Saturday, April 6, 2019
Is Joaquin Phoenix the "real" Joker?
Probably didn't expect this topic on the blog of a paranormal romance writer, huh? What a lot of people don't realize is that Mr. J has inspired a few characters of mine. No, they weren't psychotic clowns, and yes, readers loved them.
I can't help that he comes out in my work sometimes. You see, I've loved The Joker since I was a kid. My first recollection of watching him in old Batman re-runs and starting to read comics, I was probably five years old, maybe six.
As I grew up I also became very strongly attracted to the character. That's right, I've got a Joker fetish. LOL How bad? I'd stand in line to touch it. All right? Happy?
Anyway, back to the subject. I have enjoyed Joker in his many incarnations, from Cesar Romero to Jared Leto. Yes, I was even able to approach the often hated Leto performance with an open mind. I kind of dug it. My reasoning for that being, I didn't compare it to anyone else. He did his own thing.
I've been following talks about the new Joker movie for a while. Obviously not closely though because I just saw the trailer last night while browsing YouTube for meditation videos.
And .... I hated it.
Why can't I approach this film with the same open mindedness I gave to Leto? I'm not sure. Maybe my hopes were too high? Or maybe I've just got an issue with the concept. For whatever reason, this particular idea felt wrong to me.
He looked like a sad, and very thin, John Wayne Gacy. Ugh. Where was my low-key sexy Mr. J? For that matter, where was Joaquin Phoenix? This didn't even resemble the actor I remembered. When I first heard he'd been cast, I had serious doubts. Not because he isn't capable, because he certainly is. He just isn't Joker to me. But the more I thought about I reasoned, "He's a good actor and he's pretty attractive. How bad can this be?"
Then I saw the trailer and thought, "Oh, pretty bad."
Everything about it was just wrong. Including giving Joker a definite origin story. Part of what makes him an interesting agent of chaos is you don't know who he used to be, and he doesn't seem to give a damn. Whoever Joker once was is both pivotal (to him), and irrelevant in who he has become. That's what makes him interesting. (HAHAHAHAHA! THE CHAOS!)
Having said that, I have to admit that I do enjoy what the Gotham series has done with the character. And they did give him a background.
In my mind I was already going over many of the things that CinemaBlend's Adam Holmes points out in this article. Joker is too old to be Batman's nemesis. As Holmes states, the Joker in this particular version would be at least 30 years older than Batman, making it just plain odd to see them throw down. (But I'd still watch, because that would be hilarious.)
Also, the Waynes are still alive in this film, making me wonder if they're going to follow the route taken by the Jack Nicholson version of Joker and have Arthur Fleck (still cringing at the name) murder the Waynes. Or, will he be the one to inspire Joe Chill? Personally, I hope they go the Joe Chill route. This would begin to show how Joker has influenced the life of Bruce Wayne, and the eventual creation of Batman. In this case it would make Joker, even more so than before, responsible for "making" Batman. But what about that massive age gap? Oh, and giving him a definite story? Will that work?
I am now, with all my heart, hoping that Joaquin Phoenix isn't the "real" Joker. If he isn't, it would actually make perfect sense. What if this new character, Arthur Fleck, is merely the inspiration for the development of the Joker we've all come to know? What if this failed comedian becomes one of the many origin stories he sometimes tells, rather than sharing his own? (This is, for the most part, the origin story told in The Killing Joke.)
In that case, there will be others. Men who wear the smile and come and go from the face of Gotham. Since these men will no doubt be famous, of course he would know their story, just like everyone else in Gotham. But when he finally emerges, no one will know the REAL Joker. He could be anyone. He can spout off an origin story at random based on the criminal clowns who came before him, still maintain his mystery, still maintain continuity with the established Batman lore, and it could STILL work.
If that's what they're going for with this new film, it's freaking brilliant. Fingers crossed.
Now, I've got a book to write. Lol Feel free to share your thoughts on the new Joker and this theory, or others, in the comments.