The World According to Joker: The Dark Knight Predicted the Future a Decade Ago

Pop Culture

The World According to Joker: The Dark Knight Predicted the Future a Decade Ago

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

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arvel vs DC is pop culture’s version of India vs Pakistan – two sets of fervent supporters locked in bitter struggle to claim superiority in every aspect, despite being as alike as peas in a pod. But no matter which side of the superhero divide you identify with, there’s an unforgettable performance that unites the fandom in wide-eyed admiration. That film is The Dark Knight, and that performance is Heath Ledger’s once-in-a-generation turn as The Joker.

There’s a reason that The Dark Knight is still a mainstay in the lists of best superhero films of all time, both critically and commercially, as it completes 10 years to its release today. For all the spectacle of the Avengers franchise and the mould-shattering freshness of Wonder Woman, they are offerings that are germane to the moment of their release, to movements and ideas that were trending at the time. But, The Dark Knight has at its core the Joker – a manifestation of pure evil – who poses a threat not by holding up a gun, but by holding up a mirror to reflect humanity’s darkest self. What the Joker embodies is our id, a callback to our earliest impulses, devoid of self-control or rational thought.

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