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  • why does Arthur wear a red suit,doesn't the joker wear a purple suit?
    • According to the costume designer, it was Phillips' idea, to accentutate that the movie (and thus this version of the character) was fully standalone and not connected to any continuity.
  • Was Thomas Wayne corrupt and why is it that he cares about no one but himself?
    • He definitely loves his son Bruce; he punches Arthur in the mouth for touching him, and warns him to never approach Bruce again.
    • He also steps in front of his wife Martha when an armed gunman approaches them.
  • Did Randall intentionally mean for Arthur to get fired?
    • If that was his goal, Randall could have dropped dime on Arthur to the police. He just threw Arthur under the bus to save his own fat ass.
  • Did Murray intentionally mean to make fun of Arthur?
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    • Murray Franklin is a talk show host, meaning that he is part, if not a former comedian. It's his job to throw playful jabs at people. Even Franklin's own family suffers the barbs of his wit; he jokes about his sex life with his wife to Dr. Sally in front of a live audience, and routinely refers to his youngest son as "the not-so bright one". Murray clearly means no malice in these instances, so its likely he didn't mean Arthur (whom he doesn't even know) any ill will either. He invited Arthur to his show, was cordial and friendly, and allowed him to wear his clown makeup despite the social unrest. If Arthur hadn't been so insane and vengeful, he might have actually realized his dream of being a real comedian.
  • Why doesn't Murray run off set when he realizes he is sitting next to a psychopathic killer? Any normal person would.
    • He probably knew that he was gonna die either way. May as well try and see how the maniac's mind works.
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    • Keep in mind that Murray didn't know that the Joker brought any weapons with him, and there were several other people in the studio. With that knowledge, Murray would most likely think that the Joker wouldn't do anything to him, and even if he did, he probably assumed that everyone in the studio would gang up on Arthur. He also appeared to be trying to show Arthur the error of his ways during the conversation.
    • There may be a lot of valid explanations. Murray may have realized that either he was going to get lots of ratings or make television history. Too tempting to let go. Or maybe he doesn't believe Fleck or like someone says below, he is just stalling Arthur for time to get him arrested.
  • Arthur says comedy is subjective, is comedy subjective or not?
    • In a way.
    • Comedy isn't subjective. What makes you laugh is subjective.
    • Yes.
  • Could Thomas Wayne have forced Penny to sign fake adoption papers to cover up the child born out of wedlock? And could he have had her committed to Arkham because she refused?
    • Feels way more risky and dumb than just denying the kid is his. Because now the staff in Arkham and child services know the kid is his and can always loom it over him. Faking adoption paper here means a kid suddenly came from nowhere and got adopted.
      • That's exactly why the most likely explanation is that Wayne was innocent and Arthur's mom invented the whole thing. In order to enact such a illegal cover-up Wayne had to pay quite a lot of $$$ and involve a lot of people in the plot, so the logical question is why not simply pay Penny for her silence?
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  • In Penny's medical file it says she had a lobotomy. Did she have this procedure before the abuse took place and could this explain how the abuse could happen without her stopping it?
  • Why did Arthur shut himself in the refrigerator?
    • No way to know for sure, but he could've been attempting suicide by freezing/suffocation.
  • What kind of condition did Arthur have that made him laugh uncontrollably?
    • Arthur suffers from PBA. Pseudobulbar Affect:
  • Does the fact that Penny suffered from mental illness suggest that she was Arthur's mother and he had inherited his mental illness from her?
    • Since she adopted him, no. It's possible he suffered brain damage and that is what caused his behavior.
      • It's not established Penny's not Arthur/Joker's biological mother and that she ever lied about her relationship with Thomas Wayne. The only evidence are the words of Thomas and Alfred (who would both have an obvious interest in denying that Mr. Wayne had any bastard children or ever engaged in affairs while married) and the papers Arthur steals from Arkham (which might well be sham evidence concocted to bury any danger of Thomas' reputation getting ruined from word spreading of him having an affair with one of the help, let alone that same help bearing him a child).
