The Dark Knight. Characters. Introducing…The Joker. In Gotham city there is a representation of the typical evil that exists among men. There are the mob bosses like Maroni. Criminals who lack any true complexity; they are lovers of money and lovers of power.
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The Dark Knight
There is no exact origin story given for The Joker in The Dark Knight. Other Batman tales show how he became what he was but Nolan keeps it vague. The Joker himself offers various accounts (“You wanna know how I got these scars?”).
Batman is like his toy, a force of good that strives to heal the world while Joker thrives on the bottled chaos that flows in the subconscious of the civilised human.
It could even be argued that Batman needs The Joker. Not Bruce Wayne, but whenever The Joker is around Batman cannot retire.
Alfred Pennyworth: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
Alfred Pennyworth: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
We all know the story of Batman’s childhood, his saintly parents needlessly murdered. He grows up, never freed from that traumatic experience and seeks to bring justice to those responsible.
Batman’s initial intentions and final results are always pure and aligned with the view of modern law, it is in the middle where he treads a thin line.
Vigilantism is against the law.
But as the stakes get higher so does the need to push the boundaries of means/ends justification.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”