Easter Eggs You Missed In Joker


There’s a handful of subtle references to
films, real-world events, and even the silent art of mime lurking in Joker’s grim and gritty
Gotham City. If you’re still reeling from the violence
and drama of Arthur Fleck’s tragic journey, keep watching to learn about the little things
you might’ve missed. If you know one piece of trivia about the
Joker, it’s probably that he was originally inspired not by the playing card from which
he took his name, but by Gwynplaine, the main character of the 1928 silent film The Man
Who Laughs. In the movie, Gwynplaine, played by German
actor Conrad Veidt, is a child in the 17th century whose father is killed by rival noblemen. Before they put his father in the Iron Maiden,
though, they disfigure his face into a permanent smile, leaving him unable to ever truly match
his face to his emotions. Also, Gwynplaine’s father was betrayed by,
wait for it, his jester, whose “jests were cruel and his smiles were false.” Sound like anyone you know? Fittingly enough, this cinematic inspiration
made its way back to the movies in Joker. The parallels to Arthur Fleck’s medical condition,
which causes him to compulsively laugh whenever he’s under stress, are obvious. It’s more than just the subtext, though – one
Easter egg is a visual nod to a specific shot from The Man Who Laughs that recurs several
times in Joker. Throughout the film, Fleck forces a “smile”
onto his face by hooking his fingers into his mouth and pulling upwards. This is exactly the same thing that the movie’s
doctor does to demonstrate Gwynplaine’s condition. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that
Fleck does this same thing to a young Bruce Wayne when he’s trying to get access to Thomas
Wayne – the lines immediately after that shot in The Man Who Laughs explain that they did
it so that Gwynplaine would “laugh forever at his fool of a father.” Given the dynamic in play between Fleck and
the Waynes, there’s actually way more to it than just the supremely creepy act of putting
your hands in a child’s mouth. The Man Who Laughs isn’t the only silent movie
to have its influence felt on Joker. In most versions of Gotham City, it’s difficult
to imagine a well-publicized showing of a famous Charlie Chaplin comedy that seems to
be attended solely by billionaires as anything other than a terrible idea. Joker, however, takes place before Gotham
is overrun with grandstanding, theatrical criminals who would strike at such at gathering,
so it probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Still, it raises the question of why Modern
Times was chosen for a sequence in the film, and was featured so prominently that we stop
to watch Arthur Fleck as he watches one of its most famous gags. There’s an obvious level, of course; the scene
in question involves Chaplin’s character roller-skating blindfolded, nearly falling over a ledge into
a precipitous fall, a pretty on-the-nose reinforcement of Fleck as a man teetering on the edge of
sanity. If you’re familiar with the rest of Modern
Times, though, you’ll realize that some of its themes are Easter eggs mirroring the ones
we’re seeing play out for Gotham City. This is, after all, a film where Chaplin,
as the Tramp, is dealing with a desperate economic situation, finding himself literally
chewed up and spat out by the machinery of heavy industry. Even more telling is the scene where he’s
arrested and sent to jail before being pardoned, only to argue that he’d rather stay in jail
than go back out and face the alternative. That’s a sentiment that’s echoed in Joker
by Brian Tyree Henry in his role as a file clerk at Arkham State Hospital, who tells
Arthur that some people are better off locked up there than out on the increasingly dangerous
streets of Gotham City. Saying that director Todd Phillips was inspired
by Martin Scorsese in Joker is sort of like saying that life on Earth is “inspired by”
the sun. There’s a very significant amount of Taxi
Driver in the DNA of Joker’s broader plot points, from Arthur getting the handgun from
his coworker, Thomas Wayne’s political ambitions, and the grimy feel of Gotham City. It’s not the only Scorsese picture in play,
though. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 1983’s The King of
Comedy had a huge influence on Joker, to the point where it’s worth your time to watch
just to catch everything that’s going on. See if you can spot the connections here:
Robert De Niro stars as Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring stand-up comedian obsessed with talk
show host Jerry Langford. Pupkin often has vivid fantasies, which are
never clearly delineated for the audience, of being on Langford’s show and even being
friends with Langford himself. “I really appreciate you meeting me for lunch. I know how busy you are, how tired you are…” “What are friends for, Jerry?” Eventually, his obsession leads him to kidnap
Langford, holding him for ransom until he’s allowed to be a guest on the show, where he
tells a few jokes about his crime, confessing to the audience in the guise of a stand-up
routine. If you’ve seen Joker, you should be experiencing
a powerful feeling of déjà vu right now, but the exclamation point on the Easter egg
comes in De Niro himself being cast as Murray Franklin, the talk show host with whom Fleck
is obsessed. Naturally, he winds up being caught up in
Fleck’s madness, even accidentally giving him the name “Joker.” The parallels are strong, even if Joker turns
out to be significantly more homicidal than Pupkin was. The motif of Arthur Fleck dancing recurs throughout
Joker, from his halting, Oedipal waltz with his mother all the way to the final moments
of the film. But there’s one moment where it seems different. After his first trio of kills, when he’s collecting
himself in a dimly lit bathroom, Fleck’s feet sweep across the floor, leading his whole
body into a long routine. The thing is, it doesn’t look like the dancing
we see elsewhere in the film. It’s more fluid, and seems more theatrically
performative. So what’s the deal? You can debate why Arthur chooses this moment
for a graceful dance sequence, but in the real world, the filmmakers could be using
the scene to evoke the fluid movements of legendary French mime Marcel Marceau. If that sounds like a long shot, that’s because
it is, but consider this potential Easter egg: one of Marceau’s most famous performances
was The Maskmaker, in which he pantomimed putting on a series of masks, changing his
expression to match. The climax of the piece comes when Marceau
finds that a “mask” depicting pure, wide-eyed joy has become stuck on his face. He struggles to remove it, trying to peel
off what seems like his own skin as his body contorts with pain and depression, all while
his face remains locked in the painted smile of a clown. If that doesn’t sound like what’s going on
in Joker, then we don’t know what does. This might be surprising considering that
it’s a movie about the Joker – you know, the bad guy from the Batman comic books? – but
Joker doesn’t really have a lot of specific references to the comics. Other than the major characters, there aren’t
really any superheroes or villains referenced in the film, unless you count the offhand
mention of “super cats” being a deep cut reference to Streaky. There’s no hint of Harley Quinn, no Ha-Hacienda
or Jokermobile, and sadly, Arthur Fleck never even proclaims that it’s time for the Joker’s
Five-Way Revenge! There’s one major exception, though. While it’s pretty clearly an homage to King
of Comedy, it’s easy to argue that the entire climax of the film is an Easter egg referencing
one of the most influential Batman comics of all time: The Dark Knight Returns. In the third issue of Frank Miller’s ’80s
classic, the Joker appears as a guest on a talk show. The scene in Joker isn’t a direct homage to
the comics, seeing as how the circumstances of the stories are so different, but there
is one clear reference you may have missed. It’s one of the show’s other guests, Dr. Sally,
whose few lines indicate that she’s a sex therapist, along the lines of the real-life
Dr. Ruth Westheimer. A similar figure also appears in The Dark
Knight Returns, as does the theatrical and incredibly creepy kiss that Joker plants on
her as he enters the scene. Joker marks the fifth time that a live-action
Mr. J has been featured on the big screen. The first four times, 1966, 1989, The Dark
Knight, and Suicide Squad if you’re keeping score at home, all featured very different
designs, but that all drew from the same source. You’d never confuse Cesar Romero’s Joker with
Heath Ledger’s, but they’ve both got green hair and purple suits, and even Jared Leto’s
purple snakeskin coat keeps the color scheme going. Joker, on the other hand, breaks with tradition. Rather than the traditional purple, Arthur
Fleck’s emergence as the Joker comes with a slightly different look. The green hair is there, and the traditional
three-piece suit, but rather than purple and green, it’s more of a burgundy. It’s a small difference, and the most likely
explanation is that Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix, and costume designer Mark Bridges
wanted their take on the character to be visually distinct from the others, which was probably
a good idea given a few strong similarities to Heath Ledger’s look. But there is one place where you can find
this color scheme on a past version of the Joker, and it probably isn’t where you expect. Back in 1990, the Kenner toy company was riding
the wave of the ’89 Batman movie when they released “Sky Escape Joker.” It’s not quite the same costume – the vest
and shirt colors are switched – but the color of the jacket is shockingly similar to what
wound up in theaters 29 years later. Does this mean that there was a draft of Joker
in which Phoenix flew around on Sky Escape Joker’s backpack helicopter? Probably not, but hey, you never know. Release the Sky Escape cut, Warner Bros.! Joker pulls a big portion of its aesthetic
from New York City in the mid-’80s, and not just because it’s evoking the grimy, crime-ridden
streets of Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. There are real-life incidents forming the
background for the events playing out on the screen, including the massive spike in crime
that accompanied the crack epidemic, and a “garbage strike” that’s based on similar sanitation
worker strikes in New York, like one that lasted 17 days in 1981. The one incident most heavily referenced in
the plot of Joker is the 1984 shooting of four men in a subway car by Bernie Goetz. Goetz claimed that he was defending himself
from a robbery, and was initially dubbed the “Subway Vigilante” by media before he turned
himself in. He was also referred to as the “Death Wish
Vigilante,” a reference to the popular revenge movies starring Charles Bronson. Many New Yorkers, as well as people following
the story from elsewhere, were supportive of Goetz’s actions, viewing them as a justified
response to the seemingly unchecked rise of violent crime. “A vigilante showing up every now and then
would have good, uh, a healthy reminder for some of the lawbreakers out there.” “You’re a lawyer?” “I’m a lawyer.” Eventually, though, public opinion turned
against him, largely because of the view that Goetz had been racially motivated – all four
men shot by Goetz were black, Goetz himself was not – which was supported by racist statements
Goetz had made in the past. Some of his statements also came off as needlessly
violent, and even creepy. “My problem is I ran out of bullets. And I was gonna gouge out one of the guy’s
eyes out with my keys afterwards.” While there were plenty of people willing
to indulge in Death Wish-style revenge fantasies, those are the kind of statements that make
them think you might not be all that stable to begin with. It’s no accident, then, that Arthur’s transformation
into Joker begins with shooting his assailants on a subway train, and that he only stops
shooting because he runs out of bullets, or that his actions are sensationalized by the
media and approved of by others in Gotham City. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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100 comments

