While I'm on the subject of Batman-

After my initial negative feelings towards the film yesterday, today I kept wondering if I was being too hard on it, and having second thoughts about my 'review' of Heath Ledger's performance.

Then I had a sudden realization - what I was doing was what all those die-hard Star Wars fans had done right after Revenge of the Sith - I was talking myself into liking the film more than I did. I was rewriting my memories so that the Joker had been incredible, rather than awful. Ledger was quickly fading away (not a surprise, given how much he underplayed it), and being replaced with an imagined version of a better performance by another actor. Adrien Brody or Guy Pearce or perhaps even Johnny Depp. Someone who could have brought the Joker's madness to life the way it deserved to be, rather than the mumbly mess we got. Seriously, I can now close my eyes and picture a great scene between the Joker and Kieth Szarbajaka (I hope that's how it's spelled), rather than a bad one - and it's entirely the bad 'homeless child molester' Joker portrayal that ruined the moment.

Last year there was a Joker performance that was spot-on perfect, the absolute best version of the Joker I've ever seen. Oddly, it wasn't in a Batman-related franchise. Just as Robocop is the best Judge Dredd movie ever made, John Simm's performance as the Master in the last two episodes of Doctor Who season 3 is the best Joker performance ever. It's all there - the the sudden switches from affability to violence, the brilliantly evil scheming, the utter, overwhelming glee that he brings to the mayhem he causes. Yes, he wanted more concrete power and control than the Joker ever would, but it's not the plot that the similarities lie in, it's the performance. Everything about the Master, his upbeat attitude, his theatricalilty, the fact that he kept his arch-nemesis in a cage for a year... it's all the Joker, and a fantastic Joker at that.

It's just too bad that apparently no one over at camp Dark Knight didn't see it. They could have been inspired to greatness. Or they could have cast John Simm as the Joker. Maybe a controversial choice, but it's not like he could have done a worse job than Heath Ledger did.

P.S. - and this has nothing to do with the whole Dark Knight thing, but I'd like to go on record right now as suggesting that they do a full re-teaming of The Prestige for next time around, and cast Hugh Jackman as a bat-villain. Hopefull Deadshot, but Cain would work in a pinch (although I don't have enough faith in Nolan's ability to shoot a fight scene for the kind of action Cain would suggest). Yeah, they're third-string villains, but there's really nobody in the first and second strings that Jackman would be good casting for.

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