The final trailer of the upcoming JOKER movie dropped right in our faces just a few days ago. I don’t know about you guys, but I have insanely high hopes for this movie. Partly because this is the latest incarnation of the clown prince of crime loved by many, or because it has nothing to do with the Worlds of DC (as DC refers to their cinematic universe). But mostly, it’s because of that The Killing Joke and Gotham vibe I get from all these trailers and teasers.
From sad clown…
So firstly… what’s The Killing Joke? Some of you may have memorized every single detail of it, some may be completely clueless. Therefore to get everyone on to the same page, I’m going to write a short summary on this iconic graphic novel by Alan Moore.
The story starts with Batman coming into Arkham Asylum to talk with Joker about their relationship, and his effort to try and turn things around. However, he found out Joker is already outside, and is up to his own jizz. This time, Joker determine to execute all kinds of terrible stuff to Jim Gordon in order to make Jim turn crazy and prove his ultimate point: “All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.” (we will get to that later). Throughout the story, we also see multiple flashback scenes of Joker when he was still a somewhat sane man, or at least, what the mad clown think was his past. Let’s take a quick look at it.
Seems familiar? In this origin, Joker was a failing comedian struggling to get gigs and money to support his family (wife and expecting kid). Even though his wife is genuinely supportive, the guy is still obsessed with his feeling of uselessness. And to me, this situation is without a doubt one of the biggest reason why the mad clown was born, as similar to Joaquin Phoenix’s version.
How so? Well, do you think Arthur (or whathisname in The Killing Joke) just snapped and became crazy, just like that? I beg to differ. One bad day is all it takes to turn a sane man crazy, that’s his philosophy. But in the Alan Moore’s version, even though Joker has done all the worst things to Jim Gordon, including raping his daughter and making him watch an entire musical out of it, Jim still stand. He even requested Batman to bring Joker in, by the book, not to kill him. So no, I think that one bad day doesn’t just happened with any man. Arthur… well the guy was already cracked before everything, if you ask me. He was already living a shitty life with a shitty career. As Phoenix’s Joker beautifully put it:
All I have are negative thoughts.Arthur Fleck, Joker, 2019
The person hearing this, as we saw in the trailer, is Arthur’s therapist, who seemingly is helping him keep himself together. When she said that it’ll be their last time seeing each other, I immediately knew that is going to be one of his turning points, his catalysts to become the Joker, along with his mother lying on hospital bed and all.
… to mad clown.
What about his goal? I hope you haven’t forget what I said in the beginning, ’cause this is where the Gotham part comes in.
If there are two things both Gotham’s Joker and Phoenix’s Joker (from what I gained by watching trailers) have in common, it will undoubtedly be their PURPOSES & METHODS. The signs are there, and I will be happy to point some of them out for you.
At this point, I believe it’s safe to say Batman, as we know him, will not be who he is today without the Joker’s presence in his life. The pair is the exact opposite of each other. If Batman is dark and grim, Joker is bright and colorful. If Batman is calm and thorough, Joker is crazy and loud. And if Batman is the symbol of fear for all villains around Gotham city…
Joker is the symbol of insanity and chaos to all of its citizens.
Granted, there is no apparent “Batman” in Phoenix’s Gotham City. But before you start thinking I’m spouting shits everywhere, just watch the second half of the final trailer down below and think about it for a sec.
Lots of riots and chaos huh? All across the city, rioters all wear the same clown masks, as if they are following a cult, led by none other than the Joker himself. Still, while chaos are running around the city, we still see scenes where Arthur stands in the middle of the clown crowd with absolutely no makeup whatsoever. What could this possibly mean?
Well, this one I’m not too sure, but for the sake of you guys reading this, I’m going to take a wild guess. Arthur can stand so comfortably in the middle of the chaos because he has already published himself, as an icon, a symbol, and as a leader for every single person who is sick of their corrupted and mundane lives. He can either be in the crowd in his normal clothes, with face paint and a colorful suit, or wearing a clown mask similar to every other followers of his. It doesn’t matter. Everything has already been done.
Above are the character direction I think the new JOKER movie will set out for Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck. Just like you guys, I can’t wait until October to see what Todd Phillips have prepared for this “masterpiece”. To end this article, I would like to ask you guys a superb question that I saw from Joaquin Phoenix’s interview at Venice film festival: