An excerpt from my script review for Joker which will be available 10/7/19:
3.) Quality of Characters
The Captain raised the question in our 4 way email group (that ironically has a member named 3way) on whether Arthur was destined to become the Joker or if it was just a series of shitty circumstances that pushed an unstable individual over the edge.
I can see valid arguments being made on both sides, and I’ll let him weigh in on it during his movie review of the project, but here’s my take…
From the basis of the script, he had serious mental health issues coupled with suppressed rage, and I loved how his laughing fits were parts of the mental aspect, even causing him serious pain.
It’s painful for the Joker to laugh. That’s a unique new insight that would drive anyone insane.
Again, this is only one reader’s opinion, but it wasn’t until he found out the “real” truth about he and his mother that he became the Joker, tossing caution to the wind.
Had he committed acts of violence before? Sure, but the instance on the subway could be argued that a mentally ill individual was only acting in self defense.
It’s not until he discovers that everything he’s ever known about who he is a total fabrication that he topples over the cliff.
Once this happens, we discover the fledgling psychopath that we will grow to know and love.
If anything, again from the script’s standpoint, you empathize with Arthur, even during bloody acts of violence. We may not agree with the ends, but understand how the means led him there.
My favorite part of the script though?
Arthur interacting with a young Bruce Wayne behind the estate gates.
Think about that?
In the script it’s this touching moment where Arthur finally makes someone laugh, creating a real connection with another human being.
It’s written in a genuine, and not creepy (when taken in context) scene of two individuals who are doomed to battle for the rest of their lives.
Some may find it forced, but I argue it was a clever Easter Egg that expressed the notion Joker hints at in the comics that he and Batman are realistically the same person, but chose different paths.
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