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Batman Discussion 967

I won't be reading it because I haven't been able to go yet, but I suspect a goodly number of you have already partaken in the latest Batman flick that taunts me. Mocks me. And knows that I don't have time today or probably any time this week (unless there is a movie theater near the OSCON venue?) Anyway -- here is the official place to talk about the biggest geek movie out until the X-Files comes out next week, and I have similar frustrations.
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Batman Discussion

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  • One Word (Score:3, Informative)

    by ThePopeLayton ( 868042 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:54AM (#24273083)
  • by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:55AM (#24273109)

    Because Heath Ledger deserves one.

    End of story.

    • by Hyppy ( 74366 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:00AM (#24273207)
      Yes. List of posthumous Academy Award winners. [] It's been over 30 years since an actor has won one posthumously, though.
    • by quarrel ( 194077 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:02AM (#24273253)

      Yes, they can.

      Peter Finch [] (who won Australia's first Acting Oscar?) has got the only posthumous Oscar for Acting (there are others in other categories).

      Sadly, another Australian may get one this way..


    • by xtracto ( 837672 ) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:27AM (#24273689) Journal

      Because Heath Ledger deserves one.

      This is not a troll, but a legitimate question. I have only seen the trailers of the new Batman movie. I have read in a lot of places that the joker character is is very good.

      However, from what I have seen on the trailer, the joker does not seems crazy like the one impersonated by Jack Nickolson. Thus my question to the people that have seen the movie would be, Is the Joker character by Ledger better than the one by Nickolson?

      And to the compic purists (I am not one of them...) which of the two characterisations is closer to the one in the comics?

      • by jaweekes ( 938376 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:47AM (#24274019)

        Yes, without question. Ledger's Joker actually acts legitimately crazy, complete with the tongue thing. You can tell that he is rational in his own mind, and not trying to be funny, as Nickilson's Joker tried to be.

        You really have to see it to understand what I mean. It really is the best villain I've seen.

        • by gyranthir ( 995837 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:35AM (#24275019)
          Intelligent Sadistic Anarchistic Psychopath. He was amazing, true to form to the gritty, dark, real, version of Gotham City. Great performance.
        • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:07PM (#24276883)

          Ledger's Joker seems to have been based on Mark Hammill's Joker in the edgier of the animated episodes/movies.

          • by TinCanFury ( 131752 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:44PM (#24277545)

            Well, kinda...

            Ledger's Joker is based more on the comic series which always had the Joker as more of a psychotic than a jokester. Perhaps it was the Adam West series's softening of the character that gave the Joker that impression in the general public. In the 70's when the Joker became even a bit more grittier, and through the Dark Knight and similar gn's, the "darkening" of the Batman universe came to influence Dini, etc. in how they developed the character for TAS, though a bit softer still since it was a kids show.

            Ledger's version is easily the closest to the original Joker concept of a true psychotic criminal, one who not only revels in his own altered version of the world, but finds the humor in the differences of what is considered our normal and what he considers normal, and uses that humor as part of his villainy.
            Nicholson's Joker, while following closely to The Killing Joke origin of the Joker (and in my mind a weak cause for the level of the Joker's psychosis as required for the original character), was more along the lines of the 50's and 60's prankster Joker.

            Either way, it will take a lot to find another actor who can come close to bringing the Joker to life in the same way Ledger did.

      • by Gravatron ( 716477 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:49AM (#24274045)
        Jack's joker wasn't nearly as Good IMHO, but he was playing the more comedic insane joker. What Heath plays is completely insane, very disturbing joker, with loads of very dark humor, and a ton of violence.

        It's pretty much what everyone was hoping it would be. You don't even recognize him as Heath, it's all Joker.
      • by Hausenwulf ( 956554 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:51AM (#24274095)
        Nicholson played the Joker as crazy. Ledger played the Joker as a psychopath.
        • by SputnikPanic ( 927985 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:21AM (#24274705)

          Agreed. Over the decades, the Batman comics moved from dark to campy to dark again. Nicholson's Joker was some strange amalgam between dark and campy. Ledger's Joker on the other hand is indeed pure psychopath, the Joker as characterized by Frank Miller and Alan Moore.

