When you become a parent, you stumble into a whole universe of new, stressful questions that have simply never crossed your mind before: Where do you send you child to school? Should we vaccinate? And, most pervasive, who’s better: Heath Ledger’s Joker, or my daughter?
Both my daughter and Heath Ledger’s Joker have their obvious plusses: on the one hand, Sophie is my flesh and blood. She’s my 3-year-old girl, full of light, life and innocence, and is of course very dear to me. On the other hand, Heath Ledger’s unhinged portrayal of the clown prince of crime is a classic of cinema villainy, capturing the tortured essence of Batman’s arch-nemesis so perfectly that it is said to have driven the young actor to an early grave. It’s a decision tough enough to have been devised by Two-Face himself, the secondary villain from The Dark Knight, a.k.a. the movie with the Heath Ledger Joker!
It is also worth considering that Heath Ledger’s Joker has only asked of me the $30 or so I spent on the movie ticket to see The Dark Knight in theaters twice–plus $20 here and there on various Heath Ledger Joker posters, t-shirts, and premium collector’s statuettes– whereas my daughter will require approximately $250,000 of my money through the time she is eighteen, and that’s not counting college. When it comes to raising a child, I sure could use a big pyramid of money like the one The Joker (as played by Heath Ledger) sets ablaze in that famous scene from The Dark Knight! I loved how all the mob guys couldn’t believe that he did that.
I’m not an idiot. Even though Heath Ledger’s Joker did make me cry at the end of The Dark Knight when he talks to Batman about how they’re two sides of the same coin (classic scene), Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker will never be able to unconditionally love me the way that Sophie does. As I watch Sophie grow and mature into a young woman, the Heath Ledger Joker will always stay the same, his Blu-Ray resting comfortably on the shelf between my copies of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, which should have also had the Heath Ledger Joker in it but Heath Ledger died.
I don’t know how to answer a question like “who’s better, the Heath Ledger Joker or my daughter.” The only truth is that things change. Sophie will already be off to Kindgergarten at the end of this summer, just after the release of Suicide Squad in theaters– and with that movie, a whole new Joker to compare my daughter to.