April 5-2019
#Feature Friday: ‘Joker’, A soul-stirring origin story of the most enigmatic archvillain

A solo movie featuring Gotham’s biggest archvillain doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Scales are enormously tipped if the actor is already doing a promising job in what is being pegged as an Oscar-worthy display of acting skills in the offing.

Joker has had many origin stories. Sometimes it has almost been unbelievable owing to the multiplicity of the origin stories that have been advanced over the years.

While Red hood was revealed to be the Joker in the ‘The Man Behind The Red Hood Batman Volume One‘ during Batman’s criminology class, he is shown a nameless lab worker who left his job at the Ace Chemicals plant to be a stand-up comedian in Batman: The Killing Joke.

Tim Burton’s movie Batman portrays Joker as a gangster and a vain sociopath with an interest in chemistry and art. He is also shown in other iterations of the character as an accomplished bank robber and a former hitman for the Berlanti crime family who is depressed with life.

That movie is going to be an out and out origins story is something we had already predicted far back when the first look and some of the shooting clips were let slip a few moons ago but the recently released trailer spectacularly confirms our assumptions and how!

Somewhere in the DC universe, there is a sane man progressively being pushed to lunacy with a few bad days that we glimpse through the trailer for Todd Phillips’ Joker. What’s refreshing is that it will be the first time we will see how Joker becomes Joker on celluloid played by an actor who has hardly ever had a flop movie in his resume.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it here…

The Origin of the Joker

All we know is that it’s about Arthur Fleck; a man utterly trashed and rejected by society who plummets to his rockbottom.

The culmination of which leads to the unleashing of deformed monstrosity first put forth in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke (and later reprised in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series), that all it takes is one bad day for someone to be pushed into insanity.

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Bath

 

Arthur Fleck’s mother under a gushing stream of water; the scene reveals a smile that serves as a prelude to joker’s signature and a permanent smile.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Clown Smile

 

Joker pushing his mouth into a more permanent smile with his fingers pushing in either side or the drops of green hair dye dripping from his eyes, which, like the mess running down is indicative of the traditional origin story. A laughing clown that hides his misery. A trope that has come to define the essence of this character.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Joaquin Phoenix Nude

 

Phoenix has nailed the Joker’s dangerously scrawny figure (reminiscent of Batman fame Christian bale in the movie machinist), and throughout the trailer moves his body into some oddly flexible poses.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Hallway Flowers

 

The background music plays out with Arthur’s ‘clown evolution’, and even though this still isn’t the most traditional Joker face-paint look. Right from the typical gait to the make-up, we can see joker in its true spirit and form in this compelling portrayal.

 

Arkham Asylum

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Arkham Asylum

 

The famous Arkham Asylum which has had a gothic 19th-century characteristic to it, the mental hospital looks even eerier than some of the previous versions.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Arkham Asylum Elevator

 

What we see here is not a horrific villain flashing his sardonic smile at the crimes he has contemplated but a pitiable man that feels wretched at the prospect of being institutionalised.

Thomas Wayne

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Thomas Wayne

 

The morning show guest on the screen appears to be Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne.

Since he seems to be harbouring a mortal grudge against the authority and signalling his contempt for Batman’s father who is a part of the establishment’s elite, he wishes to take him out.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Protest

 

Gotham seems awash with the anti-establishment sentiment, so it’s not a wonder that the billionaire  Wayne family will be in the opprobrium of the future Joker.

 

Bruce Wayne

 

At 1:47, we see the clown pushing out a smile in the boy’s face through the gates of what appears to be Wayne Manor. We are not sure whether the boy is our caped crusader though.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Wayne Hall

 

The hall featuring Charlie Chaplin is also a clever piece of symbolism inasmuch as the theme it carries since Charlie Chaplin also operates in the face of adversity with his funny antics.

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Notebook

 

“I believe that someone should become a person like other people.” A closer inspection of his personal diary’s scribbles gives a window into his psyche as he grapples with daily intimidations and bullydom.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Gotham Subway

 

Like Gotham’s Times Square stand-in, New York City’s subways will inspire a sense of nostalgia with its vintage settings.  Making a strong case of Joker becoming a monster is the scene where he is beaten up by three rich finance boys.

 

Joker Movie Trailer Breakdown Analysis - Joaquin Phoenix's Joker

 

Arthur has this frustration piling over the years that he takes out elsewhere. Being thrashed by society and their dismissal of his humanity, in turn, sets him off on a twisted lane.

Joker opens on 4 October 2019.