      • To be absolutely fair, the Arkham case file is more evidence than just the word of a clearly deranged woman. We don't actually see Thomas doing anything wrong (other than being understandably hostile towards Arthur after the stunt he pulled on Bruce) that may suggest he is so amoral and corrupt that he would go into such illegal and morally reprehensible extents, instead of doing what real rich people do when they want to hide old shames (hire a "fixer" lawyer to quietly reach an economic agreement).
  • Can someone explain what the red footprints were at the end along the corridor and then the running about at the end of the corridor?
    • Blood. He killed his therapist and escaped.
  • At the end, what did Arthur mean when he told the psychiatrist, "I could tell you a joke but you wouldn't get it", was he implying that none of the events in the film were reality all in his head.
    • Reviewer Chris Stuckmann theorizes it's because he knows Bruce will become the vigilante we all know as Batman, and it's more or less because of Joker himself. And Arthur finds this hilarious.
    • Another interpretation is that he was thinking of the joke that comic book Joker told Batman in TheKillingJoke . In the comic both Batman and Joker found it funny because they have the shared stance of being mentally unhinged from one Bad Day. Here, the therapist is too sane to appreciate it, so he keeps his mouth shut.
  • Could it be possible that Arthur didn't want Penny to be his mother? And that in that case, he made up the story that he's been adopted? This would validate the murder a bit, at least in his mind. Arthur's been told his mother is delusional and maybe he doesn't want to accept that and live with that?
    • It could be, but at some point we're starting to get nesting levels of reality which can lead to mental breakdowns and nosebleeds. But given the movie's playing with Unreliable Narrator and good-ole' Death of the Author, if this is how you want to look at it then knock yourself out.
  • Has Penny always been delusional or did she get her mental illness because of all the sadness in her life?
    • This is complicated. There's one possibility that she's always been a genuinely disturbed woman, there's another that she was basically set up by Thomas Wayne to conceal his affair, or possibly even a mixture of the two. Ultimately, given the sheer volume of Unreliable Narrator going on in this movie, there's no possible way of knowing for sure. That said, it's likely that Penny's issues have a deeper root cause than mere sadness.
    • Close examination of her Arkham file also mentions that she was first hospitalised for psychiatric issues aged 15. Assuming the file isn't completely a sham, that would indicate she'd had something going on even before she met Wayne and acquired Arthur.
  • When Arthur murders his mother in the hospital, the heart monitor that she is connected to does not alarm as her heart rate skyrockets, then starts to fail. This would cause the nurses to come running into the room. Setting an alarm on the heart monitor is standard medical protocol in a hospital, especially in an ICU which is where she would have been with her serious condition.
    • It's repeatedly shown in the movie that Arthur lives in a city of corruption and jerkassery. Accepting that, it's easy to accept that any nurses who'd be required to step-in were just busy (generous) or neglectful/incompetent (worst).
    • While the city is a Wretched Hive, to assume that everyone in it is either corrupt or lazy and shiftless is perhaps getting into Arthur's nihilistic viewpoint a bit too closely. Another possibility exists; the movie makes a point of establishing that the city's budget is practically nonexistent and funding for city services has been slashed to the bone. This would presumably also include the hospitals. Simply put, there probably aren't enough nurses on staff at the time to cover all the stations and respond to all the alerts, affording Arthur an opportunity he might otherwise not have in a better healthcare system.
  • If Penny and her boyfriend abused Arthur when he was little and she was incarcerated, why would Arthur want to live with her wouldn't he have been separated from her by the state?
    • Keyword: If. It might be that indeed Arthur is Thomas' biological son, and the records are lies to bury Wayne's affair with ones of his workers.
