There’ve been many cinematic iterations of the Joker, including Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, but a fan-made video essay on The Dark Knight explains why Heath Ledger’s iteration is the perfect villain for Batman.
Citing storytelling tips from the books Story by Robert McKee and John Truby’s Anatomy of a Story, YouTube series Lessons From the Screenplay analyzes various moments from the Christopher Nolan film. In essence, the video argues Joker is proficient at attacking Batman’s greatest weakness, pressuring him into difficult choices, and striving towards the same goal as the Caped Crusader: the soul of Gotham City.
For better or worse, The Dark Knight and Ledger’s performance still cast shadows over the new Justice League-centric movie line-up. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both earned the ire of critics, while taking hits at the box office.
The video also takes note of these films, including Man of Steel and Suicide Squad: Global stakes and the presence of the Joker alone aren’t enough to make a proper villain. Ledger’s take is unique in that his fight becomes personal and the stakes are real.
Watch the full video essay above.