We've been seeing more and more material form the new Joker standalone movie, thanks to the film's current shoot in and around NYC. The last week alone has revealed a major sequence in the film, in which Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck inspires major social upheaval, with Gotham's working class donning clown masks and invading a subway station, to mob against the wealthy elite. As the week winds down, we now have a new looks at a Joker set piece that truly captures the retro grit that director Todd Phillips is bringing to this version of Gotham City:
This X-rated theater setting looks just like the kind of place that we saw pop-up in the grittier Batman tales of the mid-to-late '80s, from creators like Alan Moore (The Killing Joke) and Frank Miller (Year One, The Dark Knight Returns). It also goes to further demonstrate the deeper themes of this Joker movie, which seems to be revealing more and more of a socio-political subtext than many fans perhaps expected. This backdrop of Gotham City reflects the social inequality between the likes of The Wayne Family ("Blame Wayne" is a sign seen in the subway mob sequence), and the working class citizens that are the primary prey of the gangsters, criminals, and corrupt officials ruling the streets. If this is the environment that Arthur Fleck is living in and trying to start a family in, then it's little wonder if something tragic happens (we've seen the hints of that), which ultimately makes a downtrodden man snap and become The Joker.
Alan Moore's Killing Joke has just the sort of Joker origin story that Phillips seems to be tapping into, including a view of Gotham as a seedy underbelly town, filled with destitute neighborhoods, and smoke-clogged dive bars where criminals and gangsters gather and scheme.
The best part of these particular set photos, however, may be the comments about them. This particular set is from Newark, NJ, and many viewers seems to be having quite a bit of fun making their own jokes about how this isn't so much a set piece, as a natural piece of Newark real estate: ("Yet no one else noticed because Jersey always looks like that.")
Joker will be in theaters on October 4th, 2019.