Is there a Batman Easter egg to be found in Joker's opening sequence? Released last month to a rapturous response, Todd Phillips' Joker is currently on course to break the $1 billion barrier at the box office and may well find itself in Oscar contention before too long. These are particularly impressive accolades considering Joker's low-budget indie aesthetic and how different the movie is in style and tone compared to the average blockbuster.
One of Joker's defining qualities is its meticulous attention to detail and the wide array of DC and Batman Easter eggs that can be found if fans care to look hard enough. References discovered thus far include a font nod to Batman: The Animated Series on the Murray Franklin show, a callback to Adam West's pole antics and a poster resembling Jack Nicholson's 1989 version of Joker in Arthur's dressing room. There are also a number of influences taken from both The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns comic stories.
Another brilliant Easter egg has now, potentially, been unearthed. As pointed out by the Hidden Easter Eggs Twitter account, an early shot of Arthur Fleck sitting at his dressing room table pans around to form what appears to be the shape of the Caped Crusader's cowl. The visage can be seen in Arthur's mirror, with a hanging sign separating the reflection to form Batman's pointy ears, a light and a sign marking out the mask's eye holes and Arthur himself shaping the mouth of the cowl.
Batman Easter egg at the beginning of ‘Joker’ pic.twitter.com/uhv4yM8Xsw— Hidden Easter Eggs (@FilmEasterEggs) October 8, 2019
Once pointed out, it's impossible not to see the image of Batman looming over Arthur in the scene, but there is some debate as to whether this is an intentional Easter egg or merely a happy coincidence. In support of the reference being deliberate, Joker is a film that has been widely praised for its cinematography. Each shot feels very purposeful and is packed with multiple layers of meaning. Furthermore, each element of this scene, however innocuous it might look in the finished edit, would've been planned out and arranged in advance. The sign that carves out the image's two ears was included for a reason, as was the lighting arrangement that forms the eyes. Rarely in film and TV does something find its way into the frame by mistake, unless you're working on the set of Game of Thrones, and Joker's more artful and nuanced approach to comic book movies means that more time was likely spent on scene composition and imagery than on most superhero efforts.
Aside from being a neat way to recognize Joker's history, this Easter egg might also have a symbolic meaning. Batman doesn't have a major role in Joker - Bruce Wayne is only a child after all - but the battles he and Arthur (possibly, depending on how you interpret the movie) have in the future are hanging ominously in the air as Arthur's transformation into the Joker draws closer.
It could also be argued that Todd Phillips' movie willingly invites fans to search for hidden details. So much visual information is packed into each scene that repeat viewings are required in order to pick up on every element. In these types of films, it's perhaps safer to assume that hidden faces that happen to look like the title character's arch nemesis are deliberate rather than accidental, but then Joker has already provoked so much debate and discussion among fans, this is just the latest example of a scene no one can quite agree on.
Source: Hidden Easter Eggs
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