Suicide Squad is bringing a new version of The Joker to the big screen for the first time since 2008's The Dark Knight. It will have been 8 years since Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance as the clown prince of crime. And people still can't stop talking about the actor's contribution to the comic book genre. Will Jared Leto be able to live up to the legacy? Maybe. But it's debatable wether or not fans will still be talking about him in 2024 as passionately as fans still talk about Heath Ledger in 2015. And a new fan theory has arrived to help push the point home.
This essay points to The Joker being the hero at the heart of The Dark Knight. And despite all the death and mayhem caused by The Joker, the author seems to have some evidence to back this up. Christopher Nolan is credited with creating the The Godfather of comic book movies with The Dark Knight. And it's such a thick work of fiction, that people are still pulling it apart, deconstructing it, and studying it almost a decade later. And at the heart of the beast rests Heath Ledger's mesmerizing performance.
The actor's chilling work diary, which he kept while shooting The Dark Knight, recently surfaced in a documentary about the late Oscar winner. It provides a glimpse inside the mind of a madman, and helps us better understand Heath Ledger's mindset while playing the iconic DC Comics villain. He seems to have taken the art of 'method acting' to lengths we're not sure even Jared Leto was prepared to explore.
Reddit user GeneralZee is the one making the new case, that The Joker is a hero. He has a quite lengthy and interact thesis on why he thinks this is the case. His belief is that The Joker was 'misconstrued'. He also positions that The Joker was working as an undercover hero. Here, he explains his thoughts on the matter.
Joker, although a lying psychopath, is actually the hero in The Dark Knight. Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit (Okay, special armor and carbon fiber, but they don't know that). Along comes the Joker and by the end of a very short time, almost all organized crime was eliminated, many corrupt officials were imprisoned or dead, and the city's Vigilante even went into hiding for 8 years. This was all part of Joker's masterfully executed plan."
You can read the entire think piece here. But don't blame us if you fall deep into this rabbit hole. The part of the thesis we shared with you only begins to scratch at the surface of this idea. That the Joker is an undercover hero. GeneralZee goes onto claim that Batman is revealed as the true villain. The Dark Knight broke his own code when he allowed Harvey Dent to die. The only out for Bruce Wayne was to completely disappear for eight years.
The essay goes onto claim that The Joker manipulated Batman into killing Dent, which was all part of the plan to eradicate the Dark Knight from Gotham City. It also surmises that the Joker was pulling Harvey Dent's strings. Though, the claim is that the Joker didn't mean for 2-Face to get hurt. It did, however, help get all the meddlers out of the picture. Once you reach the end of this stated proposal, you might think, even for yourself, that The Joker is benevolent. Perhaps even the sanest individual out of all the major players in Gotham City. When he robbed that bank, he knew it was mafia-owned. He even helped rid Gotham of its corrupt cops. And the cherry on top is that he put an end to the vigilante career of a billionaire who had grown wildly out of control.
Heath Ledger's iconic 'clapping' scene is the crux of this entire argument. GeneralZee theorizes that while many see Joker's claps towards Commissioner Gordon as sarcastic, he was actually giving the former detective praise. As The Joker believes Gordon is one of the few officers on the Gotham force 'who is truly incorruptible'. It is believed that The Joker is showing respect with his clapping. Maybe that's going too far?
This certainly isn't the first fan theory on how The Joker fits into Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight universe. And it's not a stretch to see things from his point of view. In Heath Ledger's mind, The Joker was the good guy. And Suicide Squad is positioning its super villains as anti-heroes. The main thrust is on them, so we'll have to be rooting for their awful ways. Still, if Heath Ledger had of turned in a mediocre performance, there is no way fans would still be talking about it today. Now, the ball is in Jared Leto's court. Will he garner the same kind of attention? Just looking at those gold capped teeth and those Hot Topic tattoos, some believe not.