There's no doubt about it that today's release of The Dark Knight is sure to be a summertime blockbuster. The movie contains elements essential to all good stories...the presence of a superhero (Batman) who pulls off the impossible in the face of evil, love, action, adventure and suspense.
There's also no doubt that Heath Ledger's appearance in the movie provides additional cachet and added marketing value. With Ledger's performance up for critical acclaim, the question now becomes one of combining tact and decency with a situation at hand that is sure to catapult Ledger to potential iconic status.
I'm not saying that Ledger isn't deserving. He's a fabulous actor and his role in The Dark Knight is sure to win kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But how far can studios go in marketing an actor who died under such tragic circumstances, without seeming as if they're 'using' this fact to sell a better story?
In spite of The Dark Knight's blockbuster potential, it's hard not to ask ourselves whether at least some of the hype is based on the fact that Heath Ledger is no longer with us. Tragedy is at the heart of all dramas, and it's almost impossible to resist seeing the movie just to see what all the hype is about.
Was Hollywood careful enough in trying not to use Ledger's situation as a marketing tool, or is most of the hype based on the reality of Ledger's tragic end? Does the death of an actor almost automatically propel a movie to a higher level? Could you argue that I'm trying to profit from the situation, by mentioning the movie in my blog?