With the recent hot streak of the DCEU, things are finally looking up for DC and Warner Bros, hence all of the hype that is starting to build for Todd Phillip and Joaquin Phoenix’s dark retelling of the origin of Batman’s arch-nemesis. Of course, technically, the ‘Joker’ film is a stand-alone film not really part of the main DCEU, though I would not be surprised if the whole thing got retconned into the main DCEU if it turns out to be a smash hit, which some insiders over at Splashreport are claiming this could be. A lot of their belief comes from recently released plot details about the film which many believe to be true, which paint a picture of a very different kind of origin story for the Joker.
Needless to say, if this synopsis is true, then you’ll be entering spoiler territory!
Living in Gotham in 1981, Arthur Fleck struggles with his mental health while taking care of his mom (also mentally unstable), a woman who was a housekeeper for the Wayne Family for 12 years and cannot get a response from Thomas Wayne, who she has been trying to get in touch with for some time. Arthur has a social worker that he sees regularly, tends to bursts into weird laughing fits when nervous, and is living in a Gotham that is dirty from a garbage strike and an inordinate amount of crime, desperately in need of cleaning up. Hence why Thomas Wayne has decided to run for Mayor, which not everyone is happy with. After losing his job, Arthur loses it and ends up killing three business-men types on the subway after he sees them harassing a woman and sparks a “resist” movement of the poor against the wealthy, with Wayne as a symbol for the rich. After a disastrous try at stand-up comedy, Fleck catches the attention of the host of a show called ‘Live With Murray Franklin,’ who later invites him on the show. Before that show, Fleck discovers a letter his mom has written to Wayne claiming Arthur is Wayne’s son (making him a half-brother to Bruce Wayne). Eventually Arthur finds out it was a lie, and that his mom allowed him to be sexually abused as a child, so he heads to Arkham Asylum and kills her before fully embracing the Joker persona, going on Murray Franklin’s show, shooting the host, and making a speech which incites a full-on riot in the city, which leads to the Crime Alley shooting of Thomas and Martha Wayne in front of young Bruce Wayne. The film ends with the police chasing and then catching the Joker after he is hit by a taxi, and he is then locked up in Arkham Asylum, where we last see him dancing around his cell, fully insane.
The whole thing sounds bonkers and a definite risk for everyone involved, but according to Jean-François Allaire over at Splashreport:
“I am guaranteeing an Oscar nomination for Joaquin Phoenix. His Arthur Fleck is incredible. For a while, I thought his Johnny Cash would be his signature performance. I think we’ll be proven wrong in 5 months.”
So who knows? It might be a risk that was well worth taking and be a movie that will redefine the superhero (supervillain?) genre after it premieres. Or it could be a colossal flop and seen as a huge misstep. Either way, it will probably be worth a viewing, just to see what they were trying to do.
What do you think? Could this whole plot be incorrect? Or does this sound right to you? Sound off in the comments below!