Joker – Budget of $55 – 64 million – 2 hours and 2 minutes
Arthur Fleck is a clown for hire who performs under the name Carnival. He makes very little but supports his mother Penny. He dreams of being a stand-up comedian but he has Pseudobulbar Affect. It makes him laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate moments. When he is scared, angry, or sad, he will start to laugh and can’t stop. He takes medication and attends therapy sessions. However, Arthur is still depressed. He carries a card to explain his condition if he is laughing too hard to explain. While spinning a sign, Arthur is attacked by kids and they destroy his sign. His co-worker and friend, Randall, gives him a gun to protect himself. Arthur reminds Randall of his mental condition and says he can’t have a gun. But Randall convinces Arthur to take it. Arthur is called into his boss’s office. The shop owner is upset that Arthur left the sign spinning job and didn’t return the sign. Arthur tried to explain he was hurt and the kids destroyed the sign. His boss doesn’t believe him. He tells Arthur to return the sign or it will come out of his paycheck. With his mental armor slowly cracking, Arthur works harder. At a children’s hospital performance, his gun falls out. He tries to play it off but it’s reported to his boss. His boss fires Arthur. Arthur rides the train home and starts to laugh out of sadness. Three businessmen start to harass him and beat him. Arthur pulls out his gun and kills them one by one. He finally feels happy. The next day, everyone is talking about the masked clown of Gotham. The poor see themselves in the masked clown. They are tired of the wealthy looking down on them. They are tried of their neighborhoods falling apart with super rats, garbage strikes, and lack of programs. Now people are donning clown masks as they riot the streets of Gotham. Arthur finally feels heard and seen. But a letter from Penny will spin Arthur’s world out of control and into the truth of his whole life. All he has left to do is smile.
This is what DC Comic movies are supposed to be. Rotting in the darkness and depravity of humanity while turning the mirror of our sickness onto ourselves. As Arthur is attacked, beaten, and ridiculed by Gotham, he turns more and more into the Joker. As Gotham breaks down into chaos and corruption, it feeds into the Joker ideal. So, which came first. Did Gotham slip into chaos create the Joker? Or was Joker always there and he brought vigilante justice to Gotham? Don’t be surprised if you laugh along with Joker at inappropriate moments. It’s just the Joker in you. During certain times in the movie, you are allowed to go into his mind and see his sickness up close. However, when you realize what’s going on (like Arthur), it’s too late. Joker will have you feeling a range of emotions as they play with the story of Batman. You will enter a moment of disbelief when Thomas Wayne and Arthur are face-to-face. This is not the MCU, so don’t bring little children. It is rated R for good reasons. The body count isn’t high like The Dark Knight but the insanity is at a level 10 (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). No need to see it in IMAX or 3D but Dolby is a good option. Although, Dolby is not necessary. Don’t stay after the end credits. There is nothing to see.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
Three less pricks in Gotham. Only a million more to go – Sophie
Oh no, I forgot to punch out – Arthur
That’s life – Murray
I know. And it’s beautiful – Joker
Don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian – Penny