WARNING: Major spoilers for Joker.
Todd Phillips refuses to provide answers with regard to Joker's vague ending. The latest Warner Bros. and DC movie is finally out in theaters and based on its box office performance, people came in droves to check out what the hype was about. Viewers leave the cinema, however, with more questions than answers with how the movie's ending panned out. And according to its director, it was purposefully designed to wrap up that way.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as the title character before he supposedly assumed the persona of the Clown Prince of Crime, Joker begins with Arthur Fleck - a failed comedian in the late '70s/early '80s. Set in Gotham, the movie's narrative takes on various twists and turns as Fleck interacts with other key players such as Robert De Niro's Murray Franklin, Zazie Beetz' Sophie Dumond and Brett Cullen's Thomas Wayne. Joker pulls the rug on everyone, however, after it implies that everything that transpired in the movie was nothing else but a figment of Fleck's imagination.
Speaking with The Los Angeles Times, Phillips was commented about the debate that Joker's ending has sparked. And while he's pleased to see the public discussing the movie, he doesn't want to give his own personal opinion that could affect how people are interpreting what happened in the movie.
“Me and Scott and Joaquin, we never talked about what he has — I never wanted to say, ‘He’s a narcissist and this and that.' I didn’t want Joaquin as an actor to start researching that kind of thing. We just said, ‘He’s off.’ I don’t even know that he’s mentally ill. He’s just left-footed with the world.
“There’s a lot of ways you could look at this movie. You could look at it and go, ‘This is just one of his multiple-choice stories. None of it happened.’ I don’t want to say what it is. But a lot of people I’ve shown it to have said, ‘Oh, I get it — he’s just made up a story. The whole movie is the joke. It’s this thing this guy in Arkham Asylum concocted. He might not even be the Joker.’"
Throughout the whole marketing period, Joker was met with varying controversies that stemmed out from the backlash about its supposed depiction of violence. Some are so worried that it may spark a mass shooting in screenings that U.S. military even released a statement to its soldiers warning them about the possibility. In addition to that, families of the Colorado theater shooting seven years ago also expressed similar concerns leading to The Century theater chain deciding to not show the film there. Phillips himself was also caught in a minor issue when he was criticized for his comments about "woke culture" and how it apparently ruins modern comedy.
