Joker: A Killer King of Comedy



What is amazing about Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, and directed by Todd Philips, is that most stories today are so infinitely disturbing that they are not made today. While much of what Joker might be assumed for being too pretentious is the idea that Joker, in much of any Batman telling, has always never given Joker the credit for becoming the monster he is. What the movie does intend to do is paint the Wayne family as more corrupt than they intend to be. Through Bruce Wayne’s parents, they are saints, but in Alfred Peck, the real name of the Joker, seems as though he is misunderstood, an outsider to society, as he stands and works as an entertainer, dancing as a clown, but when his sign is stolen and he is beaten up, everything that happens to Alfred seems like it is his fate to become the Killer Clown of the Batman series, but it makes sure that we are in Joker’s mind the entire time.

It never gives anyone else the spotlight, and true Batman fans want to see what’s inside the Joker. The Batman: TellTale series could be more of a inspiration, while much of it is like a play off of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. What Joker intends is not the same as those who would paint the Clown criminal as just another crazy person. Maybe borrowing from Alan Moore, the movie seems intentionally dark and wades through his mind without ever letting up. The movie is a reminder that someone is made a criminal, not born one. Joaquin Phoenix is the best Joker since Heath Ledger’s passing, and he seems ready to win an Oscar for this performance, but overall for the entirety of his career. It’s not like we haven’t seen Joker before. There is a certain hamminess in every telling of the Joker, even through Mark Hammill’s voice over narration, but Joaquin Phoenix’s ability to make any character relatable, is what drives the idea that we are rooting for the Joker even when we shouldn’t. On Joe Roegan’s Podcast, Rob Zombie cites that he was always inspired by the “Outsider” and Joker is an example of an outsider that we should not fear, but also see as someone who was underrepresented, as in the movie, he is dropped from his caseworker, who tells him, “They don’t give a shit about you,” and “they really don’t give a shit about me.”

It’s a problem when the world has given up on you, and somehow, Alfred seems to realize this all the time. What makes Joker palpable is that it’s willingness to be bold in the face of a cancel culture and PC outrage that this will only make the movie ten times as popular. The more angry reviews, the more people will go see it. As it is deliberately slow, it’s inviting us into the Joker’s world and with each scene, we see Arthur Peck become the Joker with Joaquin’s brilliant performance. We also see that the Outsider is what movies have not returned to, and Joker capitalizes on it masterfully. What political allegories it makes today is not the topic. The prescient notion that we can all become uninvited from the system is why villains such as Joker exist. It’s turning the poor and disadvantaged into villains who were not supposed to be villains in the first place. What we see is that crazy people shouldn’t be hated.

They are sick, and while most would not feel bad for Alfred, is that we the audience must take sympathy for Alfred, who is as alone as he wants attention for his comedy. Making the association that all failed artists become killers is not what the movie intends to make either. There is a dance between crazy person and artist, but the movie, in itself, reminds us that we are not in Batman’s shoes. Knowing that Joker is related to Bruce Wayne is what makes the movie easier to swallow, because all of his pain is justified by the end of the movie, but it’s all up to interpretation. His rise to leader of a revolution is not what makes Joker charismatic, but a leader of the poor and disadvantaged. It’s a deception to think that while Joker is the villain, the movie proves that the overwhelming sense of duty to your visions is what makes the movie seem even more daring in the face of cancel culture and PC outrage.  It’s easier to make Joker a villain, but what Todd Philips and Joaquin Phoenix have done is make Joker a mystery, and not some compact villain in another Batman movie.

Sometimes a writer can make Joker too funny, while never doting on the serious side of the Killer Clown’s perspective. It didn’t seem to be associated with DC comics, and that was a sigh, because the movie proved that it was not corporate sponsored drivel. It’s a film that rivals any Marvel movie and did what no Marvel movie could do, deal with the darkness of a character that brings you into that world, but no matter the cost, the movie does achieve one thing. It embraced the darkness that not even Christopher Nolan could achieve with his Dark Knight Trilogy, and leaves us wondering if a film like this can survive public outcry today. It will be remembered. Definitely for the Batman fans, but also those of cinema. A Masterpiece.


Louis Bruno is an author and independent journalist, and his books can be found on Amazon, Lulu, and elsewhere books are sold. His newest book, The God of Curiosity, comes out in 10/11/19.

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