Trailer Blazer: 'The Dark Knight'

Darkknight_lFinally, here it is, the long-awaited official first glimpse — in motion, anyway — of Heath Ledger as the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker.

And, you know what? I feel a little let down. The problem is, there’s no real wiggle room when it comes to interpreting this character. Everyone who’s ever played him — from Cesar Romero back in the ’60s, to Jack Nicholson (who probably delivered the definitive performance) to Mark Hamill on the Batman animated series — has had to blend mania and hysteria, and top it with a plummy renegade cackle.

Which is exactly what Ledger is doing. Sure, he looks different — that makeup does go a long way towards making him look genuinely scary, as opposed to harlequin silly — and the film seems to be treating him differently, with more heft, than in the past. But that’s the job: play this dude like a force of pathological nature.

My favorite shot of the whole thing? It comes early on, with Batman standing atop a skyscraper at dusk, surveying his city. He just looks so…small. The comics offer that image all the time, and he always appears larger than life, as if his wingspan was wide enough to envelop all of Gotham. But here, you really get the Herculean nature of the task Bruce Wayne has set before him. He’s just one man. And it’s a big city.

And, all of that said, I still can’t wait for July.

(But the Bat-cycle — sorry — isn’t all that.)

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • tuppy

    That looks really hot. If I didn’t know it was Heath Ledger, I’d have no idea it was Heath Ledger. And I think the difference is that these characters are now determinedly NOT cartoonish as they have been in the past (circa Jim Carrey, Val Kilmer, Chris O’Donnell, etc.) — Ledger’s Joker IS distinct in that he seems strangely human; we finally wonder what MADE this person what he is, rather than taking him at face value as just-another-villain.

  • TekChick

    I agree totally. If I didnt know for sure, I would never say it was heath ledger. And how odd, that he can do that! you have to wonder how he auditioned for the casting call to see Joker instead of pretty-boy Ledger… I think it makes him scarier, and I so very much appreciate the seriousness of these films. Im under 18 and I grew up on every incarnation of Batman, and I found the cartoon to be the most serious of them all! Im glad someone can finally make Batman – the most worldly possible superhero – in a worldly, logical light. The badguys just have to come with it.
    *cant wait*
    *cant wait*
    *cant wait*
    (and yes, the bat-cycle is disappointing.)

  • Kathleen

    I can’t wait. I just cannot wait. Until May, anytime someone mentions anything bat-realated I will do the pee-pee dance. And speaking of – if anyone has read the plot synopsis for the 02/21 episode of Smallville . . . dare I hope?

  • Arlo J. Wiley

    Dude. You were really let down by this?
    When I went to see I Am Legend, the Dark Knight trailer was attached. The cheesy Will Smith flick I could’ve lived without, but this trailer alone was worth the price of admission.

  • Em

    The bat-cycle is LAME! Seriously, I laughed when I saw it. I am looking forward to the movie, however.

  • Tamara

    Oh man. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to love Heath Ledger more than I did after Brokeback Mountain, but this? The man is amazing. Talk about disappearing into a role (as others have said). I cannnnnnot wait, either!

  • tyler

    No, Mark Hamill is definetly the definitive Joker.

  • miklane

    Let down? Seriously? I wasn’t excited about this film until I saw the trailer. It looks great!

  • Sadie

    Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale are the best things to happen to the Batman franchise. I’m so excited about this movie!

  • professor74

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I believe the movie comes out July 18th. This movie will be awesome. We haven’t even seen any hint of two-face yet, either!

  • Ep Sato

    Sadie put it best. Why sweat whether or not this movie’s going to be good? Christian Bale’s Crazy azz was born to play Batman (or maybe Neo, if his awesome stint in the Equilibrium movie demonstrated), and Nolan’s got two nutguards earned between Memento and the first Batman movie he made.
    If anyone has ever deserved a free pass before the reviews come out, it’s this crew. They made Batman fun and human again, something lost with all this desire to make him “larger than life”. He wasn’t larger than life in the old 1940’s strips, he was a great detective who know some serious judo! That’s what I want out of Batman, not a rehashing of the Joel Schumacker and 1960’s camp, and none of that Tim Burton overgrown little kid who used too many mushrooms while a total geek in high school miniature penguins who blow up the city crap!

  • Phil

    The preview intrigued me. Bale does a great Batman, and as everyone else has said, Heath Ledger is completely unrecognizable as The Joker. Maggie Gyl. completely replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, I mean, they made Maggie look like her twin sis, and yes, not one itty bitty shot of Harvey Dent or Two-Face yet!! Thank God for keeping some things Waiting for the next 8 months, when we will see this preview ad nausem! Now if only they’d get around to casting this damn JUSTICE LEAGUE MOVIE….

  • Allison

    OMG I LOVED LOVED LOVED this trailer!!!! I saw it before I am Legend! I almost peed myself. I”m totally pumped.

  • T-Rex

    Anytime an actor is upstaged by the cartoon version of his character, it is a bad sign. This flick’s going to make a ton of money but I remain unconvinced by Heath.

  • Jane

    Hmm. The Joker as a slovenly, emo psychotic. No thanks. I think I’ll pass. Give me Jack Nicholson’s witty, dapper Joker anyday.

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