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Joker review

Animeman73Mar 10, 2020, 11:30:10 PM

Hello everyone greetings and salutations from the Pacific Northwest. Well, I’d been promising myself I’d get round to this. It’s time for my review of the movie Joker.


A couple things I need to make you aware of. 1. All pictures used in this are legal under the terms of the fair use agreement of 1976. 2. There’s going to be some spoilers here so be aware.


Joker is a DC Universe movie that dares to do something unique. Tell the origin story of one of the most iconic Batman villains of all time. The Clown Prince of Crime himself.

I had been wanting to see this movie for some time. But life and work kept getting in the way.

So, I finally bought it on DVD to watch at home. No offense against streaming but I prefer physical media. I’m rather old-fashioned like that.

But I digress so let’s get to the review of this.

From the opening of this movie there's an underlying malevolence that's palpable. I’m not talking the horror movie kind. But a subtle feeling from the lighting, the attire that people wear, and the atmosphere.


This is the story of the clown prince of crime


It says this story is not going to end well.

Welcome to Gotham city in the year 1981. A lovely metropolitan city comparable to a powder keg about to go off.

How could this be so? Well, as the radio stations report economic uncertainty due to lack of employment. As well as a failing infrastructure and rampant crime.

Into this potential disaster waiting to go off comes the protagonist, Arthur Fleck. As played by actor Joaquin Phoenix. Arthur is a struggling mentally ill stand-up comedian.

He lives with his sick mother Penny. She's played by actress Frances Conroy. Arthur has a very weird medical condition.


Meet Arthur Fleck as played by Joaquin Phoenix.


One which causes him to laugh at inappropriate times. Not exactly the sort of thing which makes you sympathize with the character. Worse he's dependent on several medications thanks to Gotham social services.

The lack of anything pleasant starts from the get-go. Arthur gets waylaid in an alleyway by a group of junior delinquents after they swipe his sign.


This is NOT going to end well.

One scene shows how Arthur's condition alienates people. An on-edge mother on the bus he’s riding tells him to quit bothering her child. As Arthur begins to laugh, she looks 

disturbed by his inappropriate cackling.

Yeah, getting a creepy feeling about this guy.

Arthur makes it home to the apartment where his mother and he live in squalor. Thomas Wayne in this universe is a candidate for Mayor of Gotham city. Penny Fleck believes he is going to save it.

A belief that seems to be naïve and unsettling all at once. They sit down to watch Gotham’s version of Late Night. Which features a character named Murray Franklin as played by Robert DeNiro.

Murray will play a role in Arthur’s downfall later. DeNiro described the role as a tribute to the character Rupert Pupkin. A comedian obsessed with a talk show host from the 1983 film King of Comedy.

The next day things start to go downhill. Arthur gets a gun from one of his co-workers Randall played by Glenn Fleschler.

The gun is for protection purposes.

He then gets a dressing down by his boss. It involves complaints from some clients of the party clown company Arthur works for.

On his way back to his apartment Arthur meets Sophie Desmond as played by Zazie Beetz. She becomes Arthur’s perceived love interest. There’s an air of cynicism to her character too.

Not surprising considering the decaying state of Gotham city.


Meet Sophie Desmond as portrayed by Zazie Beetz.


While entertaining kids at a local children’s hospital the gun falls out on to the floor. Oops, awkward. Randall then lies and says Arthur bought the gun himself.

Stabbed in the back by a co-worker, wow! Arthur is then fired by his enraged boss from his job. He heads home still in his clown makeup.

Then Arthur notices three drunken businessmen from Wayne Enterprises. They start off by harassing a woman on the subway train. At that moment Arthur’s condition flares up again drawing the attention of the three drunken men.


Again...this is NOT going to end well!


See...told you so.


The men turn their ire on him. The three proceed to assault Arthur until he shoots two in self-defense. He executes a third on a train platform.

