It goes without saying that this says MUCH more about the cinematic habits and discernment of the average movie-goer than it does about Ledger's performance. I mean, really now. Need I remind you that THIS scene from Deep Blue Sea (1999) also occurred within in the last 21 years...
If you have seen both films, there is no way you remember the Joker's entrance in The Dark Knight MORE than you remember Samuel L. Jackson suddenly getting eaten by a shark in Deep Blue Sea in mid-sentence during a Standard Rousing Bad-Ass Speech.
It also says a lot about how Fanboys Be Representing when such things arise, since their are a lot more Batman/ Joker/ Dark Knight fanfolk than there are DeepBlueSea-fanatics. ARE there Deep Blue Sea Fanatics? I'm not sure I want to know.
And it says a lot about people's ability or willingness to follow instructions; clearly, people voted based on whether they LIKED a moment, not how memorable it was.
Heck, Ledger's entrance as The Joker in The Dark Knight wasn't even as memorable as the one it was based on: Cesar Romero's first entrance as The Joker on Batman'66:
The difference, as Megamind would say, is presentation. NOBODY makes an entrance like Cesar Romero's Joker.
Now, THAT is an entrance. No bus driver required.
I know that many people revere Ledger's performance as The Joker but for most part it seems like boilerplate adoration, without much critical analysis. Look, Ledger certainly did a better job than anyone had a right to expect, especially since much of his past movie work wasn't all that... deep. Hat's off to him for proving that he was more than just a pretty face while he was with us.
|Very pretty, in fact.|
But Ledger's Joker, while admittedly intense, was also clearly ... not genuine. There was little sense that this was an actual crazy person or an evil genius with a wicked sense of humor. Ledger's Joker was an act, a put-on, a disillusioned man putting on a crazy act to convince others, and himself, that he didn't care about anything. But he did care; he was a nihilistic ideologue DESPERATE to prove his point to others, and painfully needy. He didn't leave chaos in his wake; everything he did was painstakingly choreographed. He seemed like a sad clown, eager for approval by the audience; a tough guy, eager to show much he didn't care; a tragically realistic man, eager to come off as a lunatic. Ledger's Joker was... just a terrorist. Because I guess that's what scares current-day audiences.
The script is to blame, of course, but Ledger didn't help. Most viewers were just impressed that Ledger's Joker seemed menacing, because the Joker can seem pretty silly and nonthreatening if done wrong. And Ledger's Joker was menacing... because both the character and the actor were obviously working really hard to MENACE. The Joker shouldn't work hard at being menacing, he shouldn't have to try to seem crazy, and he shouldn't really care what you think. I can't believe I saying this (because I didn't like Jack Nicholson's Joker all that much) but... Jack Nicholson got all of that. Nicholson's Joker had no idea anything was wrong with him, had fun during his schemes, and certainly didn't care whether you got the joke or agreed with his worldview.
|And, as you can see, he's a lot happier.|
Cesar Romero's Joker never tried to seem threatening... but was deadly all the same; that was part of the point of his performance. His Joker actually just thought it was really funny to feed you to a giant clam.
Ledger's neurotic tics and slimy speech patterns were clearly affectations of both the actor and the character, suitable more to that homeless guy you avoid in the park than Batman's archenemy. To top it all off... Ledger couldn't laugh. There are thousands of people in the world who can do a Joker laugh; why can't Hollywood ever find someone who can?
|Even THAT guy could probably do a better job at it!|