Last Updated: December 14, 2019
Here are our biggest unanswered questions about Joker. Director Todd Phillips delivered what he predicted, a standalone origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime that is an intense character study inspired by the classic films of Martin Scorsese. Joker wizards Joaquin Phoenix, who gives an awe-inspiring performance as Arthur Fleck, a mentally ruffled would-be stand-up comedian who becomes the titular gunman clown.
Joker makes residence in the Gotham City of the early 1980 s, which is a metropolis gripped in crime, poverty, unemployment, and madnes. As Fleck ekes out a appalling living as a clown-for-hire, his elderly mom Penny( Frances Conroy) dreams that her former employer, billionaire Thomas Wayne( Brett Cullen ), will save her and Arthur from their squalor. However, Penny saved her ideology that Wayne is Arthur’s father a secret from him, which is one of the breaking point that pass Arthur to become the Joker. Another is the constant victimization and corruption Arthur tolerates because of the neurological provision he suffers from that reasons him to roar hysterically at inopportune moments; this led to Arthur being assaulted on a subway civilize and Fleck murdering his attackers in reprisal – an act of violence that inspires riotings in Gotham where the ‘Clown Vigilante’ is held up as a hero to the poor and disenfranchised parties of the town. The final straw that turns Arthur into the Joker is when he’s lampooned on television by his idol, late-night emcee Murray Franklin( Robert De Niro ), which locateds Joker off on a move of viciou vengeance.
Related: Joker’s Ending Explained
Set in its own unique version of the DC Universe, Joker not only graphically images Arthur Fleck’s conversion into the murderous clown but it also positions young Bruce Wayne( Dante Pereira-Olson) on the path to becoming Batman by showing how Thomas and Martha Wayne( Carrie Louise Putrello) died in this reality. As tidy( and deeply disturbing) a creation delusion as Joker is, nonetheless, the controversial film does leave a number of lingering questions, especially in regards to the intriguing potential for love to see more of Joaquin Phoenix’s edition of the Clown Prince of Crime. Now are the major questions Joker has left us pondering.
It isn’t explicitly stated but travelling by contextual evidences in the movie, Joker is set in 1981. Joker’s Gotham City is clearly inspired by the New York City of that era, which was in the grip of urban deteriorate. Further, Joker is modeled after the 1970 s and 1980 s drudgeries of Martin Scorsese, especially Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.
The best style to deduce that Joker happens in 1981 is to pay attention to the film designations on the marquee as the Wayne family exits a movie theater at the orgasm of the film. The two movies money are Blow out and Zorro the Gay Blade; additionally, as the Waynes enter the momentous alley where Thomas and Martha are murdered, they legislate a sign for Excalibur. All of those cinemas were released in the same year – 1981 – the exact year Joker takes situate in.
Update: In interviews, conductor Todd Phillips has confirmed Joker’s 1981 placing, and said he made that preference as a style to further separate Joker from the movies that take place within the DCEU. All prior DCEU cinemas have been set in present or recent days, outside of the World War I rectified Wonder Woman.
The issue of whether Thomas Wayne is Arthur Fleck’s papa is one of the major causes that turn Arthur into the murderous Joker. According to Arthur’s mother Penny, she had an affair with Thomas when she was a maid at Wayne Manor 30 years ago and Arthur is his illegitimate child. Thomas angrily and violently disputed this when Arthur tackled him at Wayne Hall; according to the Wayne patriarch, Penny was “delusional” and was ultimately committed to Arkham State Hospital. Thomas’ account is also backed by his butler Alfred Pennyworth( Douglas Hodge ). When Arthur embezzle Penny’s Arkham enters, he learned that she was indeed a patient there and that Arthur was adopted; his mother lied to him all his life, which led Arthur to take revenge on her.
However, was Thomas Wayne lying about any one of the purposes of his fib? It’s possible; in person, Wayne isn’t quite Gotham’s white knight, despite his public persona as a billionaire donor and Mayoral candidate. While it’s likely Penny Fleck really was a delusional maid who remained fixated on Thomas for three decades, it’s not out of the realm of possible that Thomas could have had an affair with his maid( whether it was before or after he was married to Martha ). It’s also clear that if he did, Thomas has the financial resources and influence to cover up any indiscretions and have Penny Fleck sent to the following address Arkham. Unfortunately, Thomas and Penny take the real truth with them to their graves.
