Last night, I had the chance to see the Joker and wanted to get my Joker review up as soon as possible so we can discuss the ending and process exactly what happened. I have a lot of personal feelings about the hellfire journey I experienced as I watched the entire film
I want to kick off this post by saying that the Joker was incredibly well done. It absolutely did an outstanding job and was as dark and seedy as the rumors presented it to be.
Typically, when you hear too much of one thing about a movie, you end up leaving disappointed. I hate when people overhype me before I enter the theatre. Their best intentions end up ruining my experience.
So, please read my warning – do not read this post UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE FILM. This Joker Review will HAVE SPOILERS OMG.
Joker Review With Spoilers And My Take On The Joker Ending Upset
By the time the first scene was over, I completely understood the Joker and where he stood in society. Gotham wasn’t some fictitious place. It was NYC and I grew up there.
There were no penguins or scarecrows, no women who could manipulate plants. No deep freeze counterparts. The streets looked like Harlem to me… or maybe even some parts of the Bronx. It wasn’t a fantastical set at all which made this story feel somewhat tangible.
Tangible because I’ve walked the streets of Gothman many times before. I haven’t had french fries thrown at me on the subway, but I’ve been cornered up against the wall by a group of men. I’ve been asked to perform sexual favors for money because “isn’t that what Catholic school girls do?”
I’ve been followed with knives in the middle of the night as I was being flashed as I tried to run home as fast I could after a night out with friends. Drunken fools. Power-hungry men who thought they could do whatever they wanted to because I was young and weak and they were not.
I guess we’ve all lived in our own version of Gotham, right? We also try to shield Gotham from our children. We try to protect our daughters from the things that we’ve seen and the things that have happened to us and the things that we would never write or even say again in a whisper. Not even for a click.
So, the Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix spoke to me because I was a “forgotten” once. I know it doesn’t look like it today. I know my blonde hair and my red lips can be very deceptive, but I have many years under my belt with many stories from a different time that rang a different bell.
And I remember. If I didn’t have a sounder mind, maybe life wouldn’t have turned out this way for me and I think that’s what this story is all about and why this story spoke to me so deeply.
Things I Loved About The Joker
I think I want to kick off this Joker review post talking about all of the things I LOVED about the movie. I actually thought that this was the best representation of a relatable origin story to date. And MAN, Joaquin Phoenix was amazing!
While the big, bang of mobster history, acid drops, alien invasions, and destiny callings are always super fun to watch, this slow boil of the Joker was honest. It was something that was plausible. It could have been me for heaven’s sake.
How many of us have stood in front of an old boss while they were ripping us to shreds with a painted-on smile while slowing falling into disarray? I challenge you to tell me you never felt like that moment – in Arthur’s shoes. Now, imagine being in that position over and over again with a mental disability. How could one manage?
The way this movie approached society’s discontent for people who struggle with stigma was deafening. It was eye-opening. It was exact.
This film should be shown in psychology classes because choices are subtle in day-to-day life but they all add up to huge lump sums that place people on paths of self-loathing and destruction. And these are things that you cannot physically see. We walk down the street carrying boulders on our souls and nobody notices until it is too late.
Imagine all the boulders.
I felt this movie in my soul. There were certain scenes that particularly stuck out.
Moment 1: The moment where Arthur asked the audience how is it possible for society to expect people with mental illness to act normal when they were anything but? How could we put SUCH pressure on people who are not wired the way you need them to be? And then how do we SHAME them when they cannot stand up to the task they are absolutely destined to fail? Shattering.
Moment 2: The moment when Arthur did Tai Chi for the first time in the bathroom after murdering those three men in the subway. It was his way of coping with a very stressful situation but at the same time, it was his way of processing a euphoric release.
He had found something that made him happy – a man who had spent his entire life depressed, alone, stepped on, forgotten, unhappy, and used. And you know what? I was oddly thrilled for him.
I wanted to dance with him because the ACTUAL bad men got what they deserved, didn’t they? Just because you have money and status and power and privilege does not give you the right to abuse who you deem “less than”. But society is set up in a way that promotes these values.
The Joker flipped that concept on its side. He fought back. And is that so wrong? Why is it wrong? Because the world tells us it is? Because the laws tell us it is? Well, what about all the things that were happening to him? Where were the laws protecting him from the system that was failing him? Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? If it doesn’t then perhaps you need to think about that.
In that moment, I thought to myself – burn this city down, Arthur, because it needs a cleanse.
Now, of course, as you follow the full storyline of Batman, we realize that the Joker transforms into something else. He robs and steals just for the sake of it and becomes a chaos creator whose intention is just to mass destruct.
But this movie showed me something entirely different. It showed me a man I would have stood behind if this happened while I was still living in Queens during this time.
He fought for the regular people of the city to some degree – the forgotten. And guess what? They are still out there. It’s just that so many people are focusing on what slim diet tea their favorite celebrity is sipping these days that everyone has lost sight of it all.
Moment 3: The evolving masks. I loved how as he fell deeper and deeper into his psychosis, the masks changed. First, he was just in his hospital clown suit. Then he wore one of the protestor’s mask. Then he painted the paint on his actual face and even put it on his tongue – wanted to get it on the inside of him. I JUST LOVED THAT AND WOULD LOVE TO KNOW IF JOAQUIN IMPROVISED THAT MOMENT. Finally, Arthur died his hair and changed his name.
If we follow the evolution of Joker, he eventually uses acid to truly become the Joker – fully encompassing the character. I thought the masks and the type of masks were almost a main character to the entire film.
When he dropped the fake mask in the train station and decided to show his face – I felt like that was a powerful scene, too. As he ran away from the cops who were getting beaten up for shooting that innocent protestor, remember? The masks were critical to it all and I noticed.
