The newest “Joker” film, portrays the life of Arthur Fleck, and shows events that lead him to being the biggest villain in Gotham. Arthur Fleck is described as a middle-aged man, who is seen as isolated and withdrawn from society. He is currently living with his mother, and is often sometimes insulted by others because of this. He is also diagnosed with a mental illness and has a counselor who he talks to from time to time. He is nicknamed as the “Joker”, because of the criminal he will soon turn into.
Although there are many events that have influenced Arthur to turn into a monster, the one event we will first talk about happened because of the place he works at. The place he works at is a clown gig act, so he would advertise for them as a clown, and also visit children’s hospitals. One day he was advertising a business on the street with a poster. As he was dancing and swinging the sign, a group of kids stole his sign and ran off. He chased them into an alley where one kid would suddenly slam the poster into his face leaving Arthur on the ground. The group of kids then swarmed around him kicking him a couple of times and then running off. Arthur was then lying on the ground hurt and emotionally upset because of the way his life was going.
Thus brings us to another point in which influenced Arthur to become the Joker, his own co-worker Randall. One day Arthur was sitting by his jobs locker, and Randall approached him to ask if he was alright after he had gotten jumped. He told Arthur,“ it’s not safe out there,” and handed Arthur a gun in order for him to protect himself. Arthur did not want to take the gun, but Randall was so convincing that he could not say no. The next day, an incident happened at a children’s hospital as he was supposedly supposed to entertain the kids. As all the kids were singing and having a good time, Arthur began to try a new move, as he tap danced to a point where a gun would fall out of his pocket. Everyone around him stopped singing and dancing and were very shocked. Later during that day, Arthur got a call from his manager telling him that he was fired due to this. Arthur was furious and told the manager that it was Randall who gave him the gun in the first place. However, Randall admitted to the manager that he had never given him the weapon. This made Arthur realize that his own friends would even back stab him and make his life even worse.
Another event happened on a live TV set as a famous talk-show host named Murray, played by Robert De Niro, showed a clip of Arthur’s comedy gig try-out to his audience. Arthur was watching it from the hospital TV with his mother and was surprised with joy. He thought that he had finally proved to the world that he can be a comedian, and he can be someone big. In the video it showed Arthur on stage saying, “Ever since I was a little boy I told everyone I was going to be a famous comedian, well who’s laughing now.” The talk show host Murray replied to Arthur stating, “You can say that again,” due to the fact that Arthur’s voice sounded like a little kid, and the whole crowd was laughing. Arthur was already so frustrated with events in his life, but this is the one that took it over the cliff. This is what made Arthur ultimately want to become the Joker.
Later during the film, Arthur would appear as a guest on Murray’s TV show as the “Joker.” He had his face painted, a brown suit, and green hair that was slicked back. When introduced as the Joker, Arthur felt that was who he wanted to become. This Joker version of Arthur, is what made him feel alive for once in his life. He felt that he could not be touched by anyone, and that he could have his own way, for once. As he sat down with Murray, he was very excited because he wanted to get revenge for showing his clip to the world. They we’re having a good interview until Arthur realized that he was only invited onto the show because Murray wanted to make fun of him, AGAIN. Arthur, already built with so much rage and frustration in his life, brought out a gun, and shot Murray in the head on national television. This would then make Arthur feel that he is on top of the world, and this is what would create the super-villain known as the “Joker.”
At the end of the film, Arthur Fleck is arrested, and is in the car on the way to the police station. On the way, Arthur could see that the whole city was on his side as they began to riot and protest. Arthur felt that he was a hero for once in his life, and he felt like he belonged. He also escaped from police custody at the end of the film and which brings up a Monster Theory. It is Monster Theory 2 and it helps us understand this monstrosity by “the monster always escapes”(Cohen 4). No matter what the circumstance is, it seems that the villain will always have his way. Many times Arthur Fleck murdered people throughout the movie and escaped the scene in a flash. These villains are known to be someone who can strike fast without anyone knowing that they had done anything. Monster Theory 6, “Fear of The Monster Is Really a Kind of Desire”, helps us understand this monstrosity by showing us that “the monster also attracts”. This theory relates to Arthur because he had attracted half of the city to protest because of him after he had shot Murray. The people believed that Arthur was right about how the upper class people don’t really care about the lower class. One of the protesters even shot Thomas Wayne, who was a famous figure in Gotham, and stated the same line that Arthur stated on live television, “You get what you deserve.”
It’s clear and obvious what drove Arthur Fleck to become the monster he is. Many say it is the mental illness, but it is also the fact that whenever something was going good in his life, it would backfire on him. For instance when he saw a video of himself on a talk show, the host gave Arthur hope until he realized people were laughing at him. The time where he was having fun with kids and then a gun pops out and gets him fired. Also the fact that his mother lied to him about who his real father was. All of these have a role in what sparked Arthur Fleck to become the joker. Many other monsters are also created by events and incidents that happen in their lives. For instance Jeffrey Dahmer, as he was constantly beaten by his father when he was just a kid. It’s important to realize that even though life is tough, we have to just keep believing and not let anyone or any event bring us down.
Alexander, Bryan. “USA Today.” Oct. 23, 2019.
Joker Film. “Wikipedia.” 2019
Joker: User Reviews. “IMDB”
Brooks, Dan. “What’s the Panic Over ‘Joker’ Really About?” The New York Times. Oct. 2, 2019.
Robinson, Tasha. “Love It Or Hate It, The Joker Movie Presents A Tempting Fantasy.” The Verge. Oct. 4, 2019.