Was Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight the Ultimate Antagonist?

Was Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight the Ultimate Antagonist?
I’m also the ultimate cuddle-buddy!

Despite the controversy over the most recent portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad, one thing is certain: Jared Leto is not the first and will not be the last person to play the iconic villain. Yet despite the star power that has been brought to the character, from Jack Nicholson to Mark Hamill, one performance is truly unforgettable. Eight years ago, audiences were shocked, thrilled, intrigued, intellectually stimulated, and even challenged by Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Even now, references are still made to the film that essentially went on to become a modern classic, cementing the need for compelling comic book films. Although some are still critical of Christopher Nolan and his lackluster ending to the The Dark Knight Trilogy, for many, Heath Ledger was the perfect Joker in the the universally lauded Batman: The Dark Knight.

In a video posted recently by the YouTube channel Lessons from the Screenplay, the narrator wrestles with the Joker’s role in The Dark Knight and how Nolan’s version of the Joker was the ultimate antagonist for his largely realistic version of Batman.

By delving into the film and quoting storytelling/screenplay experts, the video explores the unique relationship between Batman and the Joker, specifically how the Joker pushes Batman to his limits every time they meet. Throughout its entire two-and-a-half-hour runtime, no detail is unnecessary, and everything plays into the larger narrative: the battle for Gotham’s soul. This dynamic and the specific endgame results in an unmatched, unhinged Joker.

Don’t believe us? Check out Lessons from the Screenplay’s video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

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