interesting and when I thought about it it kind of made sense.
    Because Nolan made this Batman universe so “realistic” Batman is the most silliest and out of place thing in it. Nobody else is dressing up in battle armor and swinging around on rope and speaking in a raspy voice.

  97. Hey Gerry,

    The issue isn’t making changes to the Joker to fit the DIRECTOR… but rather to fit the new medium (screen instead of a printed comic book page).

    If the film is meant to have a more real world feel, that translates differently than a comic trying to have more real world feel, because in a comic book, you can get away with far more without breaking that “feel”. On a live action screen, it’s a while different matter.

    A “real” and “gritty” joker on the page would look like a silly clown on the screen, and thus you lose the spirit of the character in the transition. Adaptation is needed to maintain the spirit in the new medium.

  98. I’m curious here John… you said:

    ““Do they stick to the SPIRIT of the characters, rather than making sure they have the right eye color or size of shoe.”

    And then you said:

    “Ledger’s Joker NEEDED to be adapted for the story and world that Nolan had created. … To really nail the spirit of The Joker in the context of Nolan’s world, those changes NEEDED to be made…”

    It seems you’re saying it’s all right to recontextualize Joker’s spirit or his essence into Nolan’s Batman world. So basically you’re saying yeah, the director’s vision is paramount, and these characters have to adapt to it. So isn’t that basically saying he IS changing the spirit of Joker, but that’s allright because he’s Christopher Nolan, he’s awesome and this movie is the greatest movie ever made?

    Because to be honest, fantastic as this Joker was, it’s a completely different character to the one in the comics. He wasn’t adapted. He was literally CHANGED to suit the tone of the movie. It’s a different freaking character. And I’m sure they’ll do the same to Robin if and when they bring him in. I’m not complaining really. I don’t care that this Joker is different here, as it’s all awesome. I’m just pointing out something I thought that was weird in this argument. You brought it up, so there you go.

    As for Watchmen, I’m having HUGE issues already. But I’ll wait for future posts.

  99. Quite often the fanboys demanding things don’t change too much from the source material is what has helped comic book movies become better over the last few years. Once upon a time comic adaptations took the vague look and powers of a hero, and then changed everything else. The very best comic inspired movies usually stick quite closely to the original story. People don’t like to see needless changes, when a story or character already works fine.

    Films like 300 and Sin City prove that if a director is talented enough, they can create a world in which anything is plausible and fits in.

    At the same time, films like X-Men, Spiderman and Dark Knight have shown that if a character with a rich and diverse history sticks to the core ideas and heart of the character, changes made to costumes or certain minor details can help to create a film which seems more real, which has it’s own benefits.

    The difference between 300 and Dark Knight is that with Batman you have so many stories to choose from and combine. You have a massive history, sometimes the character we know in the comics today comprises many small elements that were put together over years of storytelling. It has to be condensed down in order to fit into the single movie. You could never retell the full canon comic story of Batman in a single movie. Changes are essential.

    The problem I think comes from changes that aren’t necessary to the story. Changes for the sake of changes, so someone can say they put their own spin on it, often tend to be less successful than the original formula.

  100. @ ROSS MILLER

    well said. completely transcends genre. THIS is why it sets itself apart from the rest, why Heath Ledger will get an Oscar Nomination, and why it’ll be in the top 10 lists at the end of the year. It has truly set the bar for future comic book movies–or Summer Blockbusters in general.

  101. i almost was ready to freak on you..but you fnished this article perfectly..thank you for your insight! I truly m saddend that heath will not be able to fulfil his role as the joke ever again..no one can top him..at least no one that i can think of off hand

  102. Good post. Both you and Doug have a good point over comic book adaptations.

    I like how Doug said it on Monday’s Uncut: If they do a good job with changes to certain characters for movies, fans will like it. If they do a bad job, then fans will condemn it.

    Its true that deviating from the original source worries fans, but I agree that not all stuff from comic books can translate well for movies. Look at Galactus; if the only thing useful was to make him a giant storm cloud, then I see no reason for him to be in the movie at all, IMO.

  103. Nice article John,

    Heaths performance overid everything about the Joker’s mythos… Instead of insane, he was suicidal,twisted and deformed.

    Now a days its seems like the Comics are treated more like novels in the way that Films change things in books or novels and sometimes make them better. The old version is abandoned because more ppl have been exposed to the movie version.

    When you step back, you can see that a lot of Heaths performance was brought on by the crazy makeup and overall writing of the character.

    He was the best part of the film, with the exception of the Batpod scenes.

  104. Don’t worry about Wall-E and Dark Knight splitting the vote because Wall-E won’t be nominated for Best Picture. It will be nominated and win Best Animated Picture.

