It’s time to put a smile on that face with the release of Joker now creating a new wave of comic book crime terror across the world.
Joker is a riot, literally and the film has a lot to unpack from both it’s plot and ending.
Throughout this video I’m going to be breaking down everything that you need to know about the movie as well as what we can take from it’s overall premise and the final few scenes.
Now there will be heavy spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen Joker yet and don’t want to have anything about the movie ruined then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for stopping by, now let’s get into our breakdown of Joker!
Joker Plot Recap
Joker follows the story of Arthur Fleck, a man who has literally been dealt a bad card in life and seems to be the joker in the pack in every situation. Fleck has severe mental health issues that cause uncontrollable laughter and the character lives on the poverty line struggling to get by day to day. He cares for his mother who like him suffers from delusions of grandeur and dreams of becoming a comedian in order to escape his life of unhappiness.
Unfortunately for Fleck he lives in Gotham City, a town that pretty much makes the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, so when he’s told fantasies that he’s the illegitimate son of Gotham’s wealthiest Citizen, Thomas Wayne, naturally his mind starts to wander. He seemingly forms a relationship, becomes a laughing stock, stops taking his meds and causes an uprising in Gotham that leads to the death of several of it’s richest people including it’s first family the Waynes.
A Comment On Society
Though the film isn’t set in modern-day it certainly tackles a lot of modern-day issues such as cuts to medical and social care and it basically builds a world in which circumstances are rife for a character like the Joker to emerge. This is highly relatable to modern-day society in which there seems to be more and more lone wolfs carrying out attacks on people en masse and it forces us to ask ourselves, are these just bad apples or is society structured in a way that creates such monsters.
Joker also demonstrates mental health issues on a respectable level due to the fact that we find out the character was abused and due to his condition smiled through the majority of it. Often when dealing with depression many people are told to put on a happy face and in cases like the Death of Robin Williams, we know that the actor outwardly appeared happy and smiling when there were clearly things going on beneath the surface.
We Are All Clowns
Anyway, Joker wants to tear it all down and show Gotham it’s ugly face and though the film is receiving a lot of controversy for its depictions of The Joker, citing that the character may inspire further attacks, I personally believe that the film is actually a warning that we have to change things on a fundamental level before things like this become more commonplace.
His desperation to find an answer to his problems is mirrored in the actions of the citizens of Gotham who slowly begin to follow the Joker’s acts and cause an uprising in the city. The violence is crazy, Joker kills people that attack him, his own mother and many more in some disturbing moments. The film ramps up to The Murray Franklin show scene which really stands out as scary on a number of levels.
The ending is almost the same as Batman Begins with the mad citizens of Gotham tearing down the city from the inside, however, instead of a toxic gas that causes them to do this, Joker instead uses the notion of an idea as it’s trigger to send Gotham into chaos.
The Dark Knight Rises
As mentioned earlier we see the Wayne’s, including a young Bruce, go into the infamous crime alley and watch their deaths at the hands of Joker’s new movement. Whilst it’s a depiction that we’ve seen play out countless times before, here it holds a lot more weight because unlike prior entries, we’ve seen the film build-up to the point where the death of one of the city’s wealthiest citizens seems like a natural conclusion.
This also adds more nuance to the Batman origin itself as Bruce now lives in a world where his parent’s deaths were in some form or another caused by the Joker. Bruce has witnessed first hand how an idea can inspire people to do bad and therefore we can understand why he eventually becomes a symbol for good. The fact that their deaths are because of the Joker in some form gives reason to why he too would decide to don a mask in order to take down criminals and it really can’t be overstated how much this fleshes out his reasoning beyond what we’ve seen before.
Similar to Joker, Bruce becomes a product of Gotham but unlike Arthur, Bruce decides to go the opposite way, potentially because of his money and resources and they pretty much become two sides of the same coin.
The Joker Analysis
Whilst this growth into the dark knight doesn’t necessarily happen in the film I think that the piece is laced with enough subtext to the point that it allows the viewer to work things out for themselves and that truly is the triumph of Joker. Throughout the film, it laces seeds as to what is happening so that audience members can draw their own conclusions, come up with their own interpretations and also decide who, what, where and why happened the way that they did. It really is a smart move to take and no doubt viewers will take something different away from the film each time that they watch it.
Now the thing that you have to know from the beginning in order to truly understand Joker is that Arthur is an unreliable narrator. Many of the events that we see in the film, including it’s ending, hint that they may all be in the character’s head and whilst some definitely do happen, others don’t. We know that Fleck imagines himself on the Murray Franklin show, that his realtionships aren’t the way that he perceives them and there’s some questions over the entire movie that leaves a lot of ambiguity to everything. He’s not related to the Waynes, he’s not dating his neighbor and he might, in fact, be trapped in the marvel universe…that’s a joke..that’s a joke.
Anyway, there’s some big similarities to Fight Club in this film with the protagonist going from a lowly member of society to becoming someone that takes it down by the films close, and like that movie, we see things from the main character’s perspective, rather than those around him. Therefore it’s difficult to justify whether what happened is truly the way that things played out and the movie deliberately ends ambiguously in order to form a discussion as to whether Joker is the city’s biggest supervillain or just a legend in his own mind.
The Killing Joke
This of course carries forth notions of the Alan Moore Graphic Novel which apparently tells the character’s origins though he does state that he prefers to leave it multiple choice and those, like myself, who prefer that the Joker’s origin remains a mystery are able to have their cake and eat it on this one.
Either way this is a city that has been completely torn apart by chaos. The film ends with the character in Arkham being interviewed and we really get the feeling that his reign of terror will continue even from beyond the bars of the infamous asylum as he runs along a corridor to send in the clowns.
Joker Ending Explained
Now do I believe that the events in the film happened the way that Joker believed that they did? Who knows, there will never be a concrete answer and because of this, the movie will be discussed for decades. Joker at one point draws a smile in blood and this really symbolises that blood had to be shed in order to make him happy and he achieved this so now Joker has found something to make him find purpose. This, of course, is a reference to the graphic novel Flashpoint in which the Joker of that universe carries out something similar and it hammers home just how much society is slowly sending everybody crazy.
As a whole Joker is a masterpiece, I know that the movie already has some detractors but this really is an Oscar-worthy performance by Joaquin Phoenix who completely knocks it out of the part with his portrayal of the clown prince of crime. It’s a shame that the media has basically turned into the real-life version of that character from the Simpsons who keeps saying ‘Won’t somebody please think of the children’ because this packs a lot of metaphor and commentary on modern-day that deserves to be seen.
Joker really is incredible and it’s a unique film that I truly believe will stand the test of time. At the moment I’m in two minds over whether this was better than Endgame or Not but either way 2019 has been an incredible year for comic book movies with this pretty much being the cherry on top.
Joker deserves to be seen and I can’t recommend it any higher. I can’t remember the last time or if I’ve ever given a ten out of ten to a film on this channel, however, this deserves it. It’s a true reflection of our time and really should be required watching for any fans of Batman, DC or comics in general.
Congratulations DC, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix and all those involved with the making of this movie. You smashed it!