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Yesterday, I read Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke to get myself completely prepared to see The Dark Knight today. I was an emotional wreck after the movie.

Both were outstanding, but I did find it strange that everyone laughed at the most pivotal statement in the movie. When the Joker says to Batman, “You complete me,” everyone roared.

There was no traditional pause associated with a joke (insert your own “Why so serious?” joke here). I saw this as the simplest definition of the relationship between these two characters–there is no reason for The Joker to exist if Batman does not. He is the complete antithesis to Batman; he has no ethics and (in the movie version) no history. He literally tells two different stories about the scars on his face and is prepared to tell what we can only assume is another version before Batman throws him off the roof.

I will botch this quote where The Joker says something like, “Your ethical code prevents you from killing me. It looks like we’re destined to battle each other for eternity.” (I know: terrible attempt.) After that line–perhaps more appropriately–no one laughed (I hope not because of the heart-wrenching irony). It was then that I saw a character completely enveloped in insanity and near-suicidal thoughts (again, the opposite of Batman’s extreme logic and lust for life, as they say). The showdown scene between The Joker and Batman on the Batpod was particularly indicative of their separation and life views. All The Joker can say while facing his death is, “Hit me. C’mon.” He seems suicidal but incapable of committing the act himself–his death, even though he is willing to meet it, has to come at the hands of a someone else, at the hands of a hero.

The (perhaps excessive) death toll makes me wonder: with Two Face dead by the end of the movie, Rachel dead, Batman positioned as the villian and The Joker dead in real life; where do they go from here? It feels like Nolan brilliantly established an oddly symbiotic rivalry between two hugely dynamic characters (vis-a-vis The Killing Joke) and has no choice but to recast The Joker. Realistically, he has already recast Rachel for this movie and there should be no reason (besides possible fan protests) to recast The Joker. This could also speak to my ignorance of quality comic books, but this movie completely established The Joker as the main antagonist although, admittedly, there is a huge potential for minor characters to challenge Batman in the periphery.

Honestly though, there’s no need to take this wonderful movie as seriously as I have; “It’s all a monstrous, demented gag.”

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One Comment

  1. Mark my words: as long as Christopher Noalan is directing, the Joker will not be played by anyone else.


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