Joker Has Major Connections to Dark Knight, Batman V Superman:
Todd Phillips has brought us a masterpiece in the name of Joker. WB always knew that Joker is a property that will sell like crazy. They’ve known this since The Dark Knight, and that’s why they wanted this grounded gritty & sort of real-world approach for Joker. Jared Leto’s Joker was sidelined right after Suicide Squad, as were many things that were set up by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. But even with the gritty grounded approach, Joker passes as one of the greatest comic book movie adaptations.
Since Martin Scorsese was initially involved as a producer, and Robert De Niro played a vital role in the movie, the callbacks to their old classics like Taxi Driver and King of Comedy were obvious. This film also drew obvious references from Fight Club & Modern Times. But despite all the concepts from these other films and nods to real life events, Joker has major connections to the comics and two previous Batman involving movies.
The rest of the article contains major spoilers. So proceed only if you’ve seen the movie. You’re also good to go if you don’t care enough.
Joker gives us its own Batman origin story. By the end of the film, we’re shown the murder of the Waynes, again! Martha’s necklace breaks, and the pearls fall, again! Burce ends up in the dark alley, again! Only this time, it happens because of Joker. This is a direct connection to the Batman origin story we’ve been seeing in several movies, but the connection with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice comes through Zorro.
In Joker, the movie theatre that the Waynes get out of plays Zorro, The Gay Blade. In Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Waynes walk out of a theatre which displayed movies called Wolfen, Arthur and Excalibur. All of these films were released in the year 1981. So, in these two alternate Universes (DCEU & Joker Universe) there is a neat connection drawn to Batman’s origin story which takes place in 1981.
This Joker origin could actually be tired to The Batman by Matt Reeves. It obviously was a one off event, and Matt Reeves also wants to do his own independent trilogy. But, he could continue the story after the way Joker sets up Bruce’s future in this Universe. One could argue that by the time Bruce will be Batman, Joker will be very old. This argument could be countered by saying that someone else takes up the mantle of Joker in the future. Nevertheless, Matt Reeves could bring in his own Joker anyway.
Let’s get back to the topic. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t the only movie that Joker connects to. Apparently, we see a major link between Joaquin Phoenix & Heath Ledger’s Joker. At the very end of the film, Arthur Fleck stares out of the police car window, looking at all the chaos that he has caused. That’s when he feels free, and we saw a similar moment in The Dark Knight when the Joker escapes.
Then the police car carrying Arthur Fleck is crashed, and the followers of Joker pull him out. Fleck stands up, extends his smile using blood, and that’s another homage to Heath Ledger’s Joker. This is how the movie defines the true meaning of how Alfred (Michael Caine) described Ledger’s Joker – “Some Men just wanna watch the world burn.”
All these connections that Todd Phillips has used to make his movie are just amazing. Very few films follow antagonists, and even fewer make us root for the villains. Joker was a movie where the audience actually enjoys the more crimes that Joker commits as the story unfolds. As Batman claims – every villain is the hero of his own story! Joker & Thanos (from Infinity War) are the true embodiments of this line.
We hope that Hollywood does start to focus more on villains as well.