“THEY LAUGH AT ME BECAUSE I’M DIFFERENT. I LAUGH AT THEM BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL THE SAME”. – THE JOKER
As a new clown prince of crime emerges from the depths of Hollywood with an all-new the Joker movie, we are falling in love with Batman’s twisted arch-nemesis all over again. The devious and sinister criminal mastermind has been a fan favorite since his debut in Batman comics in 1940. Even if you are not a comic book fan, you surely know who The Joker, especially if you are into superhero movies.
Whether you are a fan of Heath Ledger’s anarchist Joker, Cesar Romero’s naughty clown, Jack Nicholson’s homicidal maniac, Jared Leto’s gangster clown or Mark Hamill’s mind-blowing animated Joker, you simply cannot ignore the magnetic charisma of the sociopathic murderer. And with a new the Joker movie, Joaquin Phoenix has introduced us to an all-new gritty version of the Joker that will let our imaginations run wild.
But why is a deceiving, lunatic supervillain more popular than most heroes? Why do we love the Joker so much? And what can we learn from the king of chaos to make our seemingly normal lives better?
Let’s take a look.
Laughing a new sinister laugh
Although the new Joker movie featuring Joaquin Phoenix is still based on characters
from DC Comics, it is a loose adaptation of the original Batman villain. The movie has a slightly different origin story and is a standalone movie. It is more of a character study of a person named Arthur Fleck with mental health issues who becomes The Joker. However, this boundary-breaking movie will surely garner some new fans for our favorite clown. And with the growing fear of clowns across the US, this 2019 the Joker movie couldn’t have come at a better time.
Even though this movie deviates somewhat from the comics, most of the other Batman movies with the joker have more or less stayed true to the original story from the comics.
So who is the real Joker?
“Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” – Life lessons from The Joker
The Joker was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger & Jerry Robinson for the debut Batman comics issue. Although a number of backstories have been told throughout the years in comics and movies, the origin story in Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke is considered to be the definitive backstory of the Joker.
One day, an unnamed engineer decides to quit his job at a local chemical company as he dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. As he fails to make a career as a comedian, he soon becomes desperate to financially support his pregnant wife. Finding no other way out, he agrees to help a few criminals rob a playing card company, right next to the chemical plant he used to work at.
However, before they could execute their plan, his wife and unborn child die in a household accident. Shocked and grief-stricken, the failed comedian refuses to help the criminals with their plan. But he is forced to keep his commitment and is made to wear a mask of the notorious Red Hood to divert attention.
Their attempt gets foiled when Batman interferes and stops the criminals. In an attempt to escape Batman, then comedian jumps into a vat of chemicals and escapes. However, to his horror, the deadly chemical permanently damages him mentally and physically. With his facial disfigurement and the death of his family, the comedian becomes insane and becomes The Joker.
“LIKE ANY OTHER COMEDIAN, HE USES WHATEVER MATERIAL WILL WORK.” – BATMAN
The psychology of The Joker
This guy is certifiably insane. A rebel without a cause, the Joker is a murderous lunatic who loves creating chaos just for the love of it. Even though he doesn’t have any super powers, he is still the most dangerous villain. And this is portrayed even in the Joker movie 2019.
“INTRODUCE A LITTLE ANARCHY. UPSET THE ESTABLISHED ORDER, AND EVERYTHING BECOMES CHAOS. I’M AN AGENT OF CHAOS.” – THE JOKER
The definition of evil, the joker is more than just a psychopath. He is the yin to Batman’s yang. He is a genius who feels a wide range of emotions. He laughs, he cries, he gets angry and frustrated and he even loves Harley Quinn in his own twisted way. Not only can he make complex and excruciatingly detailed plans, but he also knows how to execute his plans effectively. And he even knows how to adjust and modify his plans instantly when Batman screws them up. He never relies on a single method for putting his plans into action. He has an arsenal of multiple backup plans and innumerable weapons which he keeps hidden in plain sight, like a lethal flower on his lapel that shoots joker venom on unsuspecting victims. Now that’s a criminal mastermind right there.
The Joker is not afraid of anything, not even Batman. Once the villain Scarecrow released his fear toxin on the Joker to find out what he is afraid of. However, it had no reaction on the Joker, who ended up hitting the Scarecrow with a chair. He is not even afraid of death which has been portrayed in several times in the movies and comics.
The Joker doesn’t live by the rules of our society. He doesn’t follow the typical way of thinking that’s considered the norm. He plays by his own rules and does his own thing. He is the epitome of twisted thinking that solely exists on the dark side of the human psyche. The Joker is what we all want to be in some way or the other. A true rebel without a cause who is not bothered about obeying the niceties of our society. In fact, he actively sets out to break away all the rules we abide by to show we are as crazy and psychopathic as he is. This is very much evident during the ferry scene in The Dark Night. He truly believes that chaos is the only truth of our society.
A mad, toxic lover
“Oh, I’m not gonna kill you… I’m just gonna hurt you really, really bad.” – The Joker
Although we may be tempted to think that the Joker is a clown of death and destruction, he is actually a romantic lover. His relationship with his sidekick Harley Quinn is weird and abusive, to say the least.
Who’s Harley Quinn?
If you have seen the Suicide Squad movie, you already know who she is. In case you don’t, Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist who worked in Arkham Asylum and was tasked with treating the Joker. As she spent more time to understand the murderous maniac, Harleen fell in love with Joker. After she helped him escape, the Joker asked her to prove her love and pushed her in the same vat of chemicals that he fell in. As a result, she was disfigured like the Joker and she became Harley Quinn.
Now if that it’s not the textbook definition of a manipulative toxic relationship, I don’t know what is. Although the Joker abuses and manipulates Harley constantly, he has a genuine love for her. When he realized he has strong feelings for her, the Joker tried to get rid of Harley by sending her to space. But how can someone love a person and then mentally and physically abuse her? Well, this is what many relationships are like in real life. And this what makes the fictional romance between the Joker and Harley Quinn even more terrifying.
In real life, abusive relationships are always complicated and there is some twisted reason why the victim is rarely able to leave the abusive partner. There is no doubt that the Joker is an obsessive and abusive lover who never hesitates to take advantage of Harley.
Life lessons from The Joker
“SMILE, BECAUSE IT CONFUSES PEOPLE. SMILE, BECAUSE IT’S EASIER THAN EXPLAINING WHAT IS KILLING YOU INSIDE.” – THE JOKER
So what exactly can we learn from an evil psychotic genius who is a mass-murdering lunatic and an abusive lover? Let’s face it, the Joker is not really the poster boy for inspiration. But as they say, there’s always something to learn from everyone, even the Joker.