Joaquin Phoenix turned in one of the most outstanding performances of 2019 and easily one of the most extraordinary performances in the history of comic book cinema with his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’ record-breaking Joker, a story that plants a modern take on the classic Batman villain in the legacies of Martin Scorsese’s movies The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver and Bryan Singer’s film The Usual Suspects. And while Fleck may have persuaded Murray Franklin to introduce him to Gotham City’s viewing audience as the Joker, if you believe that Phoenix’s unstable, unreliable character is the real Joker, then the joke, it seems, is on you.
According to sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us that Emperor Palpatine would be revealed to be the grandfather of Jakkuvian orphan Rey and that General Hux would betray the First Order in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, both of which proved true – Arthur Fleck is not the man that will become the arch-nemesis of his possible younger half-brother Bruce’s eventual alter-ego, Batman. He is, at most, a sort of proto-Joker, an early victim and embodiment of, and subsequent inspiration for, the madness and sickness that plagues Gotham City. And furthermore, we’re told we’ll eventually meet the real Joker in the inevitable sequel.
Of course, one criticism of Phoenix’s Fleck was that he’s a far cry from the ingenious mastermind that the Clown Prince of Crime has classically been portrayed as, but if our intel’s correct – and we suspect it is given that these are the same sources who also told us Kevin Conroy was playing “Kingdom Come” Batman in “Crisis” – then it would seem that he actually becomes a villain far more terrifying, and entirely by accident. Rather than a calculating criminal who concocts nefarious conspiracies, he’s an unintentional stochastic terrorist, serving as the spark of insanity that lights the fuses of other madmen and motivates them to act on their own darkest impulses. In fact, our sources suggest that further sequels will feature several successors to the title of the Joker, each of whom acts on their own unique psychosis in the name of their spiritual ancestor.
This may all be idle chatter in the end, as the winds of change blow through Hollywood like the Jetstream, but a scenario like the one we’re being told would further serve as a comment on what had allegedly been an early fear regarding the Joker film itself: that it might inspire isolated individuals to copycat the crimes of James Eagan Holmes, who murdered twelve moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado in July of 2012 during a midnight screening of another Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Those fears turned out to be unfounded, but were nevertheless grounded in an acknowledgement of the same psychology that Warner Bros. and DC Films apparently want to explore in potential future Jokerverse installments.
Joker has been nominated for a record eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and can once again be seen in theaters during a limited rerelease through January 24th before the Oscar ceremony on February 9th. The film is also now available on Digital HD, DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray.
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