As I’m sure anyone who knows me is well-aware, I was a Batkid.
Now firmly established in the realm of adulthood, I feel some vindication in knowing that the world has reached a general global consensus in acknowledging the truth: Batman is the Coolest Superhero.
Sure, he might not be your favourite (for whatever godforsaken reason), but all must bow to the fact that he is indeed The Coolest.
Batman has become an eternal symbol of cool. Just like leather jackets. And jazz. And smoking. And the Sixties. And smashing glasses of whiskey in fireplaces.
Perhaps in a vain attempt to siphon off some of this cool, Boy Roommate and I decided to watch The Dark Knight.
This led to a debate regarding the live-action Batman franchise(s).
No, not “who is the better Batman.” That debate is so *ahem* riddled with subjectivity as to render it moot and headache-inducing. (And not to mention frankly quite childish.)*
No. The debate was over Who is the Better Joker.
I was champion of the Heath Ledger Camp. Boy Roommate championed Team Jack Nicholson.**
It kind of went like this:
“Come on, he won an Oscar!”
“Only because it was posthumous!”
“But he was so AMAZING.”
“But it’s JACK. NICHOLSON.”
“I think we need to accept that it’s just two different styles of movie. Two completely different Gothams. Two completely different Jokers.”
“Right. Agree to disagree.”
“Okay.” Long Pause. “But you know I’m right.”
“This is going to be our Ship of Theseus argument all over again, isn’t it?”
This needed to be settled.
The next day, I ventured to the HMV downtown where I succumbed to the sweltering heat of triumph at finding four Batman movies for ten dollars. (From the first Tim Burton one through to that crap with George Clooney I’m going to pretend never existed.)
That evening, we watched Jack Nicholson do his thing.
Neither opinion was swayed. If anything, opinions were only reinforced.
We agreed to disagree. Again.
Tensions were still high.
So the other night, we decided to watch the original. That’s right: Batman: The Movie. From the automatically cool year 1966.
Also, the way its subtitle so proudly claims itself to be The Movie does seem rather definitive.
And this brought another Joker into the mix. Cesar Romero.
Okay, so The Joker stands out the least of all the villains in this film. The Penguin is the mastermind, Catwoman spends a lot of time trying to seduce Bruce Wayne, and The Riddler just minces around being awesome in his lavender cummerbund.
But, but, but.
You can see his moustache underneath his white makeup!
Game. Set. Match.
*Irony. Obvs. Everyone knows Michael Keaton is the best Batman.
**I posited this question to Dad and he responded with “Heath Ledger, DUH!” But, to be fair, Dad loves Heath Ledger in a way that’s a little worrisome. A Knight’s Tale is his favourite movie; he owns it on DVD but it was still his first Bluray purchase. After Heath’s death, my sister and I had a troubled phone call over who would break the news to our father. Dad also loves anything Batman, so, to him, The Joker combined with Heath Ledger is perhaps the single greatest feat of the performing arts.