Nonetheless, the film has opened the floodgates for discussion on topics ranging from mental health, gun control, to the usual fandom debates.
While the film continues to rake in the big bucks with the idea of a possible sequel bouncing around, we take a look at a few subtle things you may have missed.
Warning! Spoilers ahead:
‘The Killing Joke‘ reference
Although the Todd Philips directorial isn’t based on the DC comics storyline, it has borrowed a few pages from Alan Moore and Ryan Bolland’s ‘The Killing Joke’. While the comic tells the story of The Joker’s plan to kidnap the “sanest man alive” in Gotham – Commissioner James Gordon, and give him “one bad day” to prove that’s all it takes to push someone off the rails.
Apart from the major cues, another hint is dropped when Arthur tells his (supposed) girlfriend that he had a “bad day.”
An entirely false narrative?
After rewatching the film, it is almost certain that Arthur Fleck gives the viewer or his psychologist, a false narrative. Those are particularly pinpointed three times in the film. Once during his therapy session in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene featuring Arthur in his Arkham white uniform, banging his head and cracking a glass window at the facility. We only get to see him dressed the same at the end of the film. Interestingly the time in Arthur’s therapy room and the asylum are the same.
The second is his imaginary appearance on the Murray Franklin show that makes it clear that Fleck is longing for a loving fatherly figure. The other was his supposed relationship with his neighbour, which comes in as a curveball when the lady is shocked to see her neighbour from “down the hall” sitting in her apartment. This has prompted many to wonder what else could be false?
Arthur laughs only once
If you walked out the movie theatre with the Joker’s pathological laughter still ringing in your head, you weren’t alone. “He was always such a happy boy,” Arthur’s mother says in the film, bringing the haunting revelation that in his whole life, he could only express his pain and sadness through uncontrollable bouts of laughter. However, Arthur really laughs just once, during his session with the psychiatrist, prompting her to ask him what the joke was. Clearly amused this time around, he simply says, “You wouldn’t get it.”
Uses his left hand for violent acts
Compared to the other easter eggs floating around on the web, it is noteworthy to point out that Arthur uses majorly his left hand to either pen or perform violent acts. In on particularly grim scene, Fleck is seen peening his thoughts in his journal, that reads, “The worst part about mental illness is that people expect you to behave as if you don’t.” However, he writes with a shaky left hand in a pattern different from his other notes.
He also seems to use his left hand to pull the trigger, even during his well-calculated move to shoot Murray Franklin. Does this mean his dormant murderous side was at play while he carried out such violent acts?
A nod to Heath Ledger and other actors who played the Joker
Although taking a detour from the DC cinematic universe, Joaquin Phoenix‘s ‘Joker’ pays respects to the Jokers before him. From taking inspiration from Cesar Romero’s 1960’s Joker suit to using his blood to paint a smile, thus transforming him into a Jack Nicholson-esque Joker, he did it all.
Possibly the most touching scene would have to be his nod to Heath Ledger’s portrayal. While Joaquin is seen arrested and on his way to jail in the back of a police car, Heath had a similar scene, but he was escaping and having a joy ride in the cop car, fully in control of the situation.