          Of the people I know who are familiar with the Joker character from having read comic books, all who have seen Dark Knight agree that Ledger's Joker is the best interpretation.

        • by twalk ( 551836 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:59AM (#24275395)

          I'd put this further as saying Nicholson played a great comic book Joker.

          Ledger played the Joker as a real human being. That gives a LOT more emotional shock value in the end, since you could actually imagine Ledger's Joker existing in the real world.

          • by The Ultimate Fartkno ( 756456 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @02:05PM (#24277837)

            I second this. The Keaton / Nicholson films took place in a world that was Willy Wonka-esque. You had to just roll with it and say "oh, it's a movie!" to believe it. I unashamedly did, and I loved those movies for years (okay, the Burton ones.). Chris Nolan just took a flamethrower to the old ones and said "No. This is right here and right now." and created something insanely beautiful.

            Jack was completely over the top and all "Look at me! Look at me!" and Ledger played it as "You look at me and I'll gut you..." His Joker is what I imagine it would be like to have a camera crew following Jeffrey Dahmer or J.W. Gacy around. He's just pure, undiluted id waiting for a chance to set you on fire and giggle as you scream.

      • by cptnapalm ( 120276 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:09AM (#24274457)

        Ledger's performance is not as over the top as Nicholson's. Having said that, Ledger's Joker is a far more frightening thing. He has no name, no history, no nothing. He is just a pure chaos.

        As for comic accuracy, both are accurate.

        Nicholson's is more akin to the Joker from the Detective Comics and Batman from the 70s and early to mid 80s. Over the top crazy and homicidal.

        Ledger's is more like the Joker from Batman #1 from 1940 as well as Miller's Dark Knight Returns (1986). Chaos personified. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. Pure evil and utterly creepy. Terror for no discernible purpose aside from causing terror. I, personally, don't think it is as much like the Joker from Killing Joke (1988) as many others do.

        The terror experienced by Gothamites which follows the news "The Joker is Free" in the comics I could not see Nicholson's inspiring. I can easily see Ledger's doing so.

      • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @02:38PM (#24278339) Homepage Journal

        You have to see it.

        There is no backstory; the Joker is not some business man that tragic things happened to. There isn't a plan, there isn't a motivation, there's no rhyme or reason.

        He is Just. Fucking. Crazy.

        Given any situation imaginable, his only concern is "what will cause the most entropy". That's it, there's nothing else.

        And the performance is otherworldly. I never once looked at the joker and thought "That's Heath Ledger". He disappears into the role.

        If you want to get an idea, just peep this quote (from wikipedia):

        The Herald Sun and The Mercury quote Michael Caine, who portrays Alfred Pennyworth, as saying that Ledger topped Jack Nicholson's performance as the Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. "He's gone in a completely different direction to Jack. Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh...Heath is like a really scary psychopath. I did one scene with him and he was ready to go and had to come up in a lift and raid our place...I didn't see him for rehearsal and when he came out of the lift he was so incredible I forgot my lines. He frightened the life out of me. ... I'd never met him before. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a heck of a revelation in this picture."

        He made MICHAEL CAINE, one of the most acclaimed and professional actors in the WORLD, forget his lines ON SET, he was so freaky.

        Just... go see the movie.


  • by SageinaRage ( 966293 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:55AM (#24273119)
    It's the latest Joker flick, Batman is just a secondary character.
  • Good movie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <> on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:55AM (#24273123) Journal

    It didn't disappoint me. I enjoyed the portrayal of The Joker. I'm sure there'll be much debate about Ledger vs. Nicholson (as well as endless Batman/Alternate Universe Joker-on-Joker slashfic).

    I also enjoyed that there wasn't any silly microwave/waterborn silliness. I know, I know, comic book movie. But still...

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:07AM (#24273339) Journal

      Cesar Romero [] is the only real Joker.

