The Mind and Psyche of The Joker

Billy Boye, Layout Manager

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On October 4, 2019, DC Comics released the film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, detailing the origin story of the iconic Batman villain. Following a string of hit-or-miss films, Joker breathed a breath of fresh air into DC Comics, being considered by many as the greatest film they have ever put out.

Joker can be considered more than just a superhero film, however. It delves into the mind and psyche of The Joker and how he loses his grip on reality.

The film begins with Arthur Fleck at his job, spinning a sign to advertise the closing of a store. A group of teenagers run up to him and steal his sign, prompting him to chase them. The teens then knock him to the ground and repeatedly punch and kick him.

This event is the first of many in the film that exemplifies the events that happen to Arthur and how it affects his life. Arthur meets a woman named Sophie in his apartment building, and they immediately hit it off.

While he’s on the subway after losing his job, he has an encounter with three men who make fun of him and then start beating him up, like in the beginning. However, this time Arthur snaps, and murders the three men. This moment in the film is when The Joker is born.

Throughout the rest of the film, Arthur and Sophie seem to be getting closer. However, it is revealed that Arthur simply imagined everything he had with Sophie, which is seen when he enters her apartment and she asks him to leave, scared.

Arthur is a fan of the Murray Franklin show, and he adores the host, Murray Franklin. That is, until Murray plays a clip of him messing up at a stand-up show on the show. Arthur feels he is being made fun of, and when he is called by Murray to come on the show, Arthur devises a plan to kill himself on stage.

This point in the film is when Arthur fully embraces his identity as The Joker, as he confesses to the murders of the men on the subway, before murdering Murray himself. After being arrested, he is broken free by people who agree with his ideologies. The film ends with Arthur standing over a crowd, dancing happily.

The film shot into the instant success category, becoming the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. Joaquin Phoenix put on a mesmerizing performance as The Joker, and his mind and ideologies were explored on a level not explored before.

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