What We Learned from the First Teaser Trailer for “The Joker”

Bryan Alexander of USA Today goes into a very astute rendering of the upcoming movie Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular clown prince, but well before he became the criminal we all know him to be. From the first look it’s almost as though we’re being given a psychoanalytic look at the character behind the face paint and just how he came to be. In fact that seems like an accurate description since Phoenix’s character seems to be just a normal guy that’s been down on his luck, is in some ways a big mama’s boy, and has no other recourse but to slowly and surely go insane from the amount of stress that his life seems to accumulate with each passing day. This almost sounds like the train wreck that some people experience in their own lives on a daily basis, without the need to go absolutely, stark raving mad.

Don’t get that twisted, the movie itself, so far, looks like it might be worth a look and could easily be intriguing enough to sit down and enjoy throughout its entire length. Already you can see elements in the trailer that point to the veracity of the character, the fact that Gotham is mentioned, the view of Arkham Hospital, and a few other notable mentions throughout its short length. The Joker is by far not the most stable character in the DC universe and this movie seems primed and ready to prove that on a number of levels. As James Whitbrook of io9 has already stated this s a new incarnation of the clown prince and something we haven’t yet seen emerge. This could easily mean that it’s going to be a movie that quite honestly rocks us to our core and challenges every belief we’ve ever had when it comes to the Joker.

To those that have followed DC for long enough to know, the Joker’s back story has been told in a few different ways, or it’s been left alone. In cinema it’s changed as well until finally it’s been surmised that his origin is something that’s either exceedingly simple and tragic, or so enigmatic that trying to figure it out would fry the very brain cells we need in order to try and understand him. Freeaddon.com actually brings to light the fact that throughout the comics and the movies his origin has been so muddled that people eventually stopped trying to figure it out. Seriously, he’s been that tough to figure out and it’s been driving people nuts for years as they’ve tried to pin the writers and the character down when it comes to his true origin. In some cases it’s easier to figure out Yoda’s background despite the fact that this is just as shrouded in mystery and as difficult to pin down.

In the upcoming movie though it would seem that we’re going to learn that the Joker is just another down on his luck human being that does his very best to get by, to do right by his mother, and to make a living in a world that doesn’t care one bit about him. This of course doesn’t seem possible since the moment he tries seems to be the moment he gets knocked down. You can see the madness beginning to seep out however as he starts to realize just how cruel life can really be and how it doesn’t care about a single person in it if they can’t turn their own situation into something that will benefit them. The transformation into the Joker is likely something that’s going to consume the character in this movie just as it has throughout the long history that the Joker’s had in the comics, though this seems like it will be a slow, arduous process as he seems to fight for his sanity no matter how far he sinks. Eventually everyone succumbs, as seems to be the point in some parts of the trailer, as you can see others dressed in clown face and masks causing trouble throughout the length of the trailer.

This is after all the madness that the Joker promotes, as it’s been seen in the Gotham TV series as well during the rise of the clown prince, the madness is infectious in a way, undeniable and inevitable all at once. The social stigma that goes along with being labeled insane sometimes doesn’t quite hit the mark when it comes to the real psychosis of what it takes to be a madman. The Joker has for many years now reminded us that putting on a smile can mean many different things. But in this movie it almost seems as though it’s going to be an escape from the reality he can’t face so that he can shape the reality he wants. Just a hunch.

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