Update: While Todd Phillips himself has yet to answer this question, Thomas Wayne performer Brett Cullen exposed since the film’s release that, in his thought at least, Thomas did indeed have an affair with Penny and parent Arthur Fleck. Cullen says he dallied all his representations with that backstory in attention, and that he discussed his choices with Phillips, giving credence to that being the proposed truth.
Gotham City is falling apart in Joker and when the cinema begins, the Tv report announces the crumbling metropolis’ newest haras: “super rats”, which have infected Gotham’s sewers. However, the super rats infestation isn’t something the movie be followed up with and it gets forgotten as the focus fastenings in on Arthur Fleck’s psychopathic disintegration. So , what happened to the super rats? Did the city manage to exterminate them? Additionally, the existence of super rats in Gotham seems like Joker’s clever nod to an overshadow Batman villain, the Ratcatcher, who movie audiences will soon meet since the rogue( who will be gender-swapped into the status of women) has been one of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad roster.
James Gordon, one of the most prominent reputations in Gotham City, is, amazingly , not mentioned at all in Joker. This begs the issues: In Joker’s universe, is Gordon already a police officer in Gotham City? Most devotees likely best should be remembered that in Batman Begins, Jim Gordon( Gary Oldman) was the uniformed patrolman who was on the vistum to comfort Bruce Wayne after his mothers were assassinated. Fans of the Gotham TV succession also know Gordon( Ben McKenzie) as one of the only good patrolmen in the city during Bruce’s teenage years.
However, many Batman comics offer conflicting versions of whether Commissioner Gordon was already in Gotham during the Wayne slaughters. In Batman Year One, for example, Gordon was a new arrival in Gotham when Bruce Wayne became Batman. In this film, Jim Gordon could have easily been one of the investigators analyse Arthur Fleck but Joker departed with two original courages instead, so Gordon’s absence from Joker needles his whereabouts totally up in the air.
One of the instigate incidents that break Arthur Fleck mentally was when his hero, Murray Franklin, played times of Fleck’s standup comedy and teased him on television. However, Joker makes situate decades before every person has a smartphone and records everything to post on YouTube; video cameras in the early 1980 s were oversized liaisons so how would Arthur not have realise someone was in the nightclub shooting his action? The easy ask is that Arthur was in the grip of one of his delusional fantasies during his act, believing that his stand-up was killing it with the public and that his “girlfriend” Sophie( Zazie Beetz) was in the crowd. Hence, Arthur never realized that he was being filmed and he was genuinely shocked and hurt when he was ridiculed by his idol.
One of Joker’s mind-bending twists is that whole areas of the movie are an expression of Arthur Fleck’s illusions – such has his entire relation with his next-door neighbor Sophie. Beginning when Sophie slaps on Arthur’s door and is flattered when he professed he was following her to their date after his stand-up act, Arthur and Sophie’s little mystery was the only heartwarming part of Joker – but nothing of it was real. What was real was that after Arthur slaughtered his mother, he violated into Sophie’s apartment, fearing her. She prompted Arthur that her young daughter was sleeping in their bedroom and the movie reveals that Sophie and Arthur, in fact, barely know each other.
Arthur is next seen exiting Sophie’s apartment but it’s never be very clear whether he assassinated Sophie or not. A contextual clue that maybe he didn’t is later, Fleck didn’t murder Gary( Leigh Gill) because the little party was the only clown at his workplace who was nice to him. Did Sophie, who was at best sincere and smiled at Arthur in the elevator, also flee fatality for being “nice” to him? The movie doesn’t say. But maybe, if she lived, Sophie called the police about Arthur, which could be another reason why Detectives Garrity( Bill Camp) and Burke( Shea Whigham) returned to Arthur’s apartment building to talk to him again.
Update: This particular question has now been definitively answered by both Joker conductor Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher. Joker did not kill Sophie or her daughter , as neither had wronged him in any way. The dialogue actually included a cutaway to Sophie watching Arthur’s performance on Murray Hamilton’s show, but Phillips chose to leave her fate a bit more ambiguous onscreen.
Canonically, in Batman comics, the movie that the Waynes watched right before Thomas and Martha are assassinated in Crime Alley is The Mark of Zorro. Since it’s set in 1981, Joker’s bizarre twist is that the elder Waynes died after watching the Zorro movie that happened to be released that time: Zorro the Gay Blade. In this weird, comedic take on Zorro, George Hamilton represents the dual capacities of Don Diego Vega( who is secretly Zorro) and his flamboyantly homosexual twin friend Ramon Vega, who too goes by the name Bunny Wigglesworth. When Diego is injured, Ramon/ Bunny usurps the mantle of Zorro but with some reforms, like employing a flog instead of a sword and wearing different, garishly colored Zorro costumes.