    It is not going to get a nom for best picture while the best animated catagory still exists.

    You might not like that but take away the award for best animated film and you are not going to see any animated films getting any kind of Best Picture award at all. So take what you can get.

    Dark Knight might get a nom but we still have a long way to go this year. I personally don’t think the academy will but who knows. I hope it does as I do think it has taken the comic book genre to a whole new place.

  105. Hey Screenrant,

    Nope, have to disagree. The title may entice you to CLICK, but not to link to it. The article itself needs to do that in order to get you to link.

    Most of the time link bait is purposefully designed to be contrary to popular opinion just in order to produce links. This article doesn’t qualify for that.

    But if you want to say the title is “click bait”, then I’d have to concede the point.

  106. On the aspect of villains, how did TDK work when Spider-man 3 didn’t? Here’s my guess:

    In both movies all of the villains went after the superhero. But that’s ALL Spider-man 3 did. Separate villains trying to get spidey and they all rendezvous in the end for an epic battle.

    The villains in TDK interconnected, and supported a central theme. Not just “lets kill batman,” but they proved that even the greatest can fall.

    John, it would be awesome if you created a blog discussing this!

  107. see thats what im sayin christian….the classic tformers designs are dated…(im fine with them)…but drastic changes like the one in bays flick weren’t needed…u can have the bots the same way without them lookin like bugs

  108. I do like it when they think outside the box with these types of movies. You feel a bit excited of how something might look or be represented in the movie. Just imagine the X-Men movies if they actually had those ridiculous costumes…….it would look ridiculous. Or if the Transformers looked like they were made out of cubes. It would look ridiculous.

  109. ok…..decent article. i agree with u on a few points…

    but my thing is i hate when to source material is changed so much that it takes away from the movie and the original concept. for example someone stated in a post that people who want dragon ball to be accurate to the manga are idiots. i have to disagree, i grew up on dragon ball, but i do understand everything from the book wouldnt translate well. but i dont like the fact that the are changing the world and tone of the books. dragon ball is a funny, fantasy adventure about a dim-witted pure of heart boy hero. its a crazy fantasy world with flying cars and talkin animals, with demons and shape shifters

    now please tell me how putting said boy in high school is an upgrade. him dealing with that teenage angst bs may sell well but it alters what dragon ball is/was.

    i feel the same way about transformers. the original concept of the original tv show and comic was this war between the robots. the origina of cybertron and all that jazz. what bay and his writers did was turn it into independence day with robots. a threat to the earth (decepticons) and some humans must come together and save the day….with help from some good robots.

    i agree every movie cannot but 100 percent accurate, but at least stay true to the feel and core of that source. dont make a completely different movie but keep the title and some names. imo it does a disservice to the original..

    .thats why i have no problem with the dark knight. these characters felt like their comic counterparts….i smiled when harvey had the coin…i smiled at 2-face and the joker, because they were what i envisioned of those characters on screen.

  110. one could easily toss out the point made in The Killing Joke where Joker explains how he is never truely sure of how he got to be how he wanted to be, and having multiple stories makes him more interesting. Whos to say Heaths Joker wasn’t true to the story, when Joker really….has no one true story.

    Just tossing that out there.

  111. You can only correctly adapt material that has something definitive to adapt. One of the main reason Fanboys HAVEN’T been picking on Joker is he’s had so many versions and interpretations. Everything in Batman has, especially compared to Many of the Marvel characters that have only been around about half as long, Hell, X-Men had one writer for nearly 20 years. So, Where there is a sense of cannon to adhere to, that is where fan outcry starts to get rolling in many cases. I’ll admit, how hard or easy the sell of re-interpretation is matters greatly.

    OT: I’m listening live, but typing here…. I’m afraid of Wall-E and Dark Knight screwing each other over for a Best Picture Oscar. They could split the vote.

  112. Yeah I have to agree with John..I loved the joker in TDK. He was what I wanted joker to be. You can’t always stick to the original source material. How lame would X-men have been if Wolverine and company wore their costumes from the comic.I think the whiney fan boys need to shut it.

  113. While I agree that adaptations arent supposed to be carbon copies of the original work, heath ledgers joker was actually the most accurate portrayal of the comic book joker; in fact it was about as dead on as you get. The joker even mentions this, in a way, when he tells the batman that they are more alike than bats would admit. Batman IS crazy, in the sense that he is “the worlds greatest detective” because he is the one that can get into the criminal mind, no matter how sinister, or insane, he BECOMES the criminal in order to solve the case. The joker is nothing without the batman, he realizes this and says so, telling bats that hes going to be around for awhile; and (to my enjoyment) he doesnt die….The way it should be. As long as there is a batman, there will be a joker.