  1. In our lastest video we discuss the use of Tarot symbolism. He is "The Fool" after all. This movie is so deep with symbolism I love it.

  2. well, there was a glimpse of a purple suit… just before he enters the talk show… he stands behind the colorful curtain with the color blue being not so accidentally being right in front of him and with his reddish/burgundy suit forming purple (blue+red=purple) even just for that perfect Jokerish comic silhouette 🙂 i see what you did there and well done:)

  3. I saw elsewhere a really good one I never picked up on. The comedy club he performs is called Pogo's. Pogo the Clown was John Wayne Gacy's clown name. Boom.

  4. Actually, in an interview, Todd Philips said in the bathroom scene Arther was supposed to clean off the makeup and try to hide the gun. However, he didn't feel that was something Arther would do, and why would he do that, hide his gun. So he and Jauqine both sat around and tried out a million things in the bathroom, whilst everyone waited outside. He continued to say that after an hour he said, "Hey ya' know I got this piece of music from Hildur. Hildur Guðnadóttir is our composer and she'd been sending me music throughout while we were shooting." So he played some music and Jauqine started to dance to the music. Finally, he said it made sense to them because when he first met with Jauqine he said: "Arther was one of those people who had music in him." So that's the story behind the creepy dance in the bathroom scene.

  5. its funny how the Marvel world put so many years and millions to make Infinity war and End Game happen so that This low budget movie ( Not even part of DC films) happens and everyone forgets the hype of End Game. Not even the death of Tony Stark was worth 15 mnts of this movie 🤣.
    Its beautiful and Sad how DC is able to have such a potential on this characters by giving it to the right directors.

    Hopefully this movie gives them a reminder that good movies still exist and start giving us the DC films we deserved.

  6. What do you mean "no specific references to the comics" Bruce wayne is in the movie, doesnt that count for anything?

  7. It's funny how a movie who does not have a reference for any comic and it was written just thinking how the character could be in some sort of alternate reality could actually have eastet eggs.

  8. The dance Joker performs after the shooting reminded me of Hannibal Lecter moving his hands to classical music after he kills one policeman…right before he kills the second.

  9. Can someone explain to me why why in the movie it is known in the press that the murderer was a clown? If the Joker has killed the three only people here and if the girl that was there leaved before the murder, how damn was it so obvious that the killer was a clown?

  10. I didn’t really understand
    1. what he discovered on the letter in his mother’s appartement
    2. what he realized when he get her documents in the hospital/asylum.

