The Joker was the main antagonist of the 2008 film, The Dark Knight. His depiction in The Dark Knight is often considered one of the darkest versions of the comic book villain of the same name since his early beginnings in DC comics (prior to a softening of character), at least in regards to live action films. Perhaps due to the popularity of The Dark Knight, the mainstream Joker's extreme sociopathic tendencies have begun to be more emphasized.
He was portrayed by the late Heath Ledger.
Role in the filmEdit
The character's existence is hinted at the end of the first film Batman Begins, where Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) tells Batman (Christian Bale) of an armed robber who leaves Joker playing cards at scenes of crimes.
The Joker is featured as the main antagonist in the second film The Dark Knight. At the beginning of the film, the Joker and his men rob a Mafia-owned bank; he engineers his henchmen's deaths and escapes alone with the money. He then breaks into a meeting of Gotham City's crime bosses and offers to kill Batman in return for half of their funds. After killing mob boss Gambol (Michael Jai White), he issues a city-wide ultimatum for Batman to turn himself in, and threatens to kill people each day until Batman does so. He murders the judge presiding over the mob trials and Police Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb (Colin McFarlane), and makes a failed assassination attempt on Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell). Gotham's district attorneyHarvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) falsely reveals himself as Batman at a press conference as part of the plan to lure the Joker out of hiding. The Joker is captured after a long high-speed chase, but it is soon revealed that he actually planned his own capture to retrieve the Chinese accountant Lau (Chin Han) that was working for the mob. He then kills Lau and crime boss 'The Chechen' (Ritchie Coster), and announces that he is now in charge of Gotham's criminal underworld.
It's eventually revealed that the Joker sees himself as an "agent of chaos" and comes to define himself by his conflict with Batman. The Joker is also responsible for the death of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Dent's transformation into Two-Face. After he rigs a trap in which Rachel is killed and Dent is disfigured, the Joker (disguised as a hospital nurse) then convinces the traumatized Dent to seek revenge on the mob and the police.
At the climax of the film, the Joker has placed bombs on board two evacuation ships, one containing inmates of Gotham's penitentiary, and the other containing ordinary citizens. The Joker places detonators on both boats, threatening to destroy them both at midnight if one doesn't destroy the other. He also holds several hostages (disguised as his own henchmen) at a tower where he is observing the ships. Batman subdues the Joker's henchmen (disguised as medical personnel) and eventually captures the Joker himself just as both ships refuse to destroy each other. Batman then knocks the Joker off the building, but saves his life by snaring his legs with a grappling hook. The Joker says Batman can't kill him because it violates his moral code, and that he can't kill Batman because he's "just too much fun"; he then predicts gleefully that they are destined to fight each other forever. Just before being taken into custody, the Joker gloats that he has won "the battle for Gotham's soul": the people of Gotham will lose hope once they learn of Two-Face's homicidal rampage, however, Batman takes the blame for Two-Face's crimes so that people will remember Dent as a hero.
The Joker is not mentioned in the third (and final) film The Dark Knight Rises out of respect for Heath Ledger. However, the character is briefly mentioned in the film's novelization as being "locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure."
Heath Ledger, the actor who played the Joker, died under mysterious circumstances due to a drug overdose before the movie was released but luckily, after the filming of the film was done, or at least his part.
The Joker was nothing more or less than a personification of insanity, mental instability, delusional evil and anarchism. He viewed himself as not bad, good, or neutral, but rather a level higher than everyone else when it came to life. Joker believed that superficial and meaningless chaos and selfishness was basic human nature and tried to get everyone to agree with that theory. The Joker was very egocentric and vainglorious in this area, as he disliked people who resisted or fought his opinion. The Joker took pride in having reached that conclusion before everyone else and viewed morally strong people as naive, immature, ridiculous, and foolish. The Joker was also not greedy and had no interest in money or even companionship.
The Joker was really hard to place, as he knew what he was doing was evil by modern standards, but at the same time, he hoped that his behavior would become acceptable once everyone realized that anarchy was the only way to live. The Joker was also abnormally manipulative, temperamental, treacherous, impatient, and above all sadistic. He took immense joy in others being physically or psychologically wounded and even made dead-pan jokes on the occasions. The Joker was also utterly fearless and masochistic which robbed Batman of his pain-inflicting and fear inducing tactics on his enemies. Those traits also make Joker a good hand-to-hand opponent for the Caped Crusader despite him seemingly having no martial arts training as he frantically charged at Batman and ruthlessly wailed on him, something an opponent with a fear of getting hurt would never have done.
Similar to Two-Face, the Joker left prominent examples of chaos to chance, such as blowing up a hospital or the two ferries. However, unlike Two-Face, the Joker never left it up to something that he could not control, like a coin. Instead, he let the people of Gotham choose the outcome. He also left no option in which everyone was safe, and made it perfectly plain that people were going to die regardless of what option was chosen.
The Joker also shared characteristics with the other primary antagonists of the Batman trilogy. Like Ra's al Ghul and Bane, the Joker did not like the way that Gotham had existed or functioned, thought that his evil means were justified by their ends, used fear as torture, hid nothing of his plans from the protagonists to induce panic, and pigheadedly thought himself "ahead of the curve," to avoid facing his flaws. Joker differed from the other two by wanting to revolutionize Gotham City rather than destroy it. He was the only one of the three who was not a martial artist or a member of the League of Shadows. The Joker was also far more maniacal and intelligent than they were and was also the only one who never found out Batman's identity. The Joker stood more or less in between the three villains as he was an anarchist, while Ra's al Ghul was flat out delusional, and Bane was admittedly: "Necessary Evil."
In addition, the Joker was exceedingly cunning, manipulative through the use of fear, oblivious to his insanity and depravity, and flawlessly thorough in his plans. The Joker's only real setback was his blind ambition that everyone was as cruel deep down as he was on the surface which caused his final plan to backfire on him. Joker lacked any fear of being killed in his actions, as demonstrated by his trying to goad Batman into running him over as well as laughing when Batman threw him off the roof, which made him far more dangerous.
- "You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun. I think you and I re destined to do this forever."
- "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger."
- "If you're good at something, never due it for free."
- "Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent . 'Scuse me, I wanna drive!"
- "I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no...you complete me."
- "I'm a man of simple tastes: I enjoy Dynamite, Gunpowder, and Gasoline!...and you know the thing they have in common? They're cheap. All you care about is money. This town deserves a better class of criminal, and I'm gonna give it to them! Tell your men they work for me now. This is my city."
- "I had a vision, a world without Batman. The Mob tried to ground a little profit and the police tried to shut them down, one block at a time, and it was also...boring."
- "Tonight, you're all going to be a part of a social experiment. I'm ready right now to blow you all sky high."
- "Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push."
- "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight's entertainment!"
- "What's the time?"
- "Well, depending on what the time is he might be in one spot or several."
- This variation of the Joker is widely considered the darkest and most evil version of the character.
- Joker was the only main antagonist in the trilogy that had no affiliation with the League of Shadows.