  114. The Joker is a psychopathic mass murdering killer that’s all i expect fom him, many comic book writers take liberty on these characters as well.

  115. Thank god, someone who knows movies and knows the real meanign of the word “adaption” as in “book adaption” or “Comic-book adaption”.

    The best examples I can give are both (oddly enough) in the Harry Potter series of movies. Take a bad adaption of a book where the movie focuses too much on trying to stay close to the source material and doesn’t spend enough time on actual plot and their relative themes and you end up with a movie like Harry Potter and the Philosophers/Sourcerers Stone.

    Take a good adaption of a book where the movie identifies the actual story and themes inherent within the source material while sacraficing certain unneeded plot elements and turns that into something that isn’t a translation of a book, but is actually a good movie, and you end up with Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban.

  116. When I read this post I was not surprised except for the fact that John only got 3 emails regarding the situation. But this sort of thing gets tiresome, even to me. There *are* exceptions, of course, but those involve projects that never come to pass, because the spirit of the source material is no longer there and the powers that be eat their shoes as a result (“Superman Lives” under McG/Brett Ratner’s watch; “Batman: Year One” when Darren Antofsky had considered it are examples of this)

    Small changes and tweaks in adaptations are fine by me; I also give actors a chance. I recall the debate recently (before the film came out) on Iron Man and the casting of someone who isn’t bulked up and 6’4. I was like, yeah, but why would they need to? The armor suit increases mass and height. But some of the fans are too hardcore.

    I recall the leftovers of James Cameron’s Spider-Man treatment; the organic web shooters. Makes perfect sense. I bought the reason for them. But “the fans” bitched about them.
    Three films later…

    and what about that third film?! They (the extreme comics fans) got Venom. While I cannot say for sure if a film with Sandman and Vulture would have been better (actually just Sandman and Goblin 2, with a mild intro to Brock as Harry’s storyline closes, then Venom for 4 or 5) – the “fans” got -and still want- a character who didn’t work well onscreen.

    You can’t please everyone.
    The ones that bother me most are not always the nitpicks after folks see a film but before they do, especially in terms of casting; and when the bitching is not across the board, and when a filmmaker happens to be faithful in many respects, but the little alteration made (such as in Tim Burton’s “Batman” where Joker kills off Bruce’s parents, not Joe Chill) is remembered in infamy.

  117. I despised all the praise and memorializing that came after Heath Ledger’s death. To me, he was merely a promising actor who hadn’t really proven himself. I thought most of his BROKEBACK performance was mannered and mediocre, thought he was good in MONSTER’S BALL, and the only other thing I’d seen him in was KNIGHT’S TALE. So all the [apparent] hyperbole about his performance as the Joker made me want to gag.

    But I now enthusiastically say he did an AMAZING job in THE DARK KNIGHT. Not because the performance was great (though I think it was,) but because I never in a hundred years would have expected it from him. Even if I had seen all of his roles beforehand, if I had somehow been unaware of who was playing the Joker in TDK, I never would have guessed I was watching Heath Ledger.

    So, who gives a fuck about the Oscars? But seeing as though he’s been nominated before, and that this new performance was the superior one, yes, Heath Ledger should be nominated for Best Actor. And I can’t imagine another actor topping him this year. It was just such a solid job, punctuated by giddy bravura, and different from what anyone would have expected in the Joker.

    So good.

  118. @T-VO,

    Some people might consider it much more than a “summer action flick”, such as myself. To me it transcended the genre, it felt more like crime movie to me that just happened to have a superhero in it (for the most part, anyway).

  119. The biggest thing here is that when you DO deviate from the source material and it turns out good, generally people dont care, or will at least let it slide eventually (ex. the batman suit being black in Batman ’89, and more recently the “baytanical” Transformer designs) These were things that got people worked up initially, but when the end result was good, it just kind of went away.

    Now there are also numerous examples of where stories were adapted and the end result was not so good, so it makes it even easier to continue nitpicking because who is going to disagree with you, the movie sucked, right?

    Then of course there are the ever impossible to please, die hard grass is always greener crowd who will complain ad nauseum regardless of how good a film was.

  120. Of course some things have be adapted to the big screen, spandex just doesn;t look good on film. Er,well, unless you’re Spidey.
    They had to give Batman armor, the batman from the comics with spandex would’ve been shot dead on his second night out crime fighting.
    How is it he’s not dead in the comics now??! Bullet proof spandex?

  121. Christopher Nolan is a genius. Focused and Cerebral movies that DON’T DUMB IT DOWN HOLLYWOOD!!!

    I want Bruce Willis next as Tony Zucco to introduce Robin. To be played by

    Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous)
    Joseph Gordon Leavitt
    Paul Campbell (BSG)
    Michael Pitt

    NO on Robin: Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhall, James McAvoy, Anakin Skywalker…

  122. Wow, really? Oscar for best picture? I gotta put aside my Geek card for a second and look at this objectively and say, “Hells No” is this Oscar worthy. Great summer action flick, but best film? No way.

