Is the Joker the Hero of THE DARK KNIGHT?

Look at us. We’re turning to Reddit for a source of content now. Then again, it’s Saturday, and we webmasters always get lazier at the weekends (plus other places are covering it).

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Even though it’s Reddit, some good stuff can come out of there when it’s not riddled with MRA’s or churning out yet another government conspiracy. Said good stuff tends to be awesome fan theories, and this time it’s all about The Dark Knight. Some fans believe that movie is so good that it transcends the superhero genre (it doesn’t) due to its well-written script and complex plot which has been the topic of a million different debates since 2008. The Joker has been subject to plenty of analysis during said debates, but this new one could flip the entire movie on its head.

Is the Joker actually the good guy?

This comes from user generalzee on the /r/FanTheories subreddit; the post has 2,907 points as of now, with 91% of those being ‘upvotes’, as well as receiving two cases of Reddit Gold – I’m not entirely sure what that does. Regardless, it’s a pretty popular theory, gaining the type of traction that should cement it in the hall of fame for a few years to come. Take a look at the gist of it…

Joker, although a lying psychopath, is actually the hero in The Dark Knight. Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit (Okay, special armor and carbon fiber, but they don’t know that).

Along comes the Joker and by the end of a very short time, almost all organized crime was eliminated, many corrupt officials were imprisoned or dead, and the city’s Vigilante even went into hiding for 8 years. This was all part of Joker’s masterfully executed plan.

Check out the rest of the theory here. I mean, the general has a point.

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I don’t think Nolan wrote the movie with this in mind; sure, he didn’t make the Joker straight-up evil but I thought the whole anarchy thing was fairly well-presented. This is just a testament to how great the script is – not every film can be flipped on its head and still make the same amount of sense. It’s moreso the definition of ‘hero’ that I take issue with. It might just be semantics for some but the Joker is most certainly not a hero.

To be a hero you have to put others before yourself and actually protect people. The Joker is a psychopathic and sadistic murderer who thrives on chaos and insanity; Batman does save people and does put others before himself. Even if this reading is correct he still had to murder dozens of innocents and cause untold destruction for the ‘greater good,’ putting him in an even more morally grey light than the vigilante. That doesn’t mean this theory isn’t brilliant, of course.

The rest of it elaborates further and goes through the plot step-by-step and I’d highly recommend giving it a read. Not everybody can churn out a movie like The Dark Knight and have it produce analysis like this but it would be great if more people studied and learned enough about story craft so that we could have a few more of ’em. Do you think the Joker was really the hero, and Batman’s just a huge dick? Sound off.

Author
I have been reborn amidst salt and smoke to lead UTF against the darkness. I'm also an amateur writer and filmmaker as well as having played the 16th Doctor and invented penicillin. Also, deceased.