The magic of filmmaking took it to another level for the viewers.
The beauty of having so many superhero movies to choose from is that there's no way to not find an actor who perfectly fits your idea of your favorite character. With so many Batmans, Jokers, and Supermen already cast and filmed, anyone can find a match for their headcanon.
One of the most popular Jokers out there is Heath Ledger's Joker. Featured in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, Ledger managed to capture everything that DC Comics fans love about this iconic character, from his appearance to the creepy manner in which he delivers his lines.
What's even more fascinating about Heath Ledger's Joker is that his co-stars felt the same way audiences did when they first encountered him. No editing, no cutting, no camerawork involved: just meeting Ledger in person was terrifying enough for Michael Caine to forget his own lines.
The actor, who portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the movie, recalled the moment in an interview with LiveAbout:
"He'll frighten the life out of you. He did me the first time I saw him because we did a rehearsal on the first day and we hadn't met or anything. He had to come up in an elevator to our home, Batman's home. <...> When the bloody door opened on that lift, he came tearing out. I forgot every line. Terrifying," Caine said.
Just as the actor praised his co-star's performance in an interview, the critics joined in immediately after the film's release.
Thanks to Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight was not only much more successful than the first film in Nolan's Batman trilogy, Batman Begins, but also the most critically acclaimed of the three.
For Ledger himself, the role of the Joker became a key to universal recognition. His performance earned him several prestigious industry awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
If you want to throw a Batman-themed movie night and rewatch the entire Dark Knight trilogy, all the films are available to stream on Netflix and MAX.