Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bat-Mania update: Heath Ledger Died Edition

I didn't really know Heath Ledger was famous until yesterday. "Brokeback Mountain" the cultural phenomenon was far bigger than he or Jake Gyllenhal, though in Western society today that's all it takes for the press to exercise their parasitic version of mourning.

No one is in more mourning than Batman fans, and the taint of this unfortunate death will be on everything having to do with the current iteration of movies. No one will see this next film without knowing they are looking at a dead man. Somewhere on the 40th floor, an executive licks his lips. Tragic, yes, but you can't buy advertising like THIS.

SEE the very last performance of Heath Ledger on the big screen! LISTEN to nerds speculate that his performance as The Joker was so intense, it drove him to the brink! REVEL in the irony that in playing a dark, "edgy" version of the character, he he has achieved the ultimate perverse fanboy street cred, last seen when Brandon Lee died on the set of "The Crow"...sick, no?

Now no one gets to play The Joker for more than one film. Either the character dies, or the actor does. Weird precedent. What does Jack Nicholson's cryptic reaction tell us? That's he's simply a glib bastard, and wants to imply that his Joker was so perfect, any new actor taking over the role had a quasi-literal death wish?

To my knowledge, Joker doesn't die at the end of the next film. This was always highly unlikely since a) the Nolan films are trying to distinguish themselves from the Burton ones as much as possible, and b) if the character was popular it would only make sense to include him in the third film.

Well he's dead now, and he's left Two-Face in charge. Probably for the better, as a serious incarnation of Two-Face could carry a whole film on his own. Leger's Joker will most likely disappear, sent to jail, and mentioned only in passing in the inevitable next sequel. The stench of death is already upon it, in pre-pre-pre-production.

Ugliness abounds. Genuine grief, paparazzi "grief," displaced fanboy grief for "The Joker," and an instant cult of legend for a performance which hasn't even been seen yet.

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