Joker's Plan In 'The Dark Knight' Actually Makes Sense

Does he really look like a guy with a plan?
Joker's Plan In 'The Dark Knight' Actually Makes Sense

We asked readers to name the most overrated superhero movie. Randall F. noted several problems with The Dark Knight: “bad CGI,” “the Joker isn’t very funny,” and the way he guessed Harvey Dent was going to turn into Two-Face (having already watched Batman: The Animated Series). 

He wasn't being so serious, so let's instead address a different nitpick we've heard about the movie: the way that Joker, despite claiming to have no plan, has a very convoluted plan indeed. We're talking about the middle of the film, the part where he chases Harvey Dent, gets caught, goes to jail, puts Harvey in a deathtrap anyway, escapes, then blows up the station from the inside because this was all a part of his scheme. To carry all this out, things had to go perfectly, and he had to depend on a bunch of things he couldn't have predicted, as well as some things he tried actively to prevent.

So say some people, anyway. When we really break down the plot, however, we see that his plan isn't so complicated after all. It's still supervillain levels of complicated, sure, but no more than that. And far from going off without a hitch, it goes totally off the rails. 

At the start of this day, Joker wants two things. He wants to break Hong Kong guy Lau out of jail to retrieve the mob's money. And he wants to screw with the guy who went after Lau and the money, Harvey Dent. Joker also suspects at this point that Dent is Batman, since the Bat appeared during Harvey's absence from his fundraiser the other night, right in time to so passionately protect fiancée Rachel. 

To break out Lau, Joker sews a bomb into a goon's stomach. He'll get the goon apprehended (and past security, with some help from corrupt cops), then detonate the bomb remotely so he can storm the police station. To mess with Harvey, he instructs his goons to abduct Harvey and Rachel, strapping them to explosives in different locations, and giving each a mic and a speaker.

We don't know what he plans next for Harvey and Rachel. But we have a pretty good guess, because he'll later pull a very similar stunt, strapping explosives to two ferries. Perhaps here too, he'll give each party the choice to blow up the other (by announcing their choice into the mic), and if neither chooses before the timer winds down, both will die. The whole scheme will either break Harvey or kill him. Either outcome would be pretty funny, figures Joker. 

Things don't go as planned. Despite Harvey announcing that he's Batman, he's actually not Batman, and thanks to the actual Batman, Joker finds himself in police custody. His minions do abduct Harvey and Rachel, but Joker's not free to MC the proceedings. So, instead of whatever he prepared for the couple, he now uses them as bait to get rid of Batman, sending him off to rescue one of them. This isn't a very good gag compared to his original plan, since the GCPD could just radio whoever's close by and so reach both victims while Batman stays put, but Joker's improvising here.

Also thanks to being in custody, Joker can no longer detonate the phone bomb in that goon's stomach. But having got rid of Batman, he now gets out of the cell, demands a phone call, and uses this phone to detonate the bomb after all. Afterward, an anguished Gordon says, "The Joker planned to be caught, he wanted me to lock him up," but getting locked up didn't further Joker's plan. It impeded his plan. He then just went with the flow and made it work anyway.

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To break down this nutty plot more, check out:

Heath Ledger's Joker Was Probably a Soldier

6 Supporting Characters That Deserve Their Own Movie

The Police Totally Should Know Who Batman Is at the Beginning of The Dark Knight Rises

Top image: Warner Bros.

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 


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