He flees to a public restroom and breaks into a…dance? Okay yeah, something is not right up there! Next up is a scene where Arthur returns to the complex.

And enters the apartment and welcoming arms of Sophie. 


Affer a bloody murder Arthur goes into...dancing?


The next evening Arthur and his mom are watching a program which has Thomas Wayne on. Wayne condemns the attacks on his employees. Calling the person who committed the crime someone who is “envious” of other people’s success.

But Arthur’s actions have lit the fiery powder keg that is Gotham. Demonstrations have begun against Gotham’s well-to-do citizens. And the demonstrators are taking the clown mask of Arthur as their symbol.

Sometimes it does take one person intentional or not to cause a bad situation to get worse.


Here we have Arthur with his sick mother Penny.


Meanwhile some bad news comes for Arthur. Funding cuts shutter social services cutting him off from his medication. Oh dear, this is not going to end well.

The point gets emphasized to Arthur. His counselor explains that the people in charge of Gotham don’t care about the little people. Ooh, harsh truths!

Sophie attends Arthur’s stand-up show which ends up going very bad. Even from the beginning there was a sinking feeling that something was about to happen. The mentally ill man’s condition causes him to laugh.

As a result, his act gets mocked by Murray Franklin. Ooh ouch that hurts! 


This routine is about to go disastrously wrong.


Things get worse when Arthur intercepts a letter.

One that his mother wrote to Thomas Wayne claiming Arthur is their illegitimate son. Uh-oh this will not end well! He gets furious and berates his mother over it.

He heads off to Wayne Manor to confront the man he believes is his biological father. There he meets Thomas’ son Bruce Wayne. Things get ugly when Arthur flees after a scuffle with Alfred Pennyworth the Wayne’s butler. 

Way to go Alfred!


Watch out for this one Bruce.


Later Arthur gets a visit from two Gotham city detectives. They're investigating his involvement in the train station murders. The shock of this causes Penny to have a stroke.

Yup it’s all downhill from here.

The next day at a public event Arthur confronts Thomas Wayne. The influential citizen tells Arthur that Penny is delusional. And explains she's not his real mother.

This shocks Arthur to the core. Causing him to break out in another wave of psychotic laughter. That results in him getting punched by Thomas Wayne.


ANother round of..this is NOt going to end well.


In denial Arthur goes to Arkham State Hospital and steals Penny’s file. He learns that Penny adopted him as a baby. And allowed her abusive boyfriend to harm them both.

When confronted with this Penny explains herself. Allegedly Thomas Wayne fabricated the story of Arthur’s adoption. And had her committed to hide their affair.

Distraught by this he flees back to his apartment complex. He enters Sophie’s apartment. The frightened woman demands Arthur leave.

She explains that his supposed encounters with her were all in his mind. Uh-oh taking Arthur off his medication and ostracizing him from society was a big mistake.

The next day he goes to the hospital and kills Penny. Thereby sealing his fate to go over to the dark side.


Oh dear! Things got a lot darker.


Soon Arthur gets a surprise when he’s invited to go on Murray Franklin’s show. It seems the clips of his disastrous comedy act have made him popular. The man is then visited by two of his former work colleagues Randall and Gary, played by Leigh Gill.

But Arthur remembers how Randall stabbed him in the back and kills the larger man. Gary, he leaves alive as the diminutive clown always treated Arthur well in the past.

Next, comes what many considered one of the most iconic scenes from Joker. Arthur strides towards the apartment elevator in slow motion. Followed by a cut to him dancing on some stairs while Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll part 2 plays.

This scene got embraced by the public. It's gotten used for everything from reenactments to memes. Wow Joaquin how does it feel good sir?


One of the most iconic scenes in recent cinema.


How does it feel to know a role in your illustrious career got you immortality as a meme? It’s a celebration because it shows Arthur is finally embracing who he is. As festive as it is there’s an underlying ominousness about the scene.

