Joker falling off a building

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by RoJoHen, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I admit that I am not super familiar with the comics. Most of my superhero knowledge comes from movies, cartoons, and video games.

    There is one thing I've noticed, though, that I was wondering about. Why is Joker always falling off of buildings?

    In Michael Keaton's Batman movie, Joker falls off a building to his death, and we hear him laughing.

    In The Dark Knight, Joker falls off a building, and it would have been to his death had Batman not saved him.

    I've been playing the new game Arkham Origins, and there's a scene where Joker falls off a building, and once again Batman saves him.

    It seems to be a recurring theme, and I was wondering if all of these scenes were paying an homage to something from the comics.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It's a metaphor for the Joker's descent into madness.


    Yes, I pulled that out of my ass. But it works!
     
  3. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    In Batman: Dead End, he gets pulled up a building.
     
  4. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    In the end of the "Death of the Family" arc in the New 52 doesn't he fall down a cliff/sewer tunnel in Gotham's surprisingly cavernous sewers?
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Falling is a standard form of villain death in comics, movies, etc. It's notably common in Disney movies as a way of dispatching villains, because it's discreet; the death is not actually shown, so it can be suitable for kids, but it's still left pretty clear that the villain won't be coming back. TV Tropes actually calls this the Disney Villain Death. (See also the end of Superman II.) It can also be a handy way of killing off a character without the heroes getting blood on their hands (often the hero tries to save the villain but fails). But it's ambiguous enough that it's also suitable for a character like the Joker, who's constantly seeming to die and then turning up alive in later stories. Other such characters, like Ernst Stavro Blofeld and MacGyver's serial-killer nemesis Murdoc, have been known to fall to their "deaths" on occasion. As long as their death is unseen and no body is found, it leaves a door open. And since the Joker is pretty much the champion of fakeout deaths, he tends to fall off things a lot.
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The falling motif was probably established in the comics.

    From the Wikipedia article about The Joker:
    That comic has been reprinted a few times in collections, so you can probably find it somewhere.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Heck, the very first criminal Batman ever faced in the comics fell into a vat of chemicals and died. And that was surely a trope that was already common in the pulp literature that Batman was inspired by.
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I guess it's just something I've noticed with Joker more than other villains (though I am familiar with Disney's use of it). When I saw Heath Ledger's Joker fall off the building at the end of TDK, I instantly thought of his death scene from the 1989 Batman movie. I figured it was nod to that film. But now I've seen Joker pull the "falling off of buildings" thing several times, and I was just wondering if there was some iconic comic book scene that was being referenced.
     
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I don't think it's particularly specific to the Joker. Like Christopher said, it's just a dramatic way to dispose of a villain, especially if you think you might want to bring him back someday.

    Heck, the trope dates back to at least Professor Moriarity, whom, you'll recall, plummeted to his doom from the Reichenbach Falls in the original Sherlock Holmes stories . . . .
     
  10. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Well, sure, I never said that falling off of buildings was a Joker-only thing, just that he seems to do it a lot. It's a scene that I keep see being repeated with that particular character, so I was just wondering why that might be (because I don't see it happen with any other Batman villains).
     
  11. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Batman turned off the flashlight. ;)
     
  12. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always just assumed he was accident prone.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, it's not an homage to a specific scene, as far as I know. Maybe it's just that it's a particularly "villain-worthy," dramatic fate, and the Joker is Batman's chief villain, not to mention one who seemingly dies a lot, more than most in Batman's rogues' gallery.

    Although the mortality rate in the movies is a whole lot higher. Didn't Two-Face fall to his death in Batman Forever? Heck, come to think of it, Burton's Selina Kyle fell to her death before she became Catwoman.

    I think a case can be made that the most prolific killer in cinematic history is the Earth's gravitational field.
     
  14. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Hell, Two-Face fell to his death in The Dark Knight!
     
  15. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Do you think anyone will prosecute? I'm pretty sure we have enough evidence for an indictment.
     
  16. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    FWIW, I took the Dark Knight's scene to be a reference to the original Batman movie scene (hence why it was subverted by having the Joker survive). Video games, likewise, could be the same.
     
  17. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The best (as in most dramatic) high fall death I've ever seen was performed by Dar Robinson in the Burt Reynolds film Stick. He appears throughout the film as a bad guy, and it's even more shocking when you him fall from a railing screaming, firing all his bullets at Burt, and there's obviously no airbag under him. No blue screen either.

    Here's the scene. May be NSFW due to language.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiKy3ktxw6M[/yt]

    If embed fails: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiKy3ktxw6M
     
  18. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    And that could be it. Maybe the 1989 Batman scene is what is being referenced rather than a comic book scene.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But how could we imprison it? Failing the invention of Cavorite, nothing can block gravity.


    That seems profoundly unlikely to me. Falling is such a generic movie-villain death that it's not a distinctive enough similarity to suggest a connection. If it were, say, two scenes of the Joker being shot with a harpoon gun by a trained seal, then that would be distinctive enough that one would probably be an homage to the other. But falling? That's just too commonplace. It's like saying that two scenes of the Joker laughing are referencing each other.


    I remember that. I never saw the movie, but the stunt itself was big news. As I recall, it was a pioneering use of the descender system, a wire mechanism that allowed a stunt performer to fall freely until shortly before reaching the ground when they were quickly decelerated. The same mechanism was used for Kirk's fall off El Capitan in Star Trek V; the credits of that film actually boast that it was the longest descender fall in history up to that point.
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Batman and his villains also seem to spend a lot of time on rooftops and upper floors of buildings, so it makes sense that people would fall off of them a lot.