    • He likely repressed a lot, even buying the Thomas is actually his father theory that still means we have no idea where Arthur was when she stayed at the asylum, how he contacted her and ended up living with her. If the document is a fake or not does not change that he would have been taken by child services for a while yet in his daydream he says he always lived with his mom as the only man of the family. It's not impossible he just never met her again until he was an adult after she was committed rightfully or not and tried to live back a fantasy.
    • Penny probably didn't stay at Arkham longer than was absolutely necessary to get some crude electroshock treatments; while she was there, Arthur was most likely holed up in an orphanage. Once she got out and was pronounced "cured", he would've been returned to her custody immediately and grown up being unable to remember that there was ever a time he wasn't with her (repression and outright brain damage must've helped). Social services in Gotham are in the gutter and always have been, so the courts will default to placing children with their biological parents, even when they really shouldn't.
    • Notice that Penny did not necessarily abuse Arthur, but rather stood by as her boyfriend did. Plus, you ought to see actual kids separated from their parents by the state. Often the child cannot wait to be reunited with his parent(s) no matter what happened.
  • Why did Arthur do the shooting gesture to Sophie in her apartment?
    • Because she did it in the elevator.
    • I interpreted it as him threatning her if she told anyone he was in her apartment.
  • Did Arthur kill Sophie or no?
    • It's left ambiguous. It’s possible he didn’t. Up until that point Arthur has only been killing people he perceived as responsible for his crappy situation (his mother, Randall, subway attackers). He wasn't even going to kill Murray until he kept provoking him. Even though she's frightened she still acts quite nice to Arthur (offering to get his mother) and even though she could call the police, Arthur doesn't seem to be thinking that far ahead still (he let Gary go despite every chance he'd call the cops).
    • The cinematographer said he intended for Sophie to remain alive, but that it's up to interpretation.
    • He could've just spooked her out by making a threatening gesture or word with her calling for help to make sure he doesn't come back once he was safely away. It'd go in line with him sparing his dwarf "friend" but address the sirens and shouting (perhaps it was Sophie's husband).
    • Confirmed by Phillips that Arthur didn't kill Sophie: “He doesn’t kill her, definitively. As the filmmaker and the writer I am saying he doesn’t kill her."
  • Was Sophie actually a real person, or was she just all just in Arthur's head to begin with?
    • Sophie was real, but only his first meeting with her in the elevator, the stalking and her final scene in her apartment (when she questions him about his name) happened. Everything between that was in his head.
  • Was the whole movie a reality, or was all just in Arthur's head and he was incarcerated the whole time?
    • Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. And maybe you should pick and choose.
  • Murray Franklin acts like a complete idiot at the end of the movie. Arthur is clearly unstable and wears the terrifying clown makeup, but Franklin never screens him for weapons. As the show starts, Franklin keeps talking to him as he begins a nihilistic rant and starts implicitly threatening him, rather than run or call security, resulting in his death. Especially considering the tense situation in Gotham at this time, why on earth didn't Franklin screen Arthur or leave when it was clearly going south on him?
    • The same reason the Waynes are apparently dim enough to go see Zorro in the middle of a city-consuming riot against the upper class. Also, Arthur doesn't seem inherently unstable at first — when they meet he's just an enthusiastic fan, and based on the footage he played Arthur is just incredibly awkward and sad; it's arguably not clear until it's too late that Arthur is actually a danger.
      • Taking the Wayne parents' deaths at face value, they only died since one of the stray rioters actively followed after them. They weren't caught in the core of the riot.
      • Also, to give the Waynes some credit, it's far from impossible that they entered the city well before the riots started, only to get caught up in the chaos. We see them exiting a cinema; the clear implication is that they were inside watching a movie before the riots exploded. Essentially, they had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • Also — and this may seem like a cop-out, but — Unreliable Narrator is at play here. The entire ending, after all, plays like a deranged and alienated man's ultimate fantasy — he publicly gets even with everyone who ever humiliated him, murders a famous celebrity live on national television, and not only does everyone love him, he inspires a mass movement that seems to worship him. A key point of the movie is that it gradually becomes clear that we cannot entirely trust anything we've seen. After all, Arthur's delusions invent an entire romantic subplot that turns out to have only been in his head. While some version of these events may have happened, there's no concrete evidence that they played out in any way like we see in the film, they could just be what Arthur believes / wishes happened. For all we know, Arthur never shot Murray Franklin at all, and is locked up at the end for one of the many other things we see him do, or something else entirely.
