SPOILER ALERT: “Joker” shows faults in our society

Megan Lavery, Staff Reporter

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Reader, beware! If you still haven’t seen “Joker” and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t scroll down!

 

 

 

 

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As a huge DC fan, I love “Joker.” This movie keeps you guessing until the very end when he fully transforms into the iconic character. 

The turning point in this film is the subway scene. This scene is powerful and beautifully put together. The music over the loud sounds of the subway really sets you in the scene as Arthur loses control and kills the three rich young men out of self-defense. While the first two shots can be justified as self-defense, the last shot was rather maniacal, as Arthur hunted down the man and shot him nearly four times as he tried to crawl away.

Immediately following is an interesting scene depicting Arthur Fleck dancing silently in a subway bathroom, blood trailing down his face, as he embraces the fact that he just killed those men and does not seem to have any regrets. It was dark and gritty while still being stunningly beautiful. 

Early on, you are introduced to Sophie Dumond. She is a single mother who lives down the hall in the same apartment complex as Arthur. Arthur and Sophie’s interactions are strange, as Sophie never seems bothered by the Arthur’s odd and admittedly creepy mannerisms. She always seems charmed and continues to be involved with Arthur. 

Throughout the movie, Arthur and Sophie are depicted as lovers. They go out on dates together, she comes to his failed stand up routine and even consoles him while his mother is in the hospital. In the second act, we learn that Sophie is real, but their entire romance was fabricated in Arthur’s head. 

Penny Fleck, Arthur’s mother, has been writing letters to Thomas Wayne. We learn halfway through that Penny has been attempting to get help from Thomas Wayne, claiming that Arthur is his son. Arthur comes across this and seeks out to find answers from Thomas Wayne himself. Before meeting his alleged father, he comes across a young Bruce Wayne, prior to becoming Batman. Arthur is under the impression that he is this boy’s half brother, and attempts to befriend him with magic, and even putting his hands on him, forcing him to smile. This scene is very compelling once you realize that Arthur and this child will soon become mortal enemies. 

I sat in the seat dumbfounded the first time I watched this. I was shocked that the filmmakers were implying that Batman and Joker were half brothers. I was honestly slightly enraged, which I believe was the point of that addition to the film. It definitely caused a reaction out of me.

After this scene, Arthur returns home to find out that his mother suffered from a stroke and was being taken to the hospital. In the hospital, Arthur learns that Murray Franklin, the famed TV host and Arthur’s personal hero was playing a video of Arthur’s stand up comedy and making fun of him. It’s heartbreaking to watch as his hero degrades him so harshly and he can do nothing about it. 

Soon after, you learn that Bruce and Arthur are not actually brothers and that Penny Fleck is merely delusional. Arthur has trouble believing this and seeks out to see if it is true. There, in Arkham Asylum records, he learns that not only was she delusional, but he was adopted and she allowed him to be abused as a child and suffer severe trauma to the head. Enraged, Arthur then suffocates his mother in the hospital room with a pillow.

This scene has a definite shock factor, as in the beginning of the movie, the two of them seemed very happy with one another. It was brutal and left everyone in the theater shocked and on the edge of their seats. 

Arthur gets a call that night about appearing on the Murray Franklin show as a follow-up of the video played on the show. Arthur accepts it and plans to shoot himself on live television. The day he is to appear on the show, his ex-coworkers drop into his apartment for a visit and to comfort him for his mother dying. Arthur, tired of being mistreated by one of them, brutally murders him without warning. It is sudden, brutal and vicious. It’s dark and morbid and again, leaves everyone shocked in the theater. 

From there, Arthur is in his final stage of insanity and appears on the Murray Franklin Show.  There he is mocked again. Tired of the ridicule, Joker admits to the murder of the three men on the subway before going on a rant about how horrible Gotham is.

Murray Franklin decides to continue to ridicule and mock Joker, leading to Joker changing his plans to kill himself, and shoots Murray in the face. The crowd screams and shuffles out as Joker sits there patiently, before standing and shooting him again. In the theater, people gasped in shock, I noticed their mouths gaping.  

The movie then takes a turn for the wild, showing the city rioting and burning to the ground. Joker, in a police car, laughs at it, before the car got hit by an ambulance, killing the police driver and rescuing Joker.

As Joker takes a moment to recuperate, they show us a clip from another area of the city. Thomas, Maria and Bruce Wayne are escaping the chaos into a dark alley. Any fan of Batman knows that the alleyway is the location where Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered. They show us the origin that we know so well but this time, we know for a fact that Bruce’s parents dying was, in fact, Joker’s fault.

The movie wraps up with Joker rising above his fans, with his arms outstretched. This is symbolizing Jesus and paralleling Joker as the messiah to his newly gained disciples. 

The final scene is what has led to massive confusion throughout the viewers. It ends with Joker in Arkham Asylum. He is speaking with a therapist who looks very similar to the woman he had seen outside of the hospital. His hair is no longer green and he doesn’t seem to have as many injuries on his body as he did in the previous scene, making you question whether or not anything you just saw was real.

This leaves the audience with that sense of anonymity that they have always had with the Joker’s uprising, even after watching an entire movie dedicated to his origin. I find this choice to be as genius as it was frustrating. It keeps “Joker” mysterious while still delivering with a fantastically real experience of what drove this man, Arthur Fleck, mad. 

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