July 18, 2008. That was the date that started it all, and while one can see the title of this post and wonder what that has to do with anything, allow me to explain.
On that date, The Dark Knight was released in theaters nationwide, and I was anticipating this movie for two reasons. One, Batman is my favorite superhero of all-time, and two, The Joker is my favorite villain of all-time. I love The Joker, but I had severe reservations about the role coming back to life, and that’s because the last time I saw someone play The Joker, it was Jack Nicholson in the 1989 version of Batman. For 19 years, I didn’t think there was a person alive who could touch his role, and it’s safe to say plenty others felt similar.
But then, this happened …
It took one scene and one line from Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker, and I was spooked. Spooked because one, the dude was chilling, two, because he made me believe he was The Joker, and three, because I knew that my vow that no one could touch Jack’s version of The Joker was in serious jeopardy. Well, after leaving the movie theater, I was thoroughly impressed, but not quite ready to change my mind.
Then I went to the theater and watched it again … the very next day.
After that, I went again … the very same week. I watched The Dark Knight three times in a seven-day span, at three different movie theaters and paid ridiculous ticket prices every damn time in doing so. After that, I was done masquerading. Jack Nicholson has done great things and he is one of my favorite actors of all-time, but his role as The Joker was now second-best. Heath Ledger did that, and it is something I have no qualms admitting.