    • I noticed that the show's director made a "cut" gesture in the background, meaning camera feed was probably cut off and somebody may have at least tried to slip out and find a phone to call the police. (Early eighties, no cell phones.) Meanwhile, Murray was doing what he was best at. He talked to the madman, let him have his rant, give him attention, be entertaining and engaging. In doing this, he kept Joker's attention on him and off the audience and other two guests. Maybe what he does could be seen as less idiotic and more heroic in that light. "Not all people are awful."
    • Also, Murray seems to understand that Arthur isn't actually insane like other interations of the Joker. It's clear that Arthur is a jackass trying to justify his crimes, and hell, as far as Murray can tell, Arthur is pretending to be the subway murderer to gain attention. He asks several times to get Arthur to confirm that he's the killer. He would expect his crew to be running for help at this point as his stage manager was questioning whether or not Arthur was a good guest to have. Murray had no way of knowing Arthur had his gun on him. Perhaps he even expected his crew to check for weapons, but they slipped up. It could be that it's someone else's fault Murray got killed because his team didn't up security on the show like they really should have.
      • Your claim that Arthur isn't "insane" (you should say he doesn't have a legitimate mental disorder or doesn't have a personality construct that leads to him engaging in criminal behavior like psychopathy) ignores the following:
      • A. Insanity is a legal term, not a medical term.
      • B. The Joker as depicted in his iconic appearances like Batman: The Animated Series or The Dark Knight or The Man Who Laughs or even his first appearance wouldn't qualify as legally insane since he's repeatedly shown awareness of his actions, enough functionality (can command a gang, amass a rather large amount of resources and weaponry), manipulate others effectively, and otherwise shows no believable court would accept an insanity plea for him (ultimately revealing that Batman's writers over all these years either have no idea how law works or do but ignore it out of necessity since the Joker needs a contrivance to address both how he's written as more of a plot device than a character and how he's hasn't been sentenced to death or just killed by the cops).
      • C. Assumes that the claim that Arthur is a "jackass justifying his crimes" doesn't apply to just about every other depiction of Joker giving edgy speeches on chaos and society and man's cruelty to man (like in the already Dark Knight or The Killing Joke)
      • D. Men who are actually diagnosed as behaviorally abnormal don't turn into supervillains who amass bodycounts rivaling tinpot dictators (without getting the death penalty or just shot by the cops), at least when they should have no countries to back them (as you'd expect from a Castro or Franco). Indeed, the experts on mental health who did discuss the film actually found it rather realistic in its portrayal of both the struggle of being mentally ill and how others treat them (a combination of not wanting them around and cheap pity).
      • E. The whole point of the movie is to examine both what the Joker has become (a plot device supervillain who kills off kindergartens and enacts master plans impacting an entire metropolis just from being "crazy") and how a city like Gotham can be the eternal murder pit it is in canon (calling out urban decay, selfish/cheap do-gooder elites, putting the bottom line ahead of helping men like Arthur) by showing him as someone who legitimately needs help (instead of treating his abnormality as a superpower that more or less never impedes him), and accidentally taking advantage of simmering problems in his city rather than acting out some master plan. You aren't supposed to see him as flat-out "justified", nor dismiss him as just "evil" and so don't have learn about him or see where he's coming from.
      • Also, any reading of this particular version of the Joker which is based on the supposition that he's just a jerk... seems to be quite a misreading of this particular version. There is ample evidence in this film that the Arthur Fleck Joker is, at the very least, a deeply disturbed individual.
  • How would Arthur and Bruce's rivalry work in the future? Arthur will be an old man by the time Bruce becomes the dark knight.