  123. @George,


    On a related note I have heard around a few places (including Richard Roeper) that TDK MIGHT be worthy of Best Picture consideration. Although we will have to see what comes out in the next 5 months – the time period in the year where most of the Best Picture noms get released – before we can make this assumption/prediction but I don’t why it CAN’T be at least CONSIDERED. I fear the Academy might look down on the film just because of what genre it’s from but the thing is they are supposed to award the BEST PICTURE, not BEST DRAMA or whatever. If TDK is truly one of the best films of the year then it should, in all fairness, be nominated. We wil see what the rest of 2008 has to hold, but as it stands now TDK is definitely one of this year’s best offerings.

  124. No one has complained because Nolan did it well.

    Hell, insert twenty villains just do it well and no one will mind.

    And I don’t think oscar talk is over the top to be honest.

    If Crash and Chicago can win oscars there is no reason this film shouldn’t be in contention.

  125. I agree 100%, John. Just because a movie doesn’t stick 100% to the comic book, novel etc doesn’t make it bad (just look at The Shining as an example). It’s just a different take and if it works in favour of the movie then so be it – don’t just have it that The Joker’s face is that way because of acid just for the sake of keeping it EXACTLY in line with what’s the comic book story.

    If you think about it Burton and Shumacher’s take on the story was more accurate to the comic book’s than Nolan’s was – Two Face being the way he is because of acid being flung in his face in the courtroom, and of course the way The Joker was in Batman ’89 – but they didn’t do it as well as Nolan did with his version(s).

    I really hope whoever sais what you wrote as the first have of this post realises that it’s not sticking to the story that’s important but using what you decide to use in an effective way.

  126. Hm am I the only one who noticed no1 rants about there being 3 antagonists (the mafia guy, 2face and the joker) and how everyone complained when spiderman 3 inserted venom into it as he could carry the film itself?

    Going into this film when i heard about Harvey Dent being in it i thought “oh look a nice allusion to two-face most likely in the next film”, all the adverts pointed to the joker as the major villain, a certain sense of deja-vu hit me but why has no-one complained?

    I’m not saying Dark Knight was a bad film, it REALLY was not, but all this talk of oscars and awards seems way to over the top, though i should say, in my opinion :)

    1. Yes, but the Joker is the main villain. Two-face, the mob, and pretty much all the others in the movie are just his puppets. He’s the one who gives Harvey that “push”. He’s the one who sets him up and and makes him do these things. Harvey is nothing more then the Jokers “Ace in the hole”. There. That’s what I think.

  127. OK. THANK GOD!! you were joking because I was like what the hell are you talking about. hahahaha. I couldn’t even read the whole “rant part”. It pissed me off too much. hahahaha. “Well played good sir.”

  128. I have to agree that Ledger’s Joker was right for the Nolan series but for me Mark Hamill was the best Joker ever. The animated series for me will be the best adaption of Batman and a lot of that was the way they pulled of the Joker in that. That being said I think the Nolan series is a close second.

  129. Heh.

    What I don’t understand is why nobody seems to mind that Ledger took his voice and mannerisms from Andy Rooney. Think about it…

  130. well said. nice arguments. movies and comic books are two different things. while comic books might be the source material, movies based on them are merely adaptations.

  131. smart article. That is why i say to dragonball fans that you are complete idiots. Sticking to source material closely will make that movie bad. Fun thing is that the producers are trying to stay as faithful as possible to the manga only changing the story a bit and the looks somewhat.

    1. It’s been a few years now and looking back I assure you that the Dragon Ball movie WAS just bad. But to be fair I’m pretty sure it hadn’t come out when you originally posted this comment.

  132. Wasn’t the Joker in the first Batman based on the Joker origin story from the graphic-novel “The Killing Joke”. Is that story even canon to the Batman comic storyline? I say Burtons Joker and Nolans Joker is just one of many interpertations and the only one who actually knows the real origin behind the Joker is Bon Kane. Like you say the most important thing is the spirit and Nolan certainly got that right, even more than Burton did.

  133. Holy Shit im glad i kept reading i was bout to go nuts…. And i totally agree that the adaptation was the right way to go and everything was awesome and BELIEVEABLE which i think is a big thing to have in films today….most notably with the comic adaptations.

    We know the stories we know the characters now i think part of the reason were so drawn to them is we want to see how they fit into the real world. I think that is what can make the adaptations amazing, after its over and you go wow ok in some fucked up part of the country/world…ok i can see that.

    bottom line awesome point thank you John!

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