Why So Posthumous?

I don’t want to weigh in on the whole “does he deserve an Oscar” dispute, because I don’t really put any stock in the Academy Awards. It’s mostly a Hollywood “let’s all smell our own farts” circle jerk fiasco. That said, having seen “The Dark Knight,” I can honestly say that no actor has ever brought the character of the Joker to life like Heath Ledger. His performance (Oscar worthy or not) was phenomenal. I’ve always hated the “funny Joker” and Heath must have sympathized. His Joker was the psycho nutbox that kills people just to see what will happen. He’s an instrument of chaos with no direction or design. That’s what makes him the perfect foil for Batman. It’s order vs. chaos. Self control vs. instinct. Man vs. animal. That’s a struggle I can believe in 100 times over “I kill because I’m crazy and it’s funny.”

Heath Ledger/Dark Knight Links for your perusal:

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  1. What we saw in this movie was the Joker who blew up Jason Todd. The Joker who shot Barbara Gordon. The Joker that (in DC Universe Zero) sat there silenetly in his cell and, with only a pack of cards, fucked with Batman's head. That was the problem. It was comic book Joker. Perfectly. And if people are babling on about him getting an Oscar for this, why not nominate a CG Hulk with Lou Ferrigno's (sp) voice for one, too.

  2. "I have no interest in getting in a geek fight with you." I need to use that as an internal mantra when my friends try and that sort of thing. Heh.

    I'm commenting here to the "“Give Heath Ledger an Oscar because he deserves it, not because he passed away“ link because I feel you're smarter then some of the guys commenting to that one.

    People do not get Oscars because they deserve it. I am not saying some of the people that do get them don't deserve to get them, I just mean they get them for being in the right movies and having the right people see them and like them. It's not an opinion, it's a fact. An Oscar does not mean your movie or performance is better then anyone else's, it just means, the academy voted they liked you, they really really liked you. I haven't seen DK and have really no intention to, it's just not on my list, but nothing is taken from Heath or his performance if he doesn't get a bloody Oscar. I wish people would understand that. He's put himself in the minds and hearts of fans. Isn't that good enough? I think he'd think so.

    That being said, I'm an old woman, and I will always have Mark Hamil in my heart as The Joker.

  3. Dear Old Lady: Do yourself a favor. Go see Ledger in this movie. I, too, was a staunch "Hamill is the Joker" kind of guy. Now I will settle for "Hamill is the animated Joker, but great leaping lizards in a gunny sack, Ledger IS the JOKER!" Wow. He really did do that amazing a job.

  4. I REALLY dont want to discredit Mark Hamil's joker since A) Batman TAS is still my favorite incarnation of The Bat and B) Mark Hamil is one of my voice acting heroes, but despite my fondness for his performance I always disliked the Joker as a character. He was too clean, and his motivation (or lack there of) was never clear to me. Same with "The Batman" on Kids WB. I just cringed when I realized it was a Joker episode.

  5. Geeky_Geekerson: I will have to wait until it comes out on DVD. I've been doing some ridiculous DVD spending of late and have him my summer limit!

  6. That's tragic. This is a movie that really deserves theater treatment… or IMAX treatment if it's in your area. Sort of like the LotR movies. It won't be the same on a small screen.

  7. That's tragic. This is a movie that really deserves theater treatment… or IMAX treatment if it's in your area. Sort of like the LotR movies. It won't be the same on a small screen.

  8. I fully intend to see this movie (conflicting work schedule and actually being able to GET tickets being two important factors to overcome). But I've never been disappointed by a Heath Ledger performance (not even in the horrible "Brothers Grimm" movie).

    Joel's expression in panel three is timeless–the sheer smugness of it is just win. Josh's expression in panel two is a close 2nd. Remind me to never start a geek argument with him.

    PS: I had hoped to comment on Friday's strip, but ID wouldn't log me in and now it seems like a moot point 🙁

  9. Question my brothers: I planned to see this movie last Saturday (but we came too late to get into the showing from dinner) with a friend of mine. She's a fellow student at my university, but she's from Korea and while her english is good, would this probably be too difficult to follow? I'm not terribly worried about it being too violent or disturbing (we watched We Were Soldiers w/subtitles, which she really enjoyed, napalm burns and all). Also, I take it it's pretty awesome regardless though?

  10. Fanboys of any stripe just crack me up when they go over the edge. Like the aborted slapfight in the previous comic thread that Joel wisely put the kibosh on.

    "Are you excited for XX corporate product?"
    "Well I don't believe that xxx corporate product will stay true to the original vision"
    "Interesting. Also, your mother is a whore and she comes from whore island"

  11. Heath as Joker was excellent – dare I say, perfect. Everyone's asking, does he deserve an award? My question is, does he *need* to? We all know that he was excellent. That's all that matters.

  12. Everything in the last panel? GOLD.
    I don't think the Oscar means as much as the actual performance. Ledger was amazing, and it's a bummer he didn't live to see the film he worked so hard in.

  13. I saw it in IMAX yesterday (and saw it in regular theaters last fri.) I'm not sure what scenes were shot in imax, but it was quite impressive. As for the oscar thing, leadger was amazing, and so was the movie. I wouldn't be surprised if it did win awards, but it doesn't matter if it does. Oh also, the manager for the theater came in and commended us for selling out the theater on a monday at 1:30 in the afternoon which I though was funny.