    • As it is a stand-alone Joker is able to avoid this problem; while this discussion might be better for WMG, some possibilities are:
      • 1) Joker is not a physical threat by that point, simply a supervillain who uses traps, bombs and psychotically loyal goons.
      • 2) Arthur’s actual age isn’t as old as Phoenix and he just looks that way because he’s unwell and a smoker; Fleck could begin taking care of himself and be a villain for a very young Batman (depending on Canon Batman starts at 25, so if Fleck is just an old looking 35, he would be 52 when “Year One” takes place). 2b) would be Batman starts even younger, similarly to how the show Gotham is running, with a 40-something Joker a realistic threat to a teenage Bruce. And finally...
      • 3) The name joker ends up being a title that Gotham’s craziest, most dangerous and influential criminal takes over; this would allow for a “Jokerverse” where each style of Joker gets his day. Failed comedian turned anarchist murderer, mob boss using the insanity plea, a pure force of chaos and evil — Gotham’s dark side personified.
      • Word of God also indicates that this isn't necessarily The Joker we're seeing here. It could just be a Joker.
    • Do I have to point out Jack Nicholson's Joker being a grown man when his Batman was a little boy? Or Batman Beyond where the Joker was an artificial mind using an older Tim Drake. Assuming Arthur is no younger than 30, Bruce can face him when he's in his early twenties where the Joker would be much older but not a geriatric.
    • Also, this is an Elseworlds version of the story. In this universe, there is a Joker. There will (implicitly) be a Batman. But it does not follow that the Batman who exists in this universe will have the Joker as an arch enemy. The twain may simply never battle each other in this version of the story.
    • Plus, this film does not give any certainties that in this version of Gotham City there will be any Batman in the future.
    • As the film points out, he's been taking a lot of medication in which the side effects(loss of appetite, nausea, etc.) could account for his emaciated look. For all we know, he may be a naturally fit man. Fit enough to withstand punishment from a martial-artist the size of a small linebacker like Batman and, using unorthodox offense, also able to deal damage to him. Joker, the character, never seemed like the type to workout but we also never see the character in any version exhibiting any "bad habits" like drug use. Once he gets back right, he may be the type of man that's a physical threat well into middle age which is key. Assuming that this Batman does start at 25, that means he'll begin in about 12-14 years roughly. If this Joker is younger than he looks, lets say he's 35, that means he'd be 47-49 when Batman makes the scene.
  • The 3 guys in the subway attacked Arthur first. Couldn't he tell the cops he killed them in self-defense?
    • The first two, arguably very true. But the third guy is already wounded and running away. That’s murder in most jurisdictions. Plus, Arthur isn’t allowed to own a gun— so he’d go down for that at least. And that’s assuming Arthur is in a right enough state of mind to think it all through; he might just be running in a blind panic.
      • Given Arthur is also an unreliable narrator — like his relationship with his neighbour and the circumstances under which he got the gun — it's also difficult to discern whether he was actually attacked first.
      • Then there's him only having his word, a lower-class middle-aged mental patient who has been committed in the past and who'd just been fired from his job for bringing a gun to a children ward, that he needed to defend himself with lethal force from three younger upstanding upper-class businessmen with their well-off families no doubt pressing murder charges and the Wayne company likely backing them in a court trial.
  • Where does he get the bullets? We saw that Arthur ran out of ammo during the subway scene, but then he had some when going on TV. I get the "unreliable narrator" and "some of it isn't real" thing, but he clearly did kill both the Wall Street guys and the TV host... unless everything had been just a dream.
    • There were bullets in the bag with the (there could have been 15-20 or more in there) gun. He only carried the gun with enough to fill the chambers but didn't carry extra. On the subway, he simply used up all the bullets that were in the gun and didn't reload. He simply could have reloaded later with some bullets he left at home.
