It has been 10 years since “The Dark Knight,” directed by Christopher Nolan, came out in theaters, and many people, including myself, believe it to be the greatest superhero movie ever made.
“The Dark Knight” featured an impressive cast that included Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
Every actor played his or her role amazingly, but the one performance that stood out above all else was Heath Ledger’s sinister portrayal of the Joker. Ledger used method acting as a way to fully immerse himself into a character, and the Joker was no exception.
The documentary “I Am Heath Ledger” revealed that Ledger locked himself in his room for six weeks trying to find and develop the character. Ledger worked on the Joker’s posture, stance, smile and voice.
In another documentary called “Too Young to Die,” Kim Ledger, the father of Heath Ledger, also revealed that his son kept a journal to perfect his upcoming role of the Joker. The journal included the actor’s lines, eerie messages and pictures of clowns and comic strips of his character. Ledger’s work paid off because in every scene, he captivated the audience and stole the show.
One of the greatest scenes in “The Dark Knight” takes place in the interrogation room where the Joker and Batman talk about ethics and morality. The Joker tells Batman that when the chips are down, people will become the worst of themselves. The Joker, an unstoppable force of chaos, is trying to prove to Batman, an immovable object of justice, that anyone can be like him, and in the end the Joker ends up winning because he is able to bring down Harvey Dent, Gotham’s white and shining knight, to his level.
This questioning of ethics and morality is what made “The Dark Knight” stand out from other superhero movies, in that it’s not just another happy ending story; it’s a story that makes you question human nature, something we all have to deal with at least once in our lives.
In terms of superhero movies, “The Dark Knight” is the most accomplished and awarded movie in history. It still holds the record for the most Oscars won with two and nominations with nine by a live action superhero movie. The Academy Awards won by “The Dark Knight” include Best Supporting Actor, posthumously won by Ledger as the Joker, and Best Sound Editing, won by Richard King.
Aside from the Oscars, some of the more notable awards won by “The Dark Knight” include the Golden Globe’s Best Supporting Actor, posthumously won by Ledger, and the Grammy Award for best score soundtrack album, won by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.
The cultural impact left by “The Dark Knight” is something that cannot be ignored. When people watch a new Batman movie or another “Avengers,” they always end up saying the same thing: “It wasn’t as good as ‘The Dark Knight.’” Due to its success, all superhero movies are held to its standard and it is a standard that will probably never be passed.
In fact, when the Academy Awards first announced their nominations for the 81st Academy Awards, many people were in uproar that “The Dark Knight” was not nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. Great superhero films like “The Dark Knight” have pushed the Academy Awards to try to add a new category called Outstanding Popular Film, but that category has since been eliminated.
There are more reasons why “The Dark Knight” is the greatest superhero movie of all time, but to explain them would require a whole other article on the subject.
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