This is a new series of blogs where we discuss about videos on film analysis.

We have seen a lot of villains come and go. There can be those who want to rule the world, those who want to take revenge on the world, and then those who just want to watch the world burn. What makes Joker one of the most unforgettable villains in the recent past?

The Joker is in the back seat of a police car, with his head outside the window.

Heath Ledger as Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’.

Michael Tucker is a filmmaker, who is more famously known as the creator of “Lessons From the Screenplay”. In this video essay, he explains why Joker maybe the perfect antagonist to Christopher Nolan’s Batman.

To make the points about the film, Michael Tucker references two books, they are ‘Story’ by Robert McKee and ‘The Anatomy of a Story’ by John Truby.

Here’s a summary of the video –

1) A protagonist and his/her story can only be as intellectually fascinating and emotinally compelling as the forces of antagonism make them.

  • The more powerful the antagonist, the harder the struggle for the hero. The harder the struggle, the more compelling the story.

2) How to make a villain powerful? Create an opponent who is exceptionally good at attacking the hero’s greatest weakness.

  • Most of Batman’s power comes from his strength, Joker uses his strength as a weakness, because he is not afraid of death. In fact, he wants Batman to kill him.

3) True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation and the truer the choice is to the character’s essential nature.

  • Throughout the film, the Joker forces Batman into choices that reveal who or what he cares about. E.g) The scene where he chooses to go and save Rachel when both Rachel and Harvey have been kidnapped by Joker.

4) How do you know your antagonist is the right one? It is only by competing for the same goal that the hero and the opponent are forced to come into direct conflict and to do so again and again throughout the story.

  • Both Batman and Joker have their own visions of what they want Gotham to be. Batman wants order a Gotham without crime, Joker wants to upset the establishment and create chaos.

To conclude, that’s what makes the Joker such a formidable villain. If you loved this, you should check out our blog post on the rules of editing a film.