  • And on that note, the gun is shown to be a revolver (or at least something close to it), which only holds six bullets. So how is Arthur able to fire EIGHT bullets without reloading? Does that just make the rest of the movie after the train scene a fantasy as well?
    • The gun is a simple .38 revolver, easy to reload in the several seconds between when the train stops and the chase reignites, or even on the run.
  • This is so very nitpicky, but why is it just "Joker" and not "The Joker"? It's kind of jarring that Arthur never gets the "the", honestly.
    • He's like his buddy, sometimes he's called Batman, other times "The Batman."
    • Same reason why he is not called the Arthur by his co-worker or the Happy by his mom, Joker is his new name.
    • Also, Word of God suggests that this isn't necessarily supposed to be the actual Batman-fighting Joker. It's possibly him, but it could be someone who inspired him, or someone who wants to be him, or any number of possibilities. Leaving out "the" introduces a necessary ambiguity; after all, a key part of most versions of the Joker is that no one, not even he, truly knows who he is or where he comes from.
  • When Arthur smothers his mother in the hospital, she's wearing a nasal cannula presumably hooked up to oxygen — how did she asphyxiate?
    • The pillow is crushing the tube, probably the nose too.
  • Arthur and his mother live in poverty, so how could they afford to own both an answering machine and a videocassette recorder in 1981?
    • It's not a car: you buy it, you keep it even if your financial situation worsens. Penny used to work for the Waynes. She could have afforded it then because it was a pretty good purchase to avoid missed calls.
    • The Flecks are poor, not completely destitute. As a clown trying to break into stand-up, Arthur would need an answering machine to get gigs that may come up and that he may otherwise miss if he is not home when they call him to offer him available spots. The videocassette recorder does seem a bit of a stretch for 1981.
  • When Arthur's boss fired him over the gun, how come Arthur didn't mention Randall giving the gun to him because he was told to have it for self-defense? Better yet, why didn't he mention that Randall was the one who brought the gun to work in the first place so that Randall would also lose his job, too? I know it makes sense to fire Arthur because they don't want to put others at risk, but his boss already knows Arthur doesn't think like most people, so shouldn't he have asked him where he had gotten the gun from instead of assuming Arthur brought it on purpose? It was already bad enough he blamed Arthur for stealing the sign after those teens broke it. Does he just not like Arthur? Also, how come Arthur's boss wasn't on his kill list, since he was also among the people who had judged him unfairly?
    • How is that judging him unfairly? He brought a gun in a children hospital and lied by saying it was a prop when asked why he has a gun on him. Even if he throws Randall under the bus how is the boss supposed to believe him when he tries to dodge the fault altogether on instinct because he knew he'll lose the job if he tells the truth? Plus he did bring the gun in the children hospital the same way he started dancing with it and shot the wall it's not something he did for no purpose he did wanted to carry the gun for self-defense even though it's a firing offense if he is caught with it. Arthur can't blame all his decision on other people being dicks or his illnesses; some are the result of his own poor judgement, like not reporting the beatdown to the store owner or calling the cops about it.
    • Despite initially claiming to like Arthur, his boss clearly doesn't with the sign incident having him be prebiased against anything what Arthur says because he is inherently untrustworthy as a mental patient, not even Arthur's heavy bruises seemed to convince him.
    • Arthur may have decided to not bother explaining why he had the gun because he felt (possibly correctly) that nobody would listen to him anyway.
    • With regards to the sign incident, the boss clearly states that this is not the first time Arthur has been subject to complaints from employers over his conduct and, while we don't learn what happened the previous times, it is entirely possible if not highly likely that Arthur genuinely has been at fault for some of them at least, even if only partially. Furthermore, as noted above apparently after being beaten up Arthur appears to have simply wandered off — he doesn't seem to have tried to contact the store owner to explain what happened, or reported the incident to the police, and so on. While this is perhaps understandable, it doesn't exactly help Arthur's credibility. In any case, it's pretty clearly established that this isn't purely the boss being an unreasonable dick, but is the culmination of a long pattern of issues with Arthur that is clearly coming to a boil. The gun incident is just the last straw.