    Thanks if you can clarify.

  11. In his attending to Murray show at the end, during their conversation, I think there’s an echo to the actual debate/rhetoric of minorities and oppression. The Joker denounces “the system that constructs what’s fun and what’s not” and Murray answers that being oppressed isn’t a sufficient reason for being rude and commit crimes.

  12. The dance in the restroom is far fetched as Todd himself said that the scene was supposed to be Arthur Standing and looking at the mirror but Joaquin improvised and the dance was born.

  13. i just watched 3x and still dont understand, so all of arthur did is just a hallucination? then if its hallucination and arthur was actually in the hospital from the beginning how's he know about waynes death? and then arthur is not the real joker? @[email protected] can someone explain this to me plsss

  14. You missed:
    1) the countdown from 9 to 1… starts with Fleck shooting the Wall St morons at the 9th Street station, as Fleck transforms into the Joker a lower number is shown in the background. In the final scene the number 13 is shown on the wall, a nod to the D-evil, the ruler of chaos, death and lies.
    2) the hallway where Fleck lives looks the same as the Arkam hallway we see at the end of the film, a kind of giveaway that the entire film is in Flecks imagination. It also signifies the notion that we are all living in a type of insane asylum where people think its perfectly normal to invade other nations, kill their people, steal their oil and then call it democracy, or is that demon-crazy?
    3) the reflection in the glass in the Fleck with imaginary gf scene shows 911… which is PHarmacy backwards as the donut shop is across the road from where Fleck gets his meds. You also see the donut looks like the planet Saturn… a nod to the Illuminati Saturnists/Satanists who did the false flag attacks of September 11, 2001.
    4) the obligatory black and white checkered floor design shown multiple times…. a nod to the ruling Freemasons, which depicts the ongoing game between light and dark.
    5) early on Fleck is shown going up the stairway a defeated man and then at the end is shown descending the staircase (into Hell) as the jubilant Joker.
    6) a tunnel of light, or with a light at the end, is shown several times… a nod to the soul trap. Yeah the jokes on you if you fall for that… and sadly most reading this will and will end up in "The Good Place".
    7) EXIT signs are shown all over the place…. not sure why exactly, maybe they're trying to tell you to find your way out of this insane Earth game soul-trap matrix?
    8) Fleck bangs on the punchcard machine at 11:11, ie. November 11… a possible reference to Remembrance Day and the insanity of war.

    I couldn't help but think this movie is some type of MK-ULTRA program implant that will be triggered at a future time with the help of 5G to incite a violent uprising of chaos, in particular against the ruling elite, thus justifying them taking extreme action to bring order, limiting freedoms even more and moving humanity towards a New World Order of totalitarian governance. You think they're showing you zombie apocalypse movies ad nauseam for nothing? Whatever you do, don't accept the microchip.

  15. This movie was just amazing, all done by Joaquin Phoenix performance! I dont understand how some people cant handle this movie. Is the reality of mental issues and it was done beautifully!!

  16. If you listen to the director and Joaquin talk about the making of certain scenes a lot of them were spontaneous. No easter eggs intended.

  17. So glad you guys caught that Dark Knight Returns parallel. But notice the harlequin under the desk of Arthur's boss.

  18. You know what part I hated in this video? It was the constant ads about Edward Cullen and the light house on a DC specific video, all of this after his was announced as the next Batman, Hollywood is trying to influence you to think hell be a grand Batman… stay woke ppl!!!

  19. The Dancing scene in the bathroom was him finally feeling good! He’s found what makes him happy and he’s taking it all in!! So good

  20. It’s a bit of a stretch on Robert De Niro’s other movies. But if you follow that theme – the “dance” in the bathroom is Tai Chi, just like the scene in De Niro’s the intern movie. Helps you calm down.

  21. the way phoenix played the character was very good, he mastermined his movement and fluidity and his laugh was perfect

  22. Am I the only one who noticed Sophie’s daughters name was “GG”? Todd Phillips first film was a documentary about GG Allin.

  23. This may be a long shot, but does anyone see significance of the names "Arthur" and "Murray" together with Arthur's penchant for dancing?

    Arthur Murray dance studios were around in the 80's and still exist today.

  24. The mimed gun shots by Joaquin was also a reference to Taxi Driver. NY Times said the dancing in the bathroom was improvised. I do not think there is a connection to Marcel Marceau.

