There’s no denying that Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight was groundbreaking. He reinvented the character into something not previously seen in any of the several portrayals in film, TV or cartoons before. He will almost certainly be recognized with a posthumous Oscar later this month. His tragic passing isn’t going to stop the fact that people are going to enjoy this character for decades to come.
Unless a few Ledgerphiles have their way.
According to a story at CNN.com, there is currently a petition from fans of the late actor who were so enamored with his portrayal of the Clown that they want the character retired from any future Batfilm. Retire. The. Joker. Forever. Wow. The website sponsoring the petition is TheUltimateJoker.com, which is headed up by Fer Barbella, 34, Nico Pimentel, 33 and Natalia Rodoni, 33, all advertising execs in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“We think Heath deserves this honor,” Barbella noted, “He is the ultimate Joker.” “We are Batman fans from the comics and from the movies,” he said,
“After we saw The Dark Knight we thought this Joker was really the
best. It deserves to be withdrawn from any Batman sequels. Barbella went on to further note, “When Michael Jordan retired they withdrew the number 23 jersey as an honor. It’s the same thing with Heath….He upgraded the character in a thrilling way,” Barbella noted, “Although a
lot of actors would love the chance to play the Joker, as Batman fans
and now Heath Ledger fans, we think no-one could ever perform it as
well as he did.”
So let’s play Joker’s advocate for a moment. If these guys had their way, that would mean that when the next generation is ready for their cinematic take on Batman, they’d be deprived of his greatest nemesis.
Anybody have a problem with that?
The honor is understandable as Ledger was awesome. A completely unexpected yet welcome surprise. But for supposed Batman fans, what Barbella and the rest don’t seem to grasp is that the Joker doesn’t belong to Ledger. He belongs to all of us and is certainly bigger than any one man’s portrayal. For instance, I’m as big a fan of Christopher Reeve as Superman as you’ll find. I grew up on his portrayals and for me, when I think of the character, I think of him. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see other guys get their crack at it. Brandon Routh was just fine as the Man of Steel, unfortunately for him, he had to show up as a deadbeat dad and super stalker. Same principle with the Joker. This is arguably the best villain in comic books. 20 or 30 years from now, fans are going to riot if the Clown Prince isn’t giving the Caped Crusader fits on the big screen, the virtual reality projection, the brain carrier wave transmission or whatever the medium might be by then.
Such talk of retirement of a character is really just fan wanking in reverse at best. I mean, should the Crow have been retired after Brandon Lee…okay bad example. But I’m sure you get my drift. Still, if you disagree, feel free to head over to their website and sign your name up as a Ledger fundamentalist.
Thanks to Will for the tip.