Bill Finger and Bob Cane created batman in 1939. The character developed a cult following shortly after. The Batman franchise is a classic for many reasons, like its gut-wrenching and horrifying villains. Out of the many Batman villains, one is significantly more memorable.
Joker has been depicted in movies for many decades. It is one of the few characters that has permeated pop culture in this capacity. Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, and Heath ledger are some actors that have brought the iconic character to life.
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In 2019, Todd Phillip gave the world the origin story of the iconic supervillain. The film was a mega success and Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Joker earned him the Oscar that year. The teaser for the sequel was posted on social media after the Warner Bros studio confirmed the film’s release in 2024.
As we wait for the next chapter of the iconic Joker franchise, here are some key moments from the iconic first movie to reminisce.
A Man Pushed to His Limits
The first film is subtle but powerful as there is an excellent use of irony throughout the movie. The director carefully draws out parallels between harsh reality and privilege. We see the broken and depressed man Arthur Fleck is even though he makes people laugh for a living.
Audiences witness Arthur slowly pushed to his limits with every interaction he has with the stone-cold town he resides in. In the first few scenes of the film, we see his interaction with his psychiatrist who he calls out for never listening. As he tries to talk to his doctor about not being sure of his existence, she can only respond with how the funding for the place has been cut and she can no longer continue treatment with him.
This scene gives one a good idea of the callousness of the people in Arthur’s life. His neurological condition causes him to laugh uncontrollably even when he doesn’t intend to, further making him the target of people’s anger and cruelty.
A Brush with Reality
Arthur’s mother told him that the bigshot politician and philanthropist Thomas Wayne is his father. She spun elaborate lies about having a love affair with the politician. Of course, blindly believing her, Arthur decides to confront the politician by showing up at his house but is thrown out by security. A security guard tells him that his mother is a mentally sick individual and never had any connection with Thomas Wayne.
Distraught, Arthur decides to find the truth of the matter. He finds his mother’s psychiatric file that mentions her delusional mental state and reveals that she is not Arthur’s biological mother. Reading the horrors of her past deeds, which included letting an ex-boyfriend abuse Arthur as she stood by, pushes Arthur over the edge.
The audience can feel the frustration, helplessness, and mental turmoil of the character as he navigates through the loss of a job, brush with harsh reality, and his psychiatrist shutting shop. We see three men bully Arthur on the subway for his speech impediment. Arthur initially tries to escape the situation but is beaten up. He finally reaches a breaking point and fights back.
He shoots one of the three men in self-defense but kills the other two in rage. We later see him running into a bathroom and dancing like a maniac. This moment is when we realize that the Joker has taken over Arthur Flick.
A Note to Be Kinder
During his altercation with Murray Franklin, we see Arthur yelling how crazy it is in the real world and how nobody thinks what it’s like to be the other guy. In the monologue, before he shoots Murray, Arthur yells, ‘what do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him’
Joker has received its share of criticism for attempting to humanize a despicable character and justifying his acts of violence. However, at its core Joker reinforces a strong message to be kind and thoughtful. It doesn’t justify Arthur’s rampant killing sprees instead merely provides one better understanding of his twisted mind.
Conclusion: What to Expect from the Sequel
The sequel, Folie a Deux, is set to release in October 2024 and will be starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga in the lead roles. The latter posted a teaser on her Instagram that showed the Joker’s silhouette dancing with what seemed like a dress-adorned Gaga. The heart tattoo on the female silhouette hint that Gaga might join the project as Harley Quin’s character.