The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger Shines while the Film Falters


Heath Ledger as The Joker

Heath Ledger as The Joker








Okay, first let me put it out there. Heath Ledger gave the performance of his life as the Joker in Batman – The Dark Knight. He was able to portray an insane intelligence with such a maniacal twisted glee that his characterization of the Joker will go down as one of the most memorable villains on screen. 

Batman and The Joker

Batman and The Joker








 It was the high point of the film every time he was on screen. He even peppered in some humor that helped the audience to breathe through the darkest moments of the Joker’s evilness. 

Now let me address what I believe is the problem with the film as a whole. When we left the theatre Gary, who watched the movie with me, said, “You know I really did not like the movie.”  I asked him to explain to me why he felt that way because he was a fan of the Batman films. He said that it was not believable that the Joker could turn one of the characters, Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) so quickly to the bad side.  The Dent character played a character that seem to have strong convictions of moral strength and fought as District Attorney against the Mob and the Joker. When tragedy strikes he turns quickly away from that moral center. Gary thought that transition happened too fast. 

Aaron Eckhart

Aaron Eckhart

 Gary really hit on a theme that I felt about the film as a whole. It was so dark and well, hopeless. I know that Batman has a gothic feel and tragic subtext but there is always a feeling of redemption in the end of the story.  There is always good winning over evil.   

I believe the film was trying to present this but it took us to such a dark place but it did not do a good job in taking us completely out of it to make us feel that the Super Hero really won.  Instead we simply felt sorry for him.  I mean there is always a sadness for Batman that is always there in terms of his sacrificing his personal life that almost every Superhero makes, but in this movie we are left feeling pity for him in his competency as a Superhero.  He looked weak at the end.


The Dark Knight Cast

The Dark Knight Cast


This beings us back to Gary’s earlier statement. The Joker was given too much power.  I felt he beat Batman at the end of the movie. The bad guy won. 

The special effects in the movie were stupendous and exciting.  This is a big stand out of the movie and deserves to be seen on the big screen.  

I still recommend seeing the movie but it is not the great Batman movie you expect. Enjoy Heath Ledger’s last and great performance. 

4 thoughts on “The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger Shines while the Film Falters

  1. I think a lot of the Batman movies make more sense if you read the source comics, which really deal with an up-and-coming Batman. For many of them the cops aren’t on his side, and he must avoid them as much as the villains. Additionally there’s a lot of dark events happening. Hell, the comic version of Joker paralyzes Barbara Gordon, kills Gordon’s second wife, and, murders Robin.
    By virtue of simply being Batman its a sign that evil’s winning; the day we don’t need Batman is the day good prevails. After all, wasn’t that the reason Harvey Dent was so important?

    I agree with a lot of what you’re saying though; Ledger was amazing. The special effects were very spot-on and not too much. Its really a film meant to be experienced in a theater at least once.

  2. Alex,

    Thank you for your coments and the background. It helped me understand some things. I received a lot of strong feed back in other places where my blog is featured.

    I was in a discussion with someone at work and he put it well when he said that it felt like they were trying to squeeze two films into one. If the film had ended perhaps with one big climatic end and continued with a sequel to allow more of the story line to develop, perhaps it would have worked better on screen.

    With all of that said, it is still a movie to watch . Ledger is outstanding and visually it is amazing.

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