'Joker' is a comic book movie for people who hate comic books

Everything you need to know about the latest DC movie.

Society is broken and only one man can fix it. No, I’m not talking about Rick Sanchez, who returns from a very long vacation on November 10 for a shortened Rick and Morty Season 4. I’m talking about Joker, the standalone DC supervillain movie that won the box office last weekend despite some legitimate safety concerns and some even more legit criticism that Joker is just a Taxi Driver remake with nothing interesting to say about “society.”

Eric Francisco already wrote Inverse’s full review, and it’s definitely worth a read, but here’s my two cents: Joker is a comic book movie for people who hate comic books. It’s a joyless origin story that peels away all the fun stuff about superheros (epic fight scenes, unexpected team-ups) until all that’s left is some impressive acting from Joaquin Phoenix, a few artsy shots from director Todd Phillips, and a meandering plot that never goes anywhere or even attempts to reveal any deeper truth about “the system” it’s so obsessed with.

Ok, rant over. For everything I didn’t like about Joker, it’s still a comic book movie with plenty of Easter eggs and fan theories to explore. So let’s dive in. And yes, that means spoilers ahead.

But first, answer this question: Who’s your favorite Batman villain? Tell me your answer in this Twitter poll, or, if you prefer, email me at jacob@inverse.com.

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Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Batman never shows up in Joker, but the movie can’t resist dragging a young Bruce Wayne into its clutches. We even get a retelling of Batman’s origin story that includes all the classic elements (a dark alley, Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace, Zorro). However, those parallels go even deeper, pulling from specific comic book moments to create a familiar yet distinct version of one of the most well-known events in comic book history.

Meanwhile … one fan came up with a theory about the movie’s ending that gives Joker an even bigger Batman moment.

The final scene, which shows Joker locked up in Arkham Asylum, seems to take place just days or weeks after the rest of the film, but a subtle clue could reveal that the scene actually takes place years later in a world where Bruce Wayne has already become Batman. It might sound ridiculous, but this theory actually makes a lot of sense. Read more.

Why so serious?

Joker might be a capital F “Film” that just happens to take place in the DC Comics universe, but that hasn’t stopped one incredible fan theory from catching fire. Before the movie even hit theaters, one fan wondered on Reddit if Joaquin Phoenix’s character was the Joker or just a crazy clown who inspired the supervillain. After seeing the movie, this theory makes even more sense considering that Joker ends with its antihero inspiring a city-wide crime wave of angry rioters dressed like clowns. It’s easy to imagine one of those people, or even some troubled kid watching the riots on TV, eventually turning into the Joker who would go on to torment Batman for years.

This theory has become so popular that even Todd Phillips is regurgitating it. In a recent interview, he suggested as much, saying, “Maybe Joaquin’s character inspired the Joker. You don’t really know.” For any fans hoping for clear confirmation, that’s probably as close as we’re gonna get. Read more.

Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?

Joker is a standalone movie. Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t do sequels. These are the supposed facts we’ve been told for almost a year leading up to the movie’s release. But after Joker crushed the box office with an oversized mallet, it looks like that could change.

Earlier in October, Todd Phillips hinted that a Joker 2 might be possible after all, but only under the right conditions. “I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week,” Phillips said. “If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.” Read more.

As if that wasn’t enough, now Phoenix has also come out as pro sequel. He recently admitted that he’s become a bit obsessed with the character, revealing that he’s already talked about possible Joker 2 ideas with Phillips. “I talked to Todd a lot about what else we might be able to do, in general, just to work together,” he said, “but also, specifically, if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting.” Read more.

Personally, I don’t think we need a sequel, but if it does happen, here’s my pitch for the title: Joker 2: Electric Boogaloo.

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