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The Dark Knight

Posted by RB Kollannur on September 11, 2008

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain” – Harvey Dent

The Clown Prince of Crime has finally arrived in Hollywood. The Joker is the epitome of the super villain, more sadistic than Hannibal Lecter and more diabolical than Darth Vader. He is the villain par excellence, bent on causing chaos and killing people for amusement. His schemes are classy and well thought out, although he has to lose in the end. He brings into his role the enticement to the “dark side”, always patiently etching off Batman’s conscience. In a way, he is the darker version of Batman. Batman uses fear and torture, toying with moments of madness in his efforts to fight crime, but stopping one step before madness. Joker takes the plunge to madness and relishes on creating chaos in the minds of his adversaries. In this way, the Joker provides the ultimate enticement to the Batman, creating doubt in his conscience and breaking him mentally. Batman thrives on these tests on integrity and both of them feeds of the other to improve themselves. So, a match up between Batman and Joker is always a relish to watch. There is always a question of Batman tipping over and becoming the villain as Harvey Dent so eloquently put.

I always felt that Hollywood restrained themselves from unleashing the Prince of Chaos on the public, until now. Even Jack Nicholson’s depiction in the 1989 movie fell short of the chaotic menace that is the Joker. The new Batman franchise has taken one step further to bring into the reel the most compelling of the super villains in print media. The 1989 Batman may have been more of a comic book adaptation aimed at kids in particular, so the producers may not have wanted their audience to view the sadistic, homicidal sociopath making merry in his own cruel way. But nineteen years on, the psyche of the public are more amenable to the madness of the Joker. Credit has to be given to Christopher Nolan and his team for allowing Heath Ledger to personify the Ace of Knaves. Heath Ledger has pulled off a masterful performance to portray the Clown Prince of Crime and it is unfortunate that it was to be his last. The sheer delight of the madness of the Joker brings in a captivating angle to the movie and the cast has executed it perfectly.

Bringing in Harvey Dent adds on to the struggle between Batman and Joker. Harvey Dent, the swashbuckling attorney bent on removing criminals from the streets, is seen as a savior by Batman, relieving him of the burden of being Batman. Unfortunately, it also gives Joker with an entertaining guinea pig in his experiment of chaos and corruption. It is set for the Joker to bring down Batman with his ability to incite chaos and play on minds. Deviating from the Harvey Dent of the first movie franchise, where it is anger on the mobster Rupert Thorne that splits Harvey Dent’s personality to become the villain, Two Face, the current franchise relies on Joker and his mental manipulations. Harvey Dent serves as a bridge of psychology for Batman and Joker.

I came across a review of the movie calling it the Best Super Hero Movie Ever. I completely disagree. By allowing Joker to have the last laugh, it is truly the Best Super Villain Movie Ever.


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