That celebration ends moments later. Two police officers come looking for Arthur in connection with the station murders. He flees from the detectives and on to a train.

Here’s where things get messy. One of the train cars is full of Clown mask protesters. One of the officers shoots a protester.

Even as Arthur has disguised himself as one. This is the proverbial spark that lights the keg of gun powder. It causes a riot where the police officers get beaten.

Arthur uses the cover to slip away. From a meek nihilist to an anarchist causing chaos. This is getting very bad!

At the studio before the show goes live Arthur insists that Murray introduce him as Joker. A reference to Murray’s previous derision of him. Once on Arthur launches into a monologue.


Careful Murray. This clown is trouble.


One about how comedy is subjective. As ominous as this is Arthur does have a valid point. Comedy is a subjective thing.

Then he goes on to tell morbid jokes and confesses to the murders on the train. Before he rants about how society treads on the downtrodden and mentally ill. During this time one thought came to me.

“Murray call security and get that man off the stage! Do so if you want to live!”

I imagine a lot of people thought the same at that scene.

Too late! Murray resumes control of the show. But Arthur pulls out a gun and kills him.


O tried to warn you Arthur Murray. This clown is BIG trouble!


He gets arrested as riots break out across the city. One of the masked Clown rioters confronts Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha. Then proceeds to kill them both.

But he spares their son Bruce. This sad event will set the stage for the eventual rise of every Gotham city criminal’s worst nightmare.

Some of the rioters in an ambulance crash into the 

police car Arthur is in. Freed from his bonds he dances to the elation of the lawbreakers. And gives them a perverse smile.

And thus, is born the clown prince of crime.


And ths is born the clown prince of crime!


Later in Arkham Arthur laughs about a joke. Then he tells his psychiatrist she wouldn’t understand. Arthur then runs from the orderlies leaving a trail of bloodied footprints.

An interesting scene at the end. It begs the question of did the story happen or did Arthur make it up? That's the enigmatic nature of the Joker.

But I myself found it a tad unnecessary. But that's my own opinion.


Was it real or did Arthur make it up? I'm not a fan of subjective endings.


Okay, for starters I had a hard time watching this movie.It wasn't because it was bad. This movie was great, it was fantastic!

Todd Philips did a great job of directing as well as writing the screenplay with Scott Silver. This movie was hard to watch because it made me and no doubt many others feel uncomfortable. This movie addresses a lot of issues.

Such as when people in power forget their 

responsibilities. The ideas of obsession with 

celebrities. And the biggest issue here of mental health and wellbeing.

As someone with a mild form of autism that's a rather personal subject to me. Society has a bad habit of ostracizing those with mental issues. All because we don’t want to deal with them.

But when we do so bad things happen, very bad things.



Joaquin Phoenix lost a huge ton of weight for this role. And shows why his Golden Globe and Academy Award wins were no fluke. This was a superb performance on his part.

And shows why he'll get remembered with fondness in the decades to come.


Joaquin Phoenix's Golden globe and Academy Award wins were no fluke.


Robert DeNiro while getting older shows this. When it comes to acting, he's still good in his role of Murray Franklin.

Philips and Silver admitted this. Some of the inspiration for the scene of Murray's death came from a DC animated movie. Batman Returns where Joker kills a talk show host and entire studio.

Wow, yikes!

It's true this is a comic book movie. But this is one that embraces its R rating. And goes all out with the grit and depressing darkness.

This is definitely a movie for adults not the kiddies. It also has the whole late 70’s, early 80’s Martin Scorsese vibe to it.

In summary good writing, superb acting, and a wonderful cinematic score. One that goes from happy to sad as quick as anything. That's why Joker is a wonderful film but it's not one for the faint of heart.


Good movie but not for the faint of heart. The R rating is well deserved.


I hope you enjoyed this review of Joker. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Did I do good or does my work need improvement?

Constructive criticism is welcome here.

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Until next time stay true to yourselves, stay classy, and God bless you all.



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