    • Re:Good movie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by metlin ( 258108 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:46AM (#24274003) Journal

      Yeah, Joker was awesome - but the biggest criminal of all time of course is Batman's alter ego, Mr. Wayne.

      Mr. Bruce Wayne is the better class of criminal [] that the Joker talks about - someone who would make the white collars on Wall Street look like children.

      So, being behind white collar crimes when you are a superhero at night is fine, but you don't enjoy others doing the same? Interesting take, this Batman movie thingy.

    • Re:Good movie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by raftpeople ( 844215 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:51AM (#24274099)

      I'm sure there'll be much debate about Ledger vs. Nicholson

      I doubt it.

    • Re:Good movie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fozzyuw ( 950608 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:26AM (#24274809)

      Here are my thoughts.

      The Good

      • Good story. Good character dialog. Lost of subtle references to modern social-political topics.
      • Attempts to make more realistic. I can suspend plenty of belief for a comic book movie, but a lot of the elements where changed to be more real. Face paint instead of chemical alteration. Little tidbits about about ex-CIA extraction plans. None of that swinging to safety at the last minute (how did he survive that fall off the penthouse?)
      • Good special effects. "Two-Face" was particularly cool.

      The Bad

      • No matter what, I just can't get over Bale's "raspy" Batman voice. It simply bugs me and did so in the previous film as well.
      • Chicago. Maybe it's because I live too close to Chicago and been there plenty of times, but I lost some immersion when I could easily identify some landmark buildings. Sure, I didn't see the Sears Tower, but Harvey Dent's office was overlooking the Chicago River and their round car park high-rises. That and all the cars had Illinois license plates. I didn't know Gotham was in Illinois? I was just waiting to see "Cubs" and "Bears" sticks on peoples cars.

      Other than that, I really enjoyed it. The Joker really did have an awesome performance.

  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:58AM (#24273171)
    Bruce Willis really dead the entire film. That's why the kid can see him and everyone else ignores him!

    What? Oh, sorry. Wrong film.
  • The Dark Knight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DocturKnowles ( 1146091 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:58AM (#24273183)
    I'll go ahead and comment here but keep it short and sweet. Pros - Heath Ledger was the epitome of psychosis. BRILLIANT acting. In the original Batman movie (think '60s) and later in the Burton films the Joker was more or less a silly villain. He was out for revenge or just doing it for the kicks but he wasn't crazy. He had his fun and went home. The Dark Knight's Joker was fantastically evil. I will see this movie again just to re-watch Ledger's performance. Cons - Some cheesey dialogue. The Bat-Bike was so-so. Scarecrow and Two Face seemed under used. All in all I'd give this movie a nine out of ten. Ten out of ten for acting and sheer awesome. Eight out of ten for cheese and missed opportunities.
  • Lloyd Center (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dunx ( 23729 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:59AM (#24273205) Homepage

    Obviously Cmdr T won't be reading this, but the Lloyd Center cinemas are very close to the OSCON venue - two stops on the MAX, or about half a mile if he feels like walking. []

  • I mean, don't get me wrong, Christian Bale is a good actor; but to be honest, when it comes to movies about the Black Knight, I don't really think that anybody can top Martin Lawrence's performance.
  • It was pretty good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:02AM (#24273247) Homepage Journal

    That's about the reaction I had, which seems to be unusual -- most people I know thought it was fantastically amazingly wonderful, with a small minority who thought it sucked. Very much like Batman Begins: I may be the only person I know who thought it was ... well, pretty good. Not bad, not great, a decent way to spend a couple of hours and munch some popcorn.

    The editing was better than in BB, which pleased me; the abrupt jumps of that movie really irritated me. Bale is, as before, good but not great. Ledger's Joker performance deserves all the praise that's been heaped on it -- it's not just the glamor of a Star Tragically Dead Before His Time(tm). He's genuinely scary, and he pretty much owns every scene he's in. (As opposed to whatsisname who played the Scarecrow in BB, and makes a brief cameo appearance in TDK, who I thought was one of the least interesting and charismatic bat-antagonists of all time.) Everyone else is, again, pretty good.

