Before going ahead let’s just put a spoiler alert in place because if you haven’t seen Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, you should watch that first and then agree or disagree with this analysis. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight then you should just put a bullet through your head.
And here… we.. go! Joaquin Phoenix’ Joker makes Heath Ledger’s Joker even more badass than he was! But… I say that because he was just pure evil. He had no back-story or he had multiple stories as he likes! He not only causes a lot of chaos in Gotham but somehow also manages to beat the Batman in his own twisted way. No matter how right the antagonist was in The Dark Knight, there was always Batman who reminded us that there is still good left in Gotham. In the end, when he reveals that even Harvey Dent was corrupted we realize how well thought and evil his plan was to ‘kill the Batman’.
The Dark Knight’s Joker till date is one of the most engaging, powerful and maniacal characters ever written and would be always difficult to follow. *Enter Joaquin Phoenix with a cigarette in his mouth and police in the background.*
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is twisted, maniac, evil, scary, dark but at worst there is something human about him. Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck is going to be remembered for a lifetime. He shows us the man behind the chaos. When he squeaks laughing because of his ‘condition’ there is a part of you that empathizes with him. When he asks for the extra medication you hope that he gets it. When he is harassed by the 3 brats in the subway you do hope that there is a consequence to it.
That’s what Phoenix’s performance does, it makes you hopeful that Joker doesn’t become what he has become in The Dark Knight. Phoenix’s Joker initiates a revolution without even saying a word. But when the revolution begins you lose all hope just like Phoenix wants you to. Director Todd Philips pulls off the evilest trick from the comics. He makes you look at the world through Joker’s eyes and it is horrifying. So when Arthur Fleck finally embraces his reality and becomes The Joker all hell breaks loose because we realize that evil wins and that we had been supporting it all along.
His portrayal is so powerful that after the film was over I was so sucked into his world that I felt like I needed a good sleep. Phoenix’s performance makes you feel sorry for being a part of this society and hence I say…
“Joaquin Phoenix’ Joker makes Heath Ledger’s Joker even more badass than he was! But that’s a victory for Joaquin Phoenix because it’s his portrayal of Arthur Fleck that makes you realize that we – the society – is the reason Joker comes into the existence.”