The Joker Solution

In the movie.

The Joker is not a person, but a position.

Batman goes to Arkham and finds that the Joker he met in the last movie is escaped.  A new Joker (and my dream is Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up.  Batman, in fact, everyone can plainly see that that is not the same man who was the Joker last time.  But there is never any explanation in the movie world for the switch.  Or potential switches in the future.

21 thoughts on “The Joker Solution

  1. Except do they acknowledge the new James Bonds? I thought in the movies everyone just carried on like it was of course James Bond. I’m thinking more that the Joker carries on like he is of course the Joker but everyone in Gotham City is like “That’s not the same dude, right? Is there an army? Was the last guy a fake? Is this guy an imposter?”

  2. Well, the Joker is Batman’s arch-enemy, so the idea that you could continue the series of movies (especially since they’re now supposed to be somehow more “real”) without the presence of his arch-enemy seems unlikely, but Ledger’s not reprising the role.

  3. Mostly no, the films don’t acknowledge the actor switch. Once, when George Lazenby took over, he broke the fourth wall and smirked at the camera to say “That never happened to the other guy.” — but other than that, the Bonds come and go without anyone, even Moneypenny, batting an eye.

    So Joker 2.0 would be a real wildcard, huh? (Oh, sometimes I kill me.)

  4. But there are so many villains in the Batman universe that I would think they could get by very well without Ledger. And if they must have a Joker, so what? No one batted an eye when asked to believe that Ledger could morph into Jack Nicholson some day.

  5. No one batted an eye when asked to believe that Ledger could morph into Jack Nicholson some day.

    Well yes and no. I don’t get the impression that Nolan’s Batman series is truly intended to be prequel to Burton’s. More like they are two completely seperate stories with similar names and faces.

  6. ‘Reimaginations’ don’t always work very well, but lately there have been a few that have. I think the Batman movies (though I have yet to see the latest one) might be an example of good reimagination. Battlestar Galactica is an example of a reimagination that is on a different, higher plane than its original. The upcoming Star Trek movie looks like it will be a giant, big-budget leap backward (think: ‘”Bugsy Malone” in Space,’ only without the self-aware parody).

    I certainly enjoyed Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and by all accounts Heath Ledger crafted quite a memorable character with his Joker. I’m looking forward to watching it. NM is right though. There are so many villains (even just from the original TV series) to choose from, there’s no need to rush into recasting the Joker.

    Open question: who would you like to see ‘reimagine’ one of the villains from the original series? (Go here for a list of the originals). I nominate Patrick Stewart as Egghead.

  7. Super hard.

    They could do the next movie without the joker, say he was waylaid terrorizing superman instead, and then by the time the movie after that one comes out it would be a non issue.

  8. CS I dug you out of the spam filter and now am just waiting for the comic book purists to stroke out over your implication that the tv show is somehow the “real” Batman.

  9. You know, I don’t care all that much about Batman in any of its iterations. But I love considering the ways that comic-book superheroes have become one of our recurring cultural themes: so many of us have a favorite iteration of Superman (mine is the Lois and Clark version, mostly because of Teri Hatcher), or Batman, or Spiderman, or even of Star Trerk, that has become the “real one” for us. We need to be able to feel that we could walk into any episode and know who the characters are and how they’ll act in the current situation. It’s kind of like the Arthur iterations, or the Charlemagne cycle from the middle ages.

  10. I love that notion, too. And, frankly, it helps me make sense of those older forms, to think of them as functioning like our superhero stories.

    And then it tickles me to think of people 500 years from now getting on their version of the History Channel talking about finding the real Clark Kent.

  11. The Siren wigh Helena Bonham Carter. She isn’t as sexy as Joan Collins, but man does she play crazy so well.

  12. Villains created for the Batman TV series (Egghead, Siren, etc) should stay on the Batman TV series. There’s no reason to bring any of them forward, in my mind.

    I was not a fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker (and even less of Christian Bale’s Batman) in the new movie – my favorite character by far was Harvey Dent/Two-Face. I think a movie with him would be a much stronger story, but alas…

    And I love the Joker, I just don’t think Ledger served the character well by his performance (actually, now that I think about it it may have been the script and story the producers had him tell that I don’t like as much. There’s something more scary about a man twisted and malformed due to a chemical accident (i.e. Harvey Dent) than a guy who’s just a freak and uses makeup to become a killer clown. We, unfortunately, see natural-born freaks all the time in the news – we go to Batman movies to see super-villains).

    I personally hope for Riddler in the next one, but there are plenty to choose from. As for who would play him – I don’t know. Jim Carrey’s been done, and Robin Williams may be too washed up (interestingly, when Batman Forever was being made, fan speculation at the time really was wanting Robin Williams as the Riddler, as his schtick at the time was similar to Jim Carrey’s. Now that years have added to Williams’ persona, I wonder if now might be a better time for him to play the role?)

  13. I hope they don’t bring the Riddler into the new series. i have a hard time imagining the Riddler not being campy, and campy is what killed Burton’s Batman. On the other hand, I couldn’t have guess that the joker could have ever been played as dark as Ledger did, so who knows, with the right actor, a new Riddler might surprise me.

  14. frankly, it helps me make sense of those older forms, to think of them as functioning like our superhero stories.

    This is the only way I found to get most of my students to accept that anyone ever heard or read the Chanson de Roland for fun: “But it starts in the middle of the story and expects us to know what already happened! They expect us to understand the motivations of all these characters who we’ve never heard of before! How can anyone enjoy something like this?” “Yeah, just like you coming in in the middle of an episode of Star Trek.” “Ohhhhhhhh, right, that makes sense.”

  15. Yes, camp is not what the newer Batman series is about. You could do the Riddler, and have him be more of a Zodiac killer type, opposed to the Frank Goshen or Jim Carrey mold. Then again, the Joker was kind of a Zodiac killer himself.

    Catwoman…? Halley Barry killed that option for another ten years.

    Penguin? How could it not be camp.

    Poison Ivy? A botantist turned extreme zero-population enviromentalists, using plant poisons to kill people. Unfortunately, that’s kinda like the Happening (which I haven’t seen, but actually saw a review on it call The Crappening, which is such a Spinal Tap type review title I didn’t waste my time.)

    I dunno. It’s a shame they killed TwoFace but kept The Joker.

  16. I really liked the Joker in this incarnation. The scary thing about him was his unpredictability. He was chaos personified and you never knew what he was going to do. A person who just follows his whims is a lot scarier than someone who has an identifiable agenda. Stacy Campfield for example…

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