  25. So everyone knows, when he speaks with the therapist at the end and she asks what’s funny it’s due to him having the flashback all the way up to standing on the cop car before getting caught and locked up.
    He said his life was a comedy. Thinking about it all makes him laugh

  26. The beginning of the movie shows Arthur holding a sign saying "Everything Must Go!!!" Foreshadowing what happens in his life for him to become Joker, the sign even breaks into pieces kinda symbolizing his life breaks before his eyes.

  27. Arthur isn't even the joker, he just inspired the jokers ways, also basically the whole movie was Arthur's fantasy

  28. The climax scene: on a talk show.
    Before he enters stage right, his silouette mimics Tom Waits' posture during the interview accredited to be the inspiration for Heith Leger's incarnation of the Joker.

  29. 5:30 they said Phoenix and a filmed were just in the bathroom waiting on someone and Phoenix just thought it would be better to just dance because the scripted part wasnt much like what the joker would've really done. So it was inprovised.

  30. The nightclub he did standup in was named 'Pogo's'. Pogo is the name of the clown, that serial killer John Wayne Gacy dressed up as.

  31. There was this one scene with a tv and the news on it and they were talking about a plague of huge fat rats in the city. And in the end in the scene with the boy and his dead parents lying in this alley behind him you could actually saw these rats running through the background 😀
    I was the only one in the cinema who was laughing :/

  32. Okay in all seriousness, did anyone catch the reference in the scene where joker is watching the talk show in his living room rehearsing his appearance? The guest on the show’s name is Ethan Chase. That is the “real” name of Zach Galifanakis’ Ethan Tremblay in Due Date which Todd Phillips also directed

  33. All of Bernie Goetz victims were black… yes all the men attacking him were black hence why the only people he shot were black.

  34. they do not even need Batman for an epic movie with Joker, Ratcatcher and Riddler..just have some hot shot cop like Commisioner Gordon trying to stop them

  35. The point after does his 1st kills is when he becomes possessed and afterwards dances with the Devil in the pale moonlight.

  36. One of the guests on the talk show early in the movie was someone with the last name "Gordon"… could this be a reference to Commissioner Gordon?

  37. I dont know if this is an easter egg or not but when you look closely at the sign of the theatre it says “zorro the gay blade” ( I am talking about the part that when bruce and his parents come out from the theatre before bruce’s parents gets killed.

  38. When Joker was dancing in the bathroom, Todd has said that he was playing the score and Joaquin just started dancing to it.

  39. In the film, aka with motion and context, the suit reads as desaturated purple to me.
    Even in some still shots, especially grainy stylized ones meant to look from the early 80s.

  40. There is a scene where he is getting beat up and the light is flickering reminiscent of the interrogation scene from Dark Knight. In fact, if memory serves, the ass kicking was at the hands of Thomas Wayne. I need to go see this movie again!

  41. I really like what another commenter said about the bathroom dance scene, that it was the first time he was in control. Apparently the dance was improvised by Joaquin Phoenix listening to the soundtrack Guðnadóttir wrote there, if I understood it right!

  42. Actually there’s a scene where he crumbles a card of a blonde girl and behind it reads love the smile I forgot what initials were on it but I thought it might’ve been Harley Quinn.

  43. The scene with the fridge has more meanings , it references to the movie Back to the Future where the prime Idea was that the fridge is the Time machine but from safety reasons they where scared that small children would suffocate as they would try it at home . So in Joker I could tell that some scenes where not in the timeline especially that imaginary from his head. That moment he gets in the fridge is where Arthur dies ,after that we only see Joker.

  44. I can dismiss the bathroom dance scene theory, the director said it was improvised, joaquin was supposed to stress out and hide his gun, but he just did the dance cuz he tought it would fit more

  45. I have not seen the movie Joker yet. However, based on what I have heard the filmmakers of this movie should be commended for making this film. It tells the truth about American society and the types of criminal and evil actions that people commit on a daily basis. It also depicts the reality of mental illness in America; they can be both the victims and the assailants. Violent crimes can be caused by them or done onto them. This raises the question of who is more evil, the monsters that society creates, or society itself.

  46. Come on. People making this movie more complicated than it is. I remember Kubrick's Shining where people still creating theories till now. Take it easy guys. Its a tremendous movie but please don't make this overly complicated.

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