Archive for the ‘cinema’ Tag

Christopher Nolan’s Joker – Greatest Villain in Cinema History?

Last night I saw the midnight screening of the Dark Knight at the new GardenWalk in Anaheim; it was sensational. I’m sure there will be review after review praising this film and I’m sure I’ll agree with what is said. I’m not going to write about the film in general. The question I’d like to raise is this: is Christopher Nolan’s Joker the greatest villain in Cinema History? Let’s go through and check:

Darth Vader – is now just a winy teenager. Even without the destruction of the Darth Vader character via the new 3 Star Wars episodes this Joker would give him a run for his money.

the Terminator – Unfortunately he’s only been a villain 33.4% of the time (he’s the hero of the 2nd and 3rd film). He falls behind the Nolan’s Joker as well.

Silas Lynch – from The Birth of a Nation, 1915. While he is worth mentioning, he falls behind the Joker as well – he’s not near as disturbing as the Joker, nor is he as evil.

the Wicked Witch of the West – she’s been made into the misunderstood good guy by “Wicked.”

Phyllis Dietrichson – in Double Indemnity, 1944. It’s true she’s crafty and can’t be trusted but compared to the Joker she’s like Mother Teresa. She causes nowhere near the level of destruction, and by comparison, she is not feared. The Joker strikes terror into th hearts of an entire city.

Henry F. Potter – from It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946. Just nowhere near the same level – I think you’d all agree.

Mrs. Iselin – from Manchurian Candidate, 1962. She’s on the list because she’s twisted and devious – the Joker has her beat in both categories.

CatwomanBatman Returns, 1992. Catwoman is probably the most comparable person on the list simply because she too comes from the Batman universe. The Joker will leave you disturbed and rattled. Catwoman is more of a typical superhero villain – almost playful. Joker wins, hands down.

Out of all the villains I can think of, the only one who truly rivals Nolan’s Joker is Hannibal Lecter. It’s a very close call but there are a few things to consider: think about the amount of havoc the Joker brought upon the city. Think about the volume of people who were terrified of him. Think about his motives. The most frightening thing about the Joker is that he really does not have any motives – he’s just a “dog barking at cars.” He loves doing what he does. Though it’s a close call, I believe the Joker wins again.

Heath Ledger was perfect and I’m not exaggerating. It’s fair to say (while we are on the Hannibal subject) that he gave an “Anthony Hopkins” worthy performance – he’ll go down in history.

So that’s my point – I think a strong case could be made for the Nolan Joker to be the greatest villain of all time. What say you?

-David May

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