Moment 4: Mr. Wayne was a douche in this movie. Not much of a moment but it was an overall idea. He was an entitled rich guy who maybe wanted to do good but he wanted to do good because he had to clean up the streets and the animals that lived on them. Not because he had a heart for the forgotten. He had to do it because they were a mess and they couldn’t figure it out on their own – those stupid fools.
That was the first time we saw this elitist attitude come across from a Wayne. In every Batman movie, they are AMAZING people. They do good for the sake of doing good. They say every speech as it is written, hit every note, stroll into every function as if they float. But in the Joker, we saw the elite as the forgotten see them and I thought that was important and incredible. The truth is only as you see it.
Two sides of a coin, right? Maybe Mr. Wayne was both. Maybe he said the same speech and the Joker heard it one way and the elite heard it in another. It all depends on the lense you have in your glasses, right? I really appreciated this character change because it made a lot of sense!
Now, Let’s Talk About That Joker Ending – Joker Ending Explained
What the HELL was the last scene about? Why did they write that Joker Ending? I don’t like to have things left up for interpretation but it was pretty clear to me that the entire movie was all made up in his head and that made me absolutely crazy.
As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking about how BOLD they were to put such huge changes into the Batman storyline and introduce them through this Joker film.
My cousin was with me and she didn’t think that the Joker and Batman were brothers but I still did. The way I read the entire storyline was that the Wayne industry had the adoption papers faked/made up and then had Arthur’s mother institutionalized to make the story seem legit. Feels like what an elite douch would do, right?
I think HE WAS the father and she knew exactly what she was saying. I think she lost her mind when Wayne wouldn’t agree to it and then everything hit the fan with the next boyfriend. HOWEVER, it’s all true – Arthur is a Wayne.
So, that meant that JOKER revealed that Batman and Joker are half-brothers and Arthur actually played a part in Bruce’s parents’ death. His protests and chaos revved up the city enough to have someone get crazy enough to approach John and kill him in cold blood along with his wife. So, in some way, it was actually Arthur’s fault that Bruce became Batman.
That is super deep! What a bombshell, right?! That is what I took away from it all. I was sitting there like -WOWOWOWOWO! Look at this freaking movie.
But then, we are in a white room and Arthur is talking about a joke that no-one will get and I am closing my ears and eyes thinking to myself that they producer and writer just ruined my entire night. WHY would they do that? COP OUT! That’s why.
Looking back at the Joker film, there were a few moments that made me feel the whole THING WAS NO true – there was a quick clip of Arthur banging his head in a white room.
The moment where he puts himself in the fridge. He would never have been able to get out of that fridge in the 70s/80s, right? That update didn’t happen until later! That fridge would have shut solid and he would have DIED.
There was also NO WAY his neighbor would have actually been in a relationship with him FOR REAL – that whole thing was FAKE. You knew that because when she went into her apartment, she was like… you’re Arthur, right? Why would she ever say that??? IF she was sleeping with him???? FAKE FAKE FAKE
But here’s the confusing part – if he was truly making it all up in his head, why would he make things up as he was making things up in his head? What is happening? That is so insane and that’s why my Joker Review is making me twitchy and my Joker Ending Explained section is really just an interpretation. Who freaking knows?
But here’s the deal – if you are making a movie about an insane person, I guess you have a little leeway. Not everything had to be a straight line and it wasn’t.
In the end, I think that this is probably one of the best movies created showcasing a person who suffers from depression and mental illness. I think it is powerful and even if you don’t care about superheroes, it will transcend multiple borders.
What I Would Have Changed
I wish he was just born with the disorders that he had and he wasn’t beaten into having them. We’ve had Jokers with all different issues that created them into who they are today. With all the pre-chatter that I read about this current Joker, I truly thought it was going to be a depressed man who couldn’t handle work and society as a whole.
But when I heard about the beatings and severe head trauma, I felt like that truly impacted his current state and that felt very Heath Ledger to me and I was looking for something more unique.
I wanted someone who was just like you and me and who went over the wall. The case that they presented on his file was extreme. Being locked up and malnourished etc – that is not a normal life. That was an awful life. So, I think that sort of trumped the “oh he can’t take the grind” mentality that people were trying to push.
If I could, I would go back and cut that whole piece right out. It doesn’t need it at all. MY PERSONAL TAKE. Enough happened to that poor man where he didn’t need it.
I read that Joaquin will not do a second Joker movie and that made me really sad. But the way they ended this movie, I can sort of see how it would be impossible.
The way they clipped it is hard to pick up as a sequel. They left this one up to our interpretation. Did Arthur get caught? Did Arthur make the whole thing up in his head? What happened exactly? I told you what I thought. What do you think?
Is this my favorite Joker? I don’t know. I think Jack Nicholson is my favorite Joker still but is that because he was my first movie Joker and so he set the groundwork? I know a lot of people are obsessed with Heath, but I still love Jack the same way I love Michael for Batman. I’m old – come at me.
My Final Joker Review Results
I loved this movie in SPITE of the last few seconds of it. I loved the societal messaging it had sprinkled throughout. I loved the looking glass it held up to the audience. I loved how small moves impacted someone in a big way and maybe that is something we all need to consider as we step out the front door each morning. Show kindness even when it’s hard. We don’t know what people are dealing with.
- The Ultimate Thriller Horror Movies List – Must Watch Scary Films
- Drive In Movie Theaters Near Me – Bucket List Opportunity
- Cloverfield Paradox: My Honest Review (AND SPOILERS)
- Interview With Aline Brosh McKenna – Screenwriter Of ‘We Bought A Zoo’
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw Has A Message For Fans Of Wrinkle In Time
- Rowan Blanchard Opens Up About “Wrinkle In Time” And “Still Here”