It all begs the question of why Thomas and Martha made Bruce, who was a pre-teen, to see Zorro the Gay Blade in the first place? The controversial content of the movie digression, Zorro the Gay Blade was, astonishingly , rated PG and it was a comedy. Regardless, as a Zorro movie, little Bruce would have probably wanted to see it. Meanwhile, the other movies playing at that theater, Blow out and Excalibur, are rated R and not appropriate for young Bruce Wayne.
Joker is a standalone character study of the Clown Prince of Crime and Todd Phillips’ film is not is linked to any past or future Batman movie, but Joker does lay out the start of Batman. The murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne are depicted for the fourth time in a movie but because Joker is Arthur Fleck’s story, the audience is left to assume the events of this universe unfold as they are able to and that about 15 years later, Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. However, while the Dark Knight’s rise in the future is probably set in stone, Joker is peculiar enough that followers will understandably wonder what other inconsistencies to Batman’s legend would reveal in this universe.
An intriguing possibility that Joker leaves open-ended is whether Arthur Fleck is soon to be the Joker who faces Batman in the future – or did he instead arouse someone else to become the Joker( a scenario same to what played out in the Gotham TV series )? The glaring concern is simply the age difference between Fleck and Bruce Wayne; it’s never stirred explicit how aged Arthur is in Joker( Joaquin Phoenix is 44) but he’s vastly older than Bruce Wayne so, in 15 -2 0 years, how could Arthur be the nemesis of Batman?( Although, in Batman 1989, Jack Nicholson was 52 when his Joker faced off against Batman played by Michael Keaton, who was 38 ).
Still, it’s possible that instead, the as vigilante rampages at the end of Joker left a permanent blemish on the subconsciou of countless Gotham citizens so that, when Batman appears several years later, someone else( maybe even the three men in the clown mask who shot the Waynes) usurps the name of the Joker. Unless there’s a sequel that plies written answers, anything is possible in this version of the DC Universe.
Update: Joaquin Phoenix himself says that, at least according to him, Arthur Fleck is the real Joker. He did however say he appreciated how the cinema leaves things ambiguous enough on that point to allow fans to formulate their own theories.
Joker’s shocking aim posits what could be the biggest joke of all on publics: some followers formulate that the part movie was Arthur Fleck’s big delusion and the only scene that is ‘real’ is the ending interrogation of Fleck by an Arkham psychiatrist( April Grace) – whom he then slaughters because he’s loose and leaving gory footprints in the hallway before a security guard shoots him. Before the doctor was killed, she invites him what he’s laughing about and Arthur alludes to “a joke” – is Arthur delighted because everything the gathering appreciated in the film was a depraved fantasy?
If – and it’s a still a big if – the events in Joker surrounding Arthur’s disturbing origin truly has only just been a joke, that does open up some intriguing alternatives: including the potential that the final panorama of Joker is actually happening in the present day, which would open the door for Joaquin Phoenix’s slaying buffoon to possibly meet Batman( Robert Pattinson ) sometime in the future. However, this is just a theory and, unless DC Films announces otherwise, it’s safest to just see Joker as exactly what it purports to be – an ancestry story for the Clown Prince of Crime that stands apart in its own universe.
Joker has already proven to be a massive been struck by opening at number one at the box office with a $93 million introduction weekend, placing a brand-new October record. Currently, head Todd Phillips and ace Joaquin Phoenix stand by their intent to spawn Joker a one-off and there is no sequel planned by Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films. However, money talks loudest of all in Hollywood and with a smash as big as Joker, it’s not unreasonable to think a sequel will eventually be made. After all, Phillips constructed two sequels to The Hangover and, with Joker’s popularity( despite its dispute ), devotees outcry may demand to see more of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, whether it’s in Joker 2 or in a proper Batman movie, regardless of continuity. But, ultimately, time will tell.
Update: On November 20, 2019, it was reported that a Joker sequel was happening, with both Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix returning. However, Phillips later said he has yet to even discuss a potential sequel with Phoenix , squashing that report.
Read more: screenrant.com