Spoiler Alert – Joker is a Cinematic Masterpiece


Ryan Lee, Staff Writer

Tom Philips’ supervillain origin story Joker is unlike any movie you have seen before. Be prepared to be devastated by the film. Not by the sheer madness and the killings that are difficult to watch, or the astounding performance by Joaquin Phoenix in the main role as the Joker, but by the vision and virtuosity of the film. After watching this work of art, you will be amazed and will not be able to move from your seat. I think this film perfectly depicts the psychological effects of violence on a man who has suffered his whole life, something that fits the Joker’s character perfectly. 


Joker follows the history of the widely known DC Comics villain and Batman’s main arch-nemesis, while simultaneously presenting himself in a whole new way. With the many great Joker actors like Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, one may think they know who the Joker is. The question this film begs to ask is: where did it all start? 


In Joker, the roots of the “Clown Prince of Crime” is clearly defined. His real name is revealed to be Arthur Fleck, a mentally unstable social reject with a track record of insanity. He shares this with his strange mother who, in the past, has starved Arthur as well as physically abused him. Both Arthur and his mother have spent time at Arkham Asylum. His mother has been proven to have had numerous mental conditions. Not surprisingly, Arthur always seems to be following her path with his negative thoughts and a more terrifying brain condition that produces uncontrollable shrieks of laughter during the most tragic moments of his life.


Unable to maintain a steady job, Arthur supports him and his mom by working as a clown, where he attempts to entertain people on the streets and kids. That is until he was caught with a loaded gun in a children’s hospital. After this emotional setback, he was never the same. Philips does not waste any valuable screen time by getting straight to the problem. Actually, the opening scene of the movie hints toward a foreshadowing of anger and chaos, as Arthur is smashed in the face with a sign and beat up by teenagers in a dark alleyway. And it only gets worse from here. 


When Arthur isn’t killing businessmen from Wall Street, or struggling to become a stand-up comedian, he becomes a vigilante, joining with the corrupt and wreaking havoc on Gotham City. Philips also includes the death of both Thomas and Martha Wayne during a “Joker Rally.” This is the infamous trauma that serves as a catalyst to the formation of the widely known masked vigilante, Batman. 


Many violent acts of revenge occur in the movie, one that will knock you out of your socks is when the infamous Joker finally gets his big chance as a guest star on the live network broadcast of, his hero, Murray Franklin’s talk show. To save some surprises for the movie, I will say no more. All that needs to be said is that this is a scene that will live on in cinematic history forever.


This is a movie you must see for yourself. All I can really tell you is that Frank Sinatra’s song, “Send in the Clowns,” adds some ironic, but needed, humor. Joker is definitely not a movie for everybody, but a whole new depiction of the Joker, and Phoenix’s outstanding performance is definitely a reason to watch this cinematic work of art. As a sick, twisted failure in life who takes his torment out on the rest of the world, Joker reveals the soul of a monster in Hell, in a movie that borders on genius, terrifying, disgust, brilliance and unforgettable.