The Joker In Review


They say “he who laughs last, laughs best”; which is loosely interpreted as stating that the final winner will have more glory than someone who had won previously. I guess the end result of what was the culmination of everything that proceeded it, all but defines the tale of victories and defeats suffered at the hands of what is sometimes consider the simple swift transitions of life. Often times the plight to ascension is never fully documented, as we live in an instant gratification society under the belief that you just microwave it and in five minutes your task is completed. Such a shallow take on life is this way of thinking, as the respect for the work that goes into crafting out anything meaningful or impactful often gets lost in translation.  We all are a result of our choices and the philosophies we adopt or subscribe to overall. Our only hope is that there is some sort of moral compass or barometer to prevent hostile flare-ups from occurring.  However, we are learning more and more throughout the years that we are certainly on the cusp of a precipitous downward spiral regarding humanity and the treatment of our fellow man/woman. To borrow a proclamation from Oliver Queen right before he places his suspect in the cross-hairs of his bow: “You (we) have failed this city!” as the collapse of this world seems imminent, as time is counting down like that of a ticking bomb. We are certainly at an extinction level event in the making. Perhaps this was what was behind the clinically diagnosed menacing laughter of Arthur Fleck. Perhaps Arthur’s menacing smirk while being counseled was more canary in the cat’s mouth, knowing that society had become so disturbing to the point that even an anarchist such as himself could be viewed as a superhero one day. I mean he was introduced on live television as a “Joker”, only to shock the world and obtain followers much like we do when we overly indulge on being entertained by reality television. We love being voyeurs to tragic train wrecks as we engulf ourselves in wanting to witness the downfall of people as a whole. Our appetite for self-destruction is beyond shameless, as callous behavior is now rewarded. Arthur Fleck surmised “People expect you to behave as if you don’t” when speaking about having a mental illness. How befitting as people now are entertained when watching people with tragic history live out their lives on television as if it’s a written script when it’s obvious that there is something wrong with their psyche. There was so much to dissect about ourselves when watching the great performance given by Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. Although rooted in comic book lure, the movie offered much more than just a menacing cowl and a face painting accident gone awry. This movie depicted the festering and eventual pandemic virus of evil that plagues our world and continues to aid in our moral collapse. Arthur Fleck literally dances to his own tune, because the world forced him into trying to find peaceful music inside that of a broken mind.  Critics proclaimed the movie was way too dark and decided to abandon the movie early.  It is almost poetic justice in a sense as that was the basis of the movie, people going on with their normal lives and their personal well-being, while ignoring the fact that there are people suffering gravely in the dark corners of everyday life and need help.  It took extreme measures and a wardrobe change in order for Arthur to get his time on stage. All of his asking for help and his trying to fit in as if things were normal, only to be treated as societal burden, all but made him into a laughing stock and a joke. Smokey Robinson sang: “but don’t let my glad expression give you the wrong impression. Really I’m sad, oh I’m sadder than sad…”. Crazy enough Arthur was aspiring to bring joy to others but meanwhile he was depleted and miserable, yet he still put on a happy face. It wasn’t until Arthur started to make himself laugh that he laughed best, but by that time the joke was on everyone else. In an ode to Nicholson I am sure Arthur stated: “Wait until they get a load of me”. Now that is the true killing joke. Why wait until the joker is wild, when we have the means to reshuffle the deck and help others to try and beat the odds as well?  Joaquin Phoenix will receive an Oscar nod for his performance without question as the movie in many ways speaks heroically about people who are down and out and somehow in spite of being beaten, forgotten, demoralized and ultimately cast out of society become resilient. Somehow Arthur Fleck manages to become the Phoenix rising out the ashes to never be cast aside again. A tragic story of self-empowerment but more so a testament to surviving by any means just to stay alive. The Joker is no joke, other than the joke is on us. I recommend you go see it. #now I realize it’s a comedy

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