    • And as for the gun at the hospital, even leaving aside the fact that the boss clearly doesn't want to deal with Arthur any more, what else reasonably can he do? The guy took a loaded gun into a children's ward. Okay, he clearly has issues, okay, the streets aren't safe, but by any reasonable metric that's a fireable offence, if only to avoid possible complaints and lawsuits.
  • Why can't the police find Arthur after the subway shooting? He gets at least one call by the police because they want to question him. He's not hiding; he's just hanging out in normal place of residence. Why not get an arrest warrant and bring him in?
    • It's Gotham, even if the victims are rich Police Are Useless is still a big reason why everything went to shit, and as seen in the subway scene disgrunted citizens don't care if you're a cop they'll rough you up so they likely need time to get a warrant and convince cops to go in the slums to make an arrest.
    • Because there were no cameras and no reliable witnesses to confirm the identity of the suspect. The police are pretty sure that Arthur did it, but they don't have confirming evidence yet, and don't want to be made fools because they caught a patsy. They want to slowly roast Arthur with repeated visits until he either snaps or confesses.
  • Whenever Arthur is walking down the streets of Gotham, he seems to stagger a bit on one of his legs, as if he has adapted a limping gait. Is it possible he has a limp due to his abuse in the past that caused him to have it or is it just a really good use of Rule of Symbolism to show a contrast of how depressed and broken he was as Arthur Fleck compared to the more confidently, dynamic Joker who walks with more powerful strides?
    • He is likely still sore from the jumping he took at the beginning of the movie
  • Why are they called the Wall Street Three when Gotham is an entirely separate city from New York?
    • Maybe Gotham has another Wall Street? Kind of lame, but it's possible.
    • The first reason is simple ease of reference. "Wall Street" is a general metonym for "yuppie financial stock broker banker type stuff"; you say "Wall Street", people will instantly get what you're talking about. You call it, I dunno, "Infantino Street", that's not going to be as immediately clear. Yeah, they probably could have included a cute little reference from the comics to make all the comic geeks in the audience feel a little smug about getting it, but that would be at the expense of making it little a bit less clear for all the people watching who aren't as up on, say, their Batman creative teams. Comic nerds aren't the only people watching this movie and they went for clarity over world-building here, anyone who doesn't like it just has to suck it up on this one.
    • The second reason is because, well, when you get down to it Gotham City pretty much is and always has been basically a fantasyland version of the worst parts of New York City anyway. Dennis O'Neil's famous line about Gotham being "Manhattan below Fourteenth Street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November" springs to mind here. For all that the comics might establish a distinction between Gotham and New York, the movies neither have the time nor, really, the need to do so — so in the films, they're just taking that and running with it. So in this film, Gotham City actually isn't separate from New York City — it basically is New York City, or basically a nightmare version of it taken from Martin Scorsese's early movies, other 1970s-1980s pulp crime thrillers and the worst things about The Big Rotten Apple from about 1977-1985 turned Up to Eleven. Just as Tim Burton's Batman movies were set in a nightmare version of New York City inspired by German expressionism. It's just called "Gotham" because, well, it's a story set in the Batman universe.
  • Did Gordon get namedropped by the detectives at one point, or am I just imagining it?
    • One of the guests who is mentioned as appearing on the Murray Franklin Show has "Gordon" as a family name, you may be thinking of that. If the viewer wants to speculate a connection to the future commissioner, they're at liberty to.
  • Why are Falcone and Maroni not involved in this movie? They're responsible for Gotham's corruption, and could provide continuity without interfering with the "grounded" tone.
    • They're responsible for Gotham's corruption according to who? The movie took pains to point out that Gotham was filled with urban decay, elites screwing over those beneath them, lack of genuine aid for the abnormal. In actuality, crime and other forms of societal dysfunction on the level seen in Joker roots in deep, systemic issues. Not just from single men being meanies. With this noted, mobsters like Maroni would just be predators picking from Gotham's bleeding carcass, not the source.
