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Interpreting the Joker

The Joker is one of the most iconic supervillains in popular culture. He has been brought to life via the standout performances of numerous actors including Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto and most recently Joaquin Phoenix. While the Joker has usually been presented playing against the Batman, Phoenix’s Joker is unique in that it provides us a character study of the villain’s origins without relying on the presence of the Batman. But is it possible to define a Joker in the absence of a Batman? Who would he be in that case?

  • I just saw the film and think this is an excellent topic. The 2019 film brings this question to the forefront of any discussion of character's identity. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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  • The Riddler – L:Freire 2 years ago
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  • I'll be the first to admit that I didn't think a Joker standalone would work in any capacity without the involvement of Batman. That said, while the movie has shown there is merit to seeing an origin of his devoid of Batman's presence, I think his absence takes away a lot of the depth of who he is after his transformation. – Ben 2 years ago
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  • @L:Freire This comment made me giggle, given I'm greatly into the Batman lore, and the Riddler to me comes by as both one of the most comical and narcissistic individuals in the Batman showcase of villains. @Ben I think it depends on the interpretations I guess cause could it be taken as a loss of depth that the Joker is the result of the society that Batman's own father was a part of, or the fact that the "killing joke" at the end of the movie is the fact that Joker's actions inadvertently result in the death of Bruce's parents leading to Batman's birth, thus showing that they are both two sides of the same coin. – ajaymanuel 2 years ago
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  • Well, it's like the law of binary. You need one to let the other survive. Joker is the extreme alter ego of Batman, someone who Batman can never be. Batman needs Joker because the latter defines his existence. I would even go as far to say that Joker atleast has an identity in the first place, Batman forms his identity in relation to that. – spriyansh 2 years ago
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