  14. find the Korean part of the city you are in and buy the Korean DVD with subtitles….Unfortunately, it won't come out in South Korea until August

  15. Ive read that Bale is pretty broken up since the premiere. Actors typically dont see a movie (other than the dalies) until it is actually finished, so it must have been troubling to see Ledger's performance on the big screen.

  16. Urgh. You people are all deranged. There was only ONE TRUE JOKER.
    Cesar Romero. He had the look. He had it all.
    And what sort of motivation do you need to figure out for The Joker? He's nuts! You don't have to figure out why…he's an elemental random force, and anything can set him off.
    Not this dark and broody Joker-come-lately thing which everyone ooohs and ahhhs over, simply because Dark And Broody is the new "in" thing.

  17. You do understand that the Joker Heath Ledger plays also is an element of chaos, right? It even stated so in the movie. I do admit, he is a dark and psychotic character. However, that element of chaos exists in his motives.

    Although, one question, have you even seen the movie yet? I admit I haven't seen the one with Cesar Romero, however, you can't deny that the Joker is deranged in The Dark Knight.

  18. Dude, don't worry about Romero.The Cesar Romero Joker is the campy 60's Adam West/Batman Joker. I dont think a single person on that show was taking their performance seriously. The show was meant to be silly, so I would never even compare it to Dark Knight.

    Ledger's joker can only be compared to serious contemporaries like Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamil.

  19. I remember my dad taking me to see all the previous Batman movies (rubber nipples, wut?) and before seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I never knew the Batman universe could be so dark and enthralling. TDK, by itself, is a great action movie. But with the addition of Heath Ledger's performance it becomes something more. I'm sick and tired of hearing cynical pricks shouting about how everyone loves Ledger's performance "just because he's dead". The fact that he is no longer with us makes no difference at all to the amazing performance he gave and the recognition he deserves for that. If he doesn't get an Oscar; it doesn't matter. However I think a posthumous award would still be fitting. If Peter Finch got one for Network, then Heath deserves one for the Dark Knight.

    Oh and for the sake of site relevancy; nice comic. I lol'd quite hard.

  20. You hit the nail on the head. The last two Batman films have sufficiently paid for the sins of the franchise and wiped the slate clean. If Ledger was still alive, we would just be telling him to his face how amazing that performance was.

  21. Josh's rant and retraction perfectly sum up my own opinions pre- and post-viewing. (see forum for evidence)

    As for Romero, he did an excellent job of portraying THAT version of the Joker. Ledger was excellent as THIS version. I doubt either man could pull off the other one.

  22. The question that I have noticed that no one has asked is what happens if the joker returns in another film, with all this death,Oscar and deserving performance etc I already feel sorry for anyone who plays the joker in any incarnation in the future, because at the moment it looks like they will be compared to Ledger (in great geek detail). Yes I have seen the film, I am really unsure if he deserves an Oscar or not. Although I actually did not want to like Ledgers performance (due comments like the ones on this page) the performance was a good one, but didn't some one have to write the part of the joker to be like that? just a thought!

  23. Yes, somebody did have to write the part, but dialogue in a script is just that, dialogue. Sure you could have some great writer construct a script and everyone could fawn over how well written it is, but until you have an actor perform those words they don't have any real life. Heath Ledger's performance gave the part of the Joker life, living, breathing, psychopathic life. I seriously enjoyed The Dark Knight, I'm only fifteen, and a girl, I'm not very choosy when it comes to movies and I have pretty much liked every movie I've ever seen, and I know when something just blows me away. That movie did, and I was in no means predisposed to like Heath Ledger. *partly replying to Dan*

    The movie didn't just go in one direction, it twisted and turned and kept my guessing which I really liked. The people I went to see it with had both already seen it, but since I have some kind of thing for movies that make me think I figured out most of the movie as we went along. Like switching the locations of Harvey and Rachel, both of my friends didn't realize it until they had seen it that second time, I already had figured it out when Batman was pulling out his favoritism card telling Gorden he was going for Rachel. I thought it was obvious, ya know, messing with Batman's head. I'm not sure but the whole "I want my phone call part" was like obvious also, when they put the guy in the cell and he was all bellyaching I knew there was some kind of explosive, it just seemed like something the Joker would do, throwing a little spice in the mix, for fun.

    I'm not saying anyone's Joker was wrong or horrible, or that Heath Ledger is like a Joker god, all praise him, or anything like that. But he's like our generation's representation of the Joker, and a pretty good one I believe.

    Any way, nice strip. 🙂

  24. Simple. For the Bat-Bale incarnation of the frachise, Joker needs to be retired. Period. I suggest at least a 10 year moratorium on portraying the joker. If we do see him in the next movie he needs to be locked away in arkam and have no speaking role.

  25. Ah, yes. I actually got my comic-hating wife to sit down and watch this movie because I wouldn't shut up about Ledger as The Joker. AND SHE LIKED IT.

    But really … my favorite bit was when they pulled up Jack Nicholson and asked him about the role. WHAT?! JACK NICHOLSON?! Sorry, mate … he didn't do the part any justice. Ain't fit to drink piss outta Ledger's boot.

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