There is one thing that bothered me about the movie, though. Everyone was awestruck by Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker (he apparently won 32 Best Supporting Actor awards for his work in the role). Now, these accolades are deserved; Ledger did a fantastic job portraying the psychotic criminal who brings chaos to Gotham. But no one recognizes Aaron Eckhart and his work as Harvey Dent. To be fair, I can understand why people paid more attention to Ledger than to Eckhart. Heath Ledger had done so much in the way of preparation and getting inside the head of the Joker that he killed himself over it. Eckhart didn’t have that kind of dedication to the character (luckily) but that didn’t detract from his performance.
As Harvey Dent, Eckhart exuded a sense of pride and ambition. Gotham City is his home and he would do whatever it took to clean it up and make it safe. He even goes so far as to partner with a wanted vigilante to obtain his goals. When he is pushed to the edge and becomes Two-Face, you can understand the lengths he goes to bring the guilty to justice. Eckhart brings a notion of believability to the role. When confronted by the Joker in the hospital, he is told introduce some chaos to the mix. But Harvey, as a man of the law, cannot do that simply. He knows that he pledged his life to upholding the law, but he so wants the people who killed his love to pay. So what does he do? He finds his own justice, in the form of his coin.
Harvey Two-Face goes out on a tear, finding the people responsible for killing his fiancé. True to his new form of justice, some of them live and some of them die. By the end of the film, he has Batman and Gordon cornered, pleading for the lives of Gordon’s young son. But they two prevail against the one, and Dent is taken out, but supposedly still alive. So, in terms of the film, where do they go from here?
After The Dark Knight came out, there was talk that Nolan wasn’t finished with the Joker, and that he had planned to include him in the third installment of the series. But after Ledger’s death, I doubt that would happen; Nolan isn’t likely to recast the role after Ledger’s outstanding performance. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Two-Face in the third film. Nolan tied The Dark Knight with Batman Begins with a small cameo by Cillian Murphy reprising his role as Scarecrow. Maybe Nolan can do something like this with Two-Face, but with a larger role. Harvey Dent fell so far from grace in The Dark Knight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has hit the bottom yet. They can take a page from ”Batman: The Animated Series,” with the rehabilitation of Harvey Dent, who will undergo experimental surgery to fix his face. But, the Two-Face personality has such a strong hold on Dent’s psyche that he sets up his own kidnapping and “saves himself.” I’m sure Nolan can write it much better and more compelling than I can, and I certainly would like to see Eckhart reprise his role.
Concerning the other villains in the movie, recently the rumor mill started turning with noise about Johnny Depp and the Riddler and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin. One of those two rumors has since been proven false, but maybe that’s for the best. Perhaps these two characters aren’t the best choice for the third film. These villains have had their time in the films, but maybe it would be better to give some others a chance to shine.
Look at what Nolan did with Batman Begins. The Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul. Two relatively unknown villains given the spotlight, and their inclusion worked. Batman Begins was another well put together Batman movie, and the best of all of them up until The Dark Knight. And I understand that the Joker and Two-Face are two of Batman’s most famous foes, which may have led to The Dark Knight being such a success, but with Batman’s rogues gallery, why not pick someone else?
The one villain I would love to see would be Clayface. Modern computer effects can handle the character with no problem, and his backstory is quite compelling, but I doubt that it would ever happen. It seems like they have been choosing enemies that are reality-based, which explains why the Heath ledger wore makeup instead of having permanent skin discoloration. Clayface, however, is a character based in fantasy, and their suspension of belief would be too much. By this rationale, we can also rule out Killer Croc.
Another bad guy I would like to see would be The Mad Hatter. The idea of mind control would be an interesting subplot, the way Carmine Falcone was handled in Batman Begins. However, The Hatter’s modus operandi is very similar to the Scarecrow's, so much of it may be a rehash.
Maybe they can re-introduce the crime bosses to Gotham. Maxie Zeus and Black Mask would be two perfect characters to bring into this mix. With most of the mob being chased from Gotham, two small time bosses with “a flair for the dramatics” move in with an eye to take things over. The citizens of Gotham get caught in the mix, and they both have the ambition to take down Batman. Throw in Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and you’ve got a three-way war. Black Mask would also be a good foil to Bruce Wayne, and not just the Batman. But again, they’ve done the organized crime things, in both films, and may want to avoid it for the third.
Though I would love to see Harley Quinn on the big screen, it seems unlikely to happen. Without her relationship with the Joker, her character would be far different, and would just seem too different. So unless they do recast the Joker, this one probably won’t happen.
And let’s not forget about Hush. With vendettas against both Batman and Bruce Wayne, it is likely that Hush could hold the entire film himself. Even though Batman hasn’t faced off against only one bad guy since Jack Nicholson, it could certainly be done.
These are just a few of the characters that Batman can face off against in the third film. The Riddler and the Penguin have already had big-screen portrayals in the past, though they weren’t very good. Don’t get me wrong; Christopher Nolan would undoubtedly do justice to these two villains, unlike what was done by Joel Shumacher and Tim Burton. But I would love to see some fresh blood introduced into the Batman films. There are so many good characters that are unknown by the public, and most of them deserve the fame.