DC films had a rocky start to their cinematic universe. Batman VS. Superman, Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, and Justice League weren’t well-received. Even die-hard fans were having trouble staying enthuse for the DC universe. After Justice League being a colossal failure; many thought that it was the end for the DC Universe.
Their films this year, however, have proven to be a turn around for them. Aquaman and Shazam! are critically and financially successful. Both films breathed new life into the dying universe and by the looks of it, they aren’t stopping there. Warner Bros recently released the Joker teaser trailer and it looks fascinating.
The Joker is a long-running popular Batman villain. He’s the Clown Prince of Crime that terrorizes Gotham City and occasionally pulls merry pranks on the cape crusader. Literally look at any Batman media and the Joker will be the center of attention. Even when he shouldn’t be *cough* Batman: Arkham Knight *cough*. Despite the Joker stealing the spotlight in every Batman media; his origin story is rarely touched on.
There was Batman: The Killing Joke the animated movie. It did dive into Joker’s past, but not enough time was dedicated to it. It feels like it was reduced down, so Batgirl’s can have an unnecessary 15-minute prologue. I would love it if they took that extra 15 minutes of prologue-time and mold it into a psychological analysis of the Joker. While I didn’t get that from The Killing Joke, I may get that analysis from the Joker film.
Misery, misery, and misery
Starting off on a great foot is the tone of the film. When watching the teaser trailer, I noticed the film has grounded itself into reality. There is no super powered beings, universe building for endless sequels, and no Batman. Many would argue that Batman is integral for the Joker, but I argue Batman isn’t needed for this film. Joker focuses on a single man, Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix), trying to make the best of his life. However, society keeps beating him down, until he snaps.
The teaser starts off with Arthur looking miserable and a hollow shell. We get a good insight into that: he walks up the stair slum-like, taking care of his mother, and having a hard time writing jokes. Even his job brings him misery. Arthur is advertising a sale by holding up a sign that says: “Everything Must Go”. A couple of teenagers steal his sign and lure him to an alley where they beat him up. Arthur is left there beaten and on the verge of tears. At this point, I wanted to give him a hug.
Society creates the Joker
I really love this scene for one major reason. It’s symbolic. The sign he holds foreshadows what going to happen. He will lose everything and including his sanity. Those teenagers breaking the sign on Arthur’s face represents what society will do to him. Society will break Arthur’s sanity. Therefore creating the Joker.
The movie doesn’t stop catching my eye. There is a scene where Arthur is standing in a cramped elevator with an insane patient strapped to a bed. Showing that insanity is closing in on him. He’s trapped in his small little corner trying to keep the rest of his humanity. From there, we see Arthur’s transformation into the Joker.
The most fascinating part of his transformation is his attitude. If you look at Arthur pre-joker; he’s timid, weak, miserable, and no confidence. After the transformation; he’s calm, confident, and dances with eloquence. Finally discovers his purpose and who he is.
I am genuinely excited about the Joker movie. It’s shaping up to be a psychological analysis of comic’s greatest villain. I can’t wait to see Arthur’s transformation and causing anarchy with a smile on my face.
Joker will release is October 4, 2019.