The New JokerIf you’re a movie buff like myself, and you haven’t been living underground for the past couple of months then I’m sure you’ve been following the hype and headlines surrounding the highly anticipated sequel to Batman Begins. In the first film Chris Nolan brought a very welcome fresh and gritty style to the Batman franchise, darker and certainly more realistically violent, Batman Begins was as much for young kids as it was for adults and long standing worshipers of the Batman history.

According to Nolan, The Dark Knight is less an over the top “comic film” and really more of an intense character study of Batman and the crazy clown prince. The Joker is the one really catching all the limelight, and Ledger’s performance seems to be the only thing fans are concerned with. Hey, I’m right there with them. I have seen all the pictures of Heath, dressed to kill, literally. The Joker certainly looks more frightening this time around then Nicholson did when he wore the white face and red lips.

The Joker with a knifeThere is another rumor floating around the web that could be very interesting. I have heard that The Dark Knight is cruising for an R rating. Which seems impossible because it would eliminate such a vast portion of the possible viewing audience that I can’t believe its true. Without even a trailer for TDK, how can anyone presume to know anything about its potential rating?

Several key players involved in the film from Michael Cain and Garry Oldman to director Chris Nolan have spoken out about The Joker and Ledger’s rendition of the part. All of them praised Heath on the performance but also warned audiences “He will scare the crap out of you” Oldman said that Ledger will be remembered forever for this role and will set a new tone for the portrayal of comic villains. Michael Cain described The Joker as “not only frightening, but genuinely terrifying, not exactly for young kids”.

When I think back on the Tim Burton version of Batman I’m filled with a lot of nostalgia and glee. It reminds me of being young and excited about heroes, villains, and all the comic book mumbo jumbo. I just don’t think kids feel that way anymore, or at least it isn’t as innocent. I am very pumped about the idea of an R rated Batman movie but something says to me, wow, that kind of sucks if Batman is no longer for kids.

If the Joker ends up being a comic version of Hannibal Lector that’ll be sweat and scary and the whole nine yards. I’m down to be freaked out. All I’m saying is that there is going to be a lot of sad 10 & 11 year old boys standing around wondering how the caped crusader passed them by. I guess that’s just the evolution of Hollywood, and their constant need to separate audiences into individual economic brackets. Nevertheless, I’ll be watching The Dark Knight; lets just hope it lives up to the hype. The Joker has got an awful lot riding on his nasty little shoulders.