Todd Phillip’s standalone Joker movie is set to open this October. Due to a script leak and recent test screening, there is now detailed info about what the movie entails.
Before revealing spoilers below, here is a one-sentence of the film: it’s a violent, brutal and shocking story that goes further than any on-screen depiction of the Joker has gone before.
Todd Phillip’s has previously confirmed that the film will receive an R-rating and it’s for good reasons. There is plenty of language, graphic violence and there are some some shocking images. In other words, don’t go into it with a full stomach.
This tweet by test screening attendee and frequent plot leaker ViewerAnon, who also confirmed the leaks summarized below, describes the movie well.
Wanted to chew on this for a couple hours before saying anything: JOKER screened tonight. It’s a movie that is casual in its nastiness, a series of continual punches to the gut. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll love it. If not… (I am)
— ViewerAnon (@ViewerAnon) June 12, 2019
What this means
Although The Dark Knight and Suicide Squad both starred the character and had dark elements to them, none of them compare with the events of Joker when it comes to shock factor. Marketing the film and distributing it internationally might become a challenge, but the first teaser and poster managed to capture the movie well while not revealing anything too gruesome.
Joker is also not unlikely to be without controversy. Although movies such as Logan and Deadpool were very violent superhero movies, none starred a character quite like Arthur Fleck. Logan had a clear hero and Deadpool balanced its violence with humor. Joker on the other hand is a very serious, twisted and grounded origin story that might have clear villains, but no clear heroes.
Details for the film are below. If you would prefer not to see any spoilers for Joker, please stop reading right here. This is the last spoiler warning.
It should also be noted that the movie is still a few months from release and some details may have been changed and end up slightly different in the final product.
The film’s plot partly revolves around Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) thinking that Thomas Wayne is his father, but finding out that he was actually adopted and that his parents abused and tortured him. The torture flashbacks are some of the many graphic and uncomfortable moments in the film.
Arthur has a laughing condition which leads him to involuntarily burst out in uncontrollable laughter, especially during stressful situations. Such situations also lead him to smash his head into walls.
He first visits the Waynes and meets a young Bruce and Alfred, but later finds out the truth about his past after tracking Thomas Wayne down inside a restroom at an event. There, Wayne beats Arthur up for stalking his son and bursting into laughter about it.
Arthur later verifies his past through medical documents obtained at Arkham Asylum. After finding out the truth, Arthur murders his own mother in one of the film’s many uncomfortable moments. This is where he delivers one of the trailer’s lines, “I’ve used to think my life was nothing but a tragedy, but now, now I realize it’s all just a fucking comedy.”
Throughout the film, Arthur writes jokes and thoughts into a notebook intended for his therapist. That therapist shuts down and blames people such as Thomas Wayne for it, leading to Arthur getting cut off his medicine.
One of Arthur’s abusive co-workers at a clown agency attempts to get him fired and sets him up with a gun. Arthur accidentally drops the gun at a children’s hospital and finally loses his job.
Reflecting his firing in a subway car, he sees three Wall Street men bullying a young woman. Arthur enters into a laughing spree, which gives the woman time to escape the car. The three men attack him, but Arthur takes out his gun and kills them. The entire sequence is set under the song “Send In The Clowns”.
Arthur attempts to form a relationship with Sophie (Zazie Beetz), but is rejected. He also tries to start a comedy show, but fails there as well.
During these events, a “resist movement” is being formed in Gotham by people with clown masks. Arthur accidentally stumbles upon one of their rallies.
Arthur gets invited to a late night show by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), who intends to humiliate him. The invitation is accepted by Arthur, who uses a red suit from his mother’s funeral and adds make-up to make himself look like the leader of the resist movement. That transformation happens to “Benny and the Jets”.
The Joker attempts to play around with Franklin on the show, before admitting to murdering his mother and the three Wall Street men. He then kills Franklin with his gun.
He manages to give a speech and officially becomes accepted as the leader by other clowns of the resist movement. His speech is narrated by “Send in the Clowns”.
Eventually his followers begin to commit crimes, with one of them killing Bruce Wayne’s parents.
The film ends with the Joker dancing to “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra in Arkham Asylum.
There are a few leaked script pages, such as the opening scene with Arthur and his therapist as well as pages of Arthur’s discovery and the appearance on Franklin’s show.
Many of these scenes can also be found in the already released teaser, such as Arthur talking to a hospital clerk, attending Franklin’s show or holding a revolver.
Joker opens in theaters October 4.