So far the opinion of Joker is that it’s going to be a smash hit, but there are still those of us out there that are looking at things from different angles and wondering just what in the heck is going on with this movie. If people are getting pissed off by this movie, and there are already likely some folks that aren’t too happy, it might have something to do with the fact that this doesn’t connect to Batman, or it could be that the Joker image is being given what amounts to a very emaciated origin. According to Brandon Russell of Techno Buffalo the director, Todd Phillips, is well aware that he’s doing this and it’s going ahead anyway since the idea seemed sound to him and obviously it seems sound to others as well.
To be fair on this matter it is innovative and it is taking an idea, with permission, that has been highly debated for years. Alan Kistler from Polygon reminds us that the Joker has more than one origin story and in a big way it’s up to the fans when it comes to which one they want to believe. He’s even had a couple of different origins thrown into the movies and animated shows as well just to mix it up a bit. The point is that the Joker is a very ambiguous character since he’s been around long enough to keep the origin of how he came to be a secret and a well-kept one at that, until now at least. If there’s anything that’s really going to piss people off it’s that he’s being given an origin at all since much like anything in this world a good story tends to hold a few secrets back in order to allow the audience to make up in their own minds where something or someone originated. From an author standpoint I can understand this since the Joker, despite his many different origin stories, has been the type of character we love since there’s not much known about him other than that he’s flat out nuts and has a serious hatred for Batman.
The idea that this movie is going to take that away is a huge issue since it seems to tell us that our sensibilities as fans don’t matter, this is the director’s idea and he’s going to roll with it like or not. Phillips wouldn’t be the first person in history to do this with the kind of source material that people don’t want to see ruined, but in a way he’s also taking a different tactic by not associating the Joker with the DC universe even though he’s keeping several elements of it. Cherry-picking isn’t a new practice since so many people do this when it comes to the creative process, but it is less than appreciated when it happens to a character that people don’t want to see altered yet again just to satisfy the curiosity of a director, writer, or fans that think it might be highly innovative. It’s true that the Joker has changed many times over the course of his long life in the comics, and in the movies he’s changed immensely as Jesse Schedeen from IGN reminds us. This version however seems fit to bring the Joker back down to earth and make him a depressed, lonely man that turned to crime and violence simply because there’s nothing else in his life. In a way that seems masterful, but it also grounds out a character like this in a big way and is bound to upset a few people.
Yeah, some of you might say ‘wah wah, babies don’t get their way’, but those tables turn pretty quickly when it comes to movies so it’s okay, have the moment and enjoy it. For those that happen to like the Joker the way he was before the trailers for this movie started rolling out don’t get too down about it and don’t worry if it’s not what you expect. The movie could be something great on its own to be honest, since the actor’s that are starring in it are top notch and know how to make a great movie. This movie is pretty much what the Joker might be like in a world where he didn’t have to contend with Batman or any other superhero, and of course was prone to depression and wasn’t as psychotic. People seem to want realism in the movies and that’s easy to understand, but bringing this character down to ground level where his psychoses can be easily measured and he becomes just another person in the crowd seems like a big gamble. For decades now the Joker has been seen as a force of nature, a wild, unchecked individual that had no discernible past and didn’t need one. Now he seems like a failed comedian suffering from depression.