I found this movie really hard to watch because I connect with people incredibly deeply and seeing what Arthur was going through with his mental condition and living conditions was really sad and really helped humanise the character. After watching this I saw the Joker in a whole new way that I don’t think has been done before.
In Joker we meet Arthur who is a clown that works random jobs around the city of Gotham. He lives in a small apartment with his mother and things start to take a turn when his demeanour and mental state causes him to lose his job and from that everything starts to unravel. We see throughout the film that he has a fantasy relationship with a woman who lives in his apartment block which is all inside his head, and this stirs up the thoughts and wonder of how reliable this narrator is and whether we can really believe everything that he is showing us.
One evening he is jumped by three Wall Street men and due to being given a gun by one of his co-workers he shoots the three of them dead. No one knows that it is him that did this, however they do know that it was a man in a clown mask or with clown make up on that cause the crime and this starts a revolution, almost like V for Vendetta, where the lower class people of Gotham rise up against the higher class because they feel they are being unfairly treated and see this clown as a hero to look up to because he took the step that they all wish they could.
In the story you have two main plot points: the following of Arthur’s story and how his life is getting worse and worse until one day miraculously he is invited on one of his favourite TV shows and is able to really change Gotham forever, and the other storyline of these people idolising this clown that killed the higher class and causing an uprising in Gotham to create a better life for themselves. It’s really interesting, super gritty and just gives a new dark feeling to the Batman universe without even including the Batman at all.
While Arthur isn’t a good character at all you do have to feel for him and his situation, he did not ask to be brought into this world of despair and darkness and he is just a man trying to get by with so many issues going on inside his head and in his life. Of course by the end of the film you see that he becomes this terrorist that acts on his urges and changes Gotham forever, but you can also understand how we got there and how if the system hadn’t failed him maybe he could’ve been saved.
And while I don’t know if this film is trying to have a moral standing but it really does show you that people with mental health issues often do need your help and if you were only there for them to help them then maybe you could stop them doing something unforgivable. Arthur is a fascinating character and one that I really enjoyed watching, even if it was very uncomfortable at times. I feel this gives a whole new understanding of the Joker character as a whole and I would absolutely love to see this portrayal more because in so many other adaptations the bad guy is just that, the bad guy with no real plot points or characteristics, however in this, you really get to see the human side of him which makes him so much more fascinating to watch.
I highly recommend Joker if you want something different to the usual DC comic films. I really love the standalone films that are coming from the film industry currently that don’t rely on the heroes to always be part of it, because just knowing these bad guys on such a deeper level is fascinating. Joker of course is a brilliant film but so is Birds of Prey with Harley Quinn and getting to know her character and even on the Marvel side with Venom. I love diving into the bad guy’s psyche more because then when they show up in a hero/villain type film you really get to know who they are, what their motivations are, and you see that the world isn’t as black and white as it appeared to be to begin with.
What do you think of Joker?
Until next time.