      • That's true that Falcone and Maroni are not really responsible for Gotham's state. However, they're still important players in the corrupt city. Why not include them?
      • Because it's not about them, there is barely actual corruption or organized crime in Arthur's life because it is not a factor in his decisions. He didn't have debt to loan shark, the people that assaulted him did it out of meanness and even Randall felt more like a Gun Nut who wanted to brag about his connections than an arm dealer. Organized crime have little to do with how poorly the mentally ill are treated.
    • Because even if they exist in this universe, Falcone and Maroni are high-ranking mobsters. Why would they have any direct involvement with some failing stand-up comic with no money and mental health problems? Even if this movie were to touch on the mob, the most contact Arthur Fleck would have with them would be some low-level enforcers.
  • Why is his name Arthur Fleck and not Jack Napier?
    • Probably because "Jack Napier" is too specifically associated with Nicholson's Joker, who is a very different sort of person than Fleck is, being rich and quite malicious even before becoming the Joker.
    • Also, while it is a bit of a cliche to cite The Killing Joke, the Joker in general has a Multiple-Choice Past. Calling him Arthur Fleck instead of Jack Napier is simply a way to imply that this is just one of the possible origins of the Joker, not a definitive one.
  • Wasn't Joker supposed to be part of the DC Extended Universe at one point in its development?
    • No.
    • There were (and maybe still are, who knows?) plans for a solo Joker movie starring Jared Leto, but that was always separate from this film.
  • "Because they were awful"? Really Arthur? That's the reason you give for killing those guys? How about "Because they assaulted me?"
    • Because that is not why he shot them, like he gets assaulted all the time and did not retaliate bit now he shoots three men one agonizing on the ground fleeing? He admits there was no real reason to just shoot them dead over that the same way the kids beating him with the sign weren't worth much hatred but he had a bad day and wanted to kill those awful men.
    • Arthur tells his boss he was mugged. His boss fines him for the sign he was mugged for. He relates his issues to his therapist who reveals that she's barely been listening to him all this time. He's fired from his clowning job despite his protestations that the gun that fell out of his outfit was a prop. He is driven away from Wayne Manor despite his assertions that he means no harm. And he approaches his "maybe" daddy with hopes of reunion and gets punched in the face. Up to this point, every time Arthur tries to do the right thing, or at least tell his side of the story, he is met with disbelief, derision or even abuse. So why continue to bother?
  • If Arthur had been abused so badly as a kid by his mom and her boyfriend, then 1)Why doesn't he remember, and 2)Why wasn't he taken away from her by child protective services?
    • He's an unreliable narrator who has a poor relationship with his mother. It might all be a lie and that he accepted the abuse claim since he got tired of her.
    • There’s also the likelihood of (physical) trauma-induced amnesia or he simply repressed the memory.
    • You can forget some pretty dramatic things if they happen when you're young. Personally I've got a fairly noticeable face scar on one side, which I apparently got in an accident, but I don't remember any of it.
  • This page's recap section mentions that at Sophie's apartment, when he realizes he has no actual relationship with her, Arthur deduces that his mental illness is worsening, so therefore "This causes him to believe Thomas over Penny". Where in that scene is this statement made clear.
  • One piece of evidence in the "Arthur's father is Thomas Wayne" theory is the photo of Penny signed by "TW" on the back. But if that really was a memento given from Thomas to Penny, why would it be a photo of Penny? Wouldn't it be more appropriate if it was a photo of Thomas, since he presumably would sign it and give it to her as a small token of their relationship? It seems more plausible to me that Penny forged the message on one of her photos as part of her delusion to build up their non-existent relationship.
  • How was Murray able to air the footage of Arthur's comedy act without getting a release first?
    • The comedy club probably had a disclaimer that they owned the rights to all footage taken inside the club, and authorized the use of the video.
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