The Batman Director Shares His Thoughts On Heath Ledger’s Joker

Pattinson Batman

Though all filming, and one imagines the majority of production, on Hollywood movies has currently halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep talking about what’s on the way.

Director Matt Reeves, who until the lockdown was busy working on The Batman, has used some of his additional spare time to speak to Nerdist about the history of the character and his adversaries on screen. One of the subjects they came to was Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, with Reeves sharing his uncontroversial take on the role by saying:

The Dark Knight is so incredible and I think that Heath Ledger’s performance and their conception of the Joker in that movie is indelible. And the battle that he engaged with, you know, with Batman/Bruce is incredible.

Reeves then went on to discuss the ideas behind the character, explaining:

But the thing you take away from it more than anything is that conception, specifically, I think of the Joker. That movie is so much about how it’s a horrifying thing to stare into the abyss, that idea of that level of nihilism. The whole idea that there was nothing you could do because even in the destruction of him, you were fulfilling his aims. It was just a terrifying notion that speaks to an aspect of human nature and that was really profound.

His opinion is clearly one that many can side with and that’s perfectly fine, as there’s no point being contrarian for the sake of it. The Dark Knight is one of the most universally acclaimed films in modern history, and Ledger’s performance is no different. That’s not to say there aren’t interpretive debates to be had on their subject matter. Everyone has a different perspective. For me, it’s not so much about nihilism as it is escalation. I’ll leave that discussion for another time, though.

Those fretting about potential further delays to The Batman’s release (it’s been endlessly pushed back) can take some comfort from the fact that there’s no official word yet that it’ll get another postponement. But there’ve certainly been whispers about it.

In any case, drop a comment if you’ve got any thoughts on Matt’s take on The Dark Knight. Or on The Batman. Or Batman in general. Quite a loose brief today.