    [shrug] The 1989 version remains the definitive Batman film adaptation for me, but this will do for now. If they keep the franchise going, Bond-style, maybe they can bring Bale back in a generation or so to do TDK Returns. That would be cool.

  • One Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kellyb9 ( 954229 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:10AM (#24273379)
    Loved the movie, loved the portrayal of the Joker, just one question. Who is the next Batman Villian? Since Ledger presumably rendered the Joker unportrayable (literally, I can't imagine anyone being able to even come close), I imagine they'll use someone else from the Batman universe, but who? My guess is the Riddler.
  • Boats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:11AM (#24273405)

    The ethical dilemma on the two ferries toward the end of the flick was excellent. The Joker's rants are enough to make you think (if you haven't already) but that one line was really, truly excellent:

    "Well, we're still here, which means they haven't pushed the button."

    Above all else, the best thing about this movie was the trip into the different aspects of the human condition. Whether it's the chaotic Joker, fair Two-Face, pure Fox, kind Alfred, or incorruptible Batman, or any of the others, we get, as The New Yorker paraphrased, a rare glimpse into the abyss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DarrenBaker ( 322210 )

      Tiny Lister had a great role in that scene, convincing the warden (or whomever he was) to give him the detonator. What great writing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I thought this was the best scene in the whole movie! To me, it distinguished between the common criminal (Tiny) and the truly evil one (Joker). Even the common criminal has rules, where Joker played by no rules what so ever.

        It also showed the Common Criminal has the balls to do what should have been done. But that was the point, wasn't it. Awesome!

    • The ethical dilemma on the two ferries toward the end of the flick was excellent. The Joker's rants are enough to make you think (if you haven't already) but that one line was really, truly excellent:

      Too cliched... They took the safe, predictable way out of that one - the scary prisoner with the heart of gold makes the noble choice to save the innocent citizens, while the citizens are cowardly and ready to toss aside the prisoners, but end up not able to make that decision either. We've seen this exact outcome to the Prisoner's Dilemma every time it's come up in a movie.

      Then again, what could the writers do? Blowing up either one of the boats would have made the movie a hell of a lot darker.

      • So the insane killer guy tells you that the detonator will blow up the OTHER boat. That you would be SAFE?!?

        And you fucking BELIEVED him?

        THAT was the problem I saw with that scene. Wouldn't the Joker do something more ... Joker'ish? Like have the detonator blow up YOUR boat? Or BOTH boats?

  • by SirLurksAlot ( 1169039 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:15AM (#24273483)

    First I want to say I loved it, easily the best movie I've seen this year. Nolan did a great job at keeping it dark and gritty, and I can be satisfied with that alone. Some of the aspects of the movie really did seem forced though. For one thing it seemed like Harvey made the transition to Two Face very quickly. Yes, there he went through a lot, but his character never gave off a sense that it affected him all that much until the end. There was only one scene to really show that he might've been unhinged somewhat before becoming Two Face, and even then he seemed to be very much in control. It just seemed like there wasn't enough foreshadowing that he was capable of being a true monster. Aaron Eckhart gave a great performance, but I think if Harvey had been given more a backstory (such as how they introduced him in Batman: TAS, talking to a shrink) the overall effect would've been more profound.

    • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:18AM (#24273539)

      I think that was the point -- the Joker even commented that the descent to madness takes just a little push. That's what the hospital scene was -- Harvey was holding it together even through everything that happened until a little push, then his whole personality crumbled around him.

      • by SirLurksAlot ( 1169039 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:29AM (#24273721)

        Hmmmm, you have a point. Still, even with "just a little push," it didn't seem like his personality up to that point was that fragile. Of course, my argument goes against my other nitpick about the movie, which is that the Joker spent a lot of time explaining his motivations to the audience rather than leaving it up to them to deduce. Can I have my cake and eat it too? ;-)

  • by stankulp ( 69949 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:16AM (#24273503) Homepage

    Anybody else catch that?

    Anybody else think of Bush when they caught it?

    • Yes, I thought it was an interesting parallel. I appreciated the ending to the story about the jewel thief, as well.
  • by DarrenBaker ( 322210 ) <darren&flim,net> on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:19AM (#24273555) Homepage

    Don't get me wrong, he's good - very good - but it's not Academy Award level acting. If he had lived, nobody would be discussing an award.

    Certainly, it will get nominations for cinematography for Pfister (who will win), writing for the brothers Nolan, and production design for Crowley (who will also win), but that's it.

    If the Academy chose to recognise the efforts of the only people who actually knowingly risk their lives for film, stunt people, then this would win as well. But, the Academy is blind to this irony, so they won't.

    • by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:12AM (#24274543)
      I'd say that Ledger's complete redefinition of who the Joker is and what he's about represents some pretty amazing acting. At no point in time was his character anything other than an amazing combination of completely insane and coldly calculating. He was good enough that despite all the hype I never found myself even thinking about the fact that he was acting. I was completely engrossed in the character. (Bale's "Batman Voice" on the other hand... was really distracting.)
  • Two-Face's face (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Samurai Cat! ( 15315 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:21AM (#24273593) Homepage

    One thing I noticed, and liked, was the fairly obvious nod to the old comics when it came to how they handled Two-Face's disfigurement.

    The bit with the back side of the mouth, looking like he's going "grrrr!", and the eyeball floating in the socket - that look is pretty much lifted straight from some of the old Batman comics, as far as how Two-Face looked.

    It kinda sent a chill up my back - when he first turns his head, I had a flashback to my youth when I was big into comics, remembering how Two-Face was illustrated back then.

  • by Alonzo Meatman ( 1051308 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:33AM (#24273779)
    Here's the only plot point I didn't get - You know the part where the sleezeball lawyer wants to reveal Batman's identity, and the Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if nobody kills him? Why didn't they just kill the lawyer? You have to figure that evacuating every hospital in Gotham would kill untold numbers of people who were on life support or otherwise in critical condition. I'd imagine definitely in the thousands. All for what, to save the life of this one guy? Call me Spock, but I think this would definitely be a situation of "the good of the many versus the good of the one." Plus, that was one loose end that was never tied up. What happens to the lawyer at the end of the movie? Surely people will remember him, and remember that he knows Batman's identity. "So hey, remember that guy we sacrificed thousands of patients in order to save? Didn't he know the identity of Batman or something? Gee, that would come in handy now that we hate Batman. Where is that guy, anyway?"
    • by ODiV ( 51631 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:03AM (#24274331)

      You know the part where the sleezeball lawyer wants to reveal Batman's identity, and the Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if nobody kills him? Why didn't they just kill the lawyer?

      Yeah. You go ahead and trust that maniac. The rest of us will be over here in Rational-Land where we don't give someone whatever they want when they say they're going to blow up a hospital.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anpheus ( 908711 )

      Because then the Joker says, kill 10 people or I'll blow up a hospital.

      Or kill 100 people or I'll blow up a hospital.

      Or kill 1000 people or I'll blow up a hospital.

      The moment you accept killing one innocent person is OK to save many more innocent people, then how do you propose we weigh their lives? Does society even work when we permit such madness to reign?

  • by Semaphore_99 ( 1317235 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:36AM (#24273845)
    Spoiler alert: I enjoyed the movie overall. Loved the action and joker was great. However there were some major plot holes. 1. When batman rescued what's her name in the Fund Raising scene ... wasn't joker still at the top of the building with all of the people? What happened with that? 2. Who put Harvy Dent and what's her name in the oil barrel rooms? Joker said he didn't do it. (This one's an interesting plothole and I think the hint "What time is it?" might have given it away ...) Maybe I'm reading more into it than there is. Possible villain for 3rd movie? I also felt that the fall of Harvy Dent to Two-Face wasn't that believable. I believe the movie needed more attention to detail there. The scenes with him felt kind of rushed.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.