I watched Joker. I was about to type that I really don’t have much to say about Joker. Everyone knows my stance on DC movies enough already. But, now that I think about it, I feel a rant coming on.
I went into this movie already kinda knowing the “twist” just from osmosis. You couldn’t get away from this movie leading up to its release, as hard as I tried. I was out of town and in a hotel room where my only free time was basically youtube. Seeing practically everyone I subscribed to post reaction videos or thinkpieces. It was everywhere.
As I sat and watched this movie, it made me sad. The reason being that I already knew the twist. I’ve been trying to think why, and spoilers are kinda dumb. Twists are kinda dumb. The reason people freakout about spoilers, is because the whole point of movies now are a twist ending. Where the writer/director/film studio get to go “AH HA! You didn’t see that coming did you?!” And that is the whole reason a film is made now. Nothing can just be a well told story. It has to have convoluted plot points, A B and even C sub-plots intertwining and intersecting. It has to be intricate and carefully edited like a magic act, with the slight of hand only showing what they want you to see so we don’t get a peak at the reveal too early.
But Twist movies have that big reveal now, and after, you know… the movie kinda is pointless. It’s a “oh yeah I remember that, it was good, I wish I could watch it, but I already know the whole thing, so what’s the point?” They have no lasting power, Nothing that stands up to repeated viewing. And even though I don’t actually watch most movies a second time, It’s still a bummer. Are you going to have the same feeling watching The Prestige again? What about The Sixth Sense. Once you know the ending, why would you watch it again? Unless it was to show someone else who has never seen it before.
So the “Twist” to the Joker movie is that it’s all in his head right? Or so I thought. That’s what I heard. I would occasionally be on reddit or a forum and some drive-by comment would spoil the big ending of “Its all in his head”. And as I watched, we see Arthur makeup the entire relationship with his neighbor. But, nothing else shows that anything else was made up. The murder on the subway, the riots, the talk show killing.
There is zero ambiguity about Arthur as a character. He was adopted, he was abused physically and mentally. He has a mental condition. None of that is made up. Yes, we as the audience are tricked to believe that the standup routine went well, and that he had a relationship… but that’s it. Everything else happens. Which is what made me mad. I was lied to, saying “it’s ALL in his head”. No, it’s not. His relationship is in his head, is success is in his head, but nothing more than that. From what the movie shows us.
The movie lied to us from the beginning, so how are we supposed to believe anything else, other than what we are shown. There isn’t a “make up your own ending”. This isn’t Inception. Arthur is mentally unstable, he’s pushed too far and makes a mistake. In the heat of the moment he kills, and kills again and then a third time. After catching his breath, he realizes it felt good. So he goes on a path to cause pain to everyone else, in an act of vengeance. It’s not because he was forgotten by society, it’s because he wasn’t able to cope and fix things in his life and turned to an easier life of solving issues by taking them out instead of dealing with them. He makes a conscious decision to go off meds. He says “I stopped taking my meds” not “I can’t get anymore meds”. It’s 100% his decision.
I went the entire movie thinking everything was made up. That he was just in a mental institution the entire time. Even the ending, when he kills the psych doctor. But once the credits rolled fully and Plex came back up, I realized that no, he made up a fake girlfriend and some success at a hole in the wall comedy club, but that was it. We see the Arkham profile of his abusive mother, we know she’s lying through her teeth in her own deranged mind, which she made up this lie because she was mentally unstable and brought that on her adopted son. It’s quite clear. Even in flashback form. How or why could someone have a flashback of something that never happened? They couldn’t. You can’t makeup flashbacks of other people.
Anyone who says “it’s all in his head” is a liar and can’t follow simple film editing. It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal. There is no ambiguous ending, there is no made up delusions. Aurther took things too far and turned into the Joker.
Now…The movie itself. I found it extremely uncomfortable, unnerving and awkward. It’s a cringe film. Nothing is really funny in it, so it’s not a comedy. There isn’t really much action, so it’s not an action or superhero movie. It’s a film that isn’t made much anymore. It’s a suspense title. Where the whole plot revolves around being in a state of panicked suspense. And it was a good one of those. I found it captivating although hard to sit through at points. I’ve never been a big fan of making the audience want to just stop and leave. I think it’s usually a waste of time, because if I don’t enjoy something so much, it’s probably not worth sticking with. I stuck with Joker and it was fine. But I felt like I’ve seen this movie before. And it’s because I have, it’d be a rip off of Taxi Driver and King of Comedy if it wasn’t fully endorsed by De Niro who also plays a huge roll in it too.
Joker is fine, it’s not a movie I’d ever watch again, and it’s a billion times better than the garbage trash that DC puts out. But it’ll be all for nothing if they don’t course correct and go in this direction completely. DC NEEDS to can everything else they are doing and reboot their cinematic universe to this one. Nothing can survive. This Joker needs to be around 55 or 60 when Batman begins fighting crime. All new villains, or older versions of them if they want to make this good. That will never happen and DC will just continue to make anything and everything multiple times. We don’t need a ton either, a SuperHero/Villain movie that is a new and fresh way of reinventing the character is a billion times more interesting at this point than another origin story.
Take the city name out, take out the Wayne name, and take out the Arkham name and you get a great new IP. This movie is a DC comic movie in name only. It doesn’t tie into Batman in anyway… unless you count the hamfisted tacked on Wayne Death Fetish that every DC movie seems to have written into its contract. If I actually cared about the movie, I would have been severely disappointed. It’s lame and absolutely unnecessary. But that’s what DC does best. Joker, a great movie until you watch him make a blood painted smile on his cheeks. My eyes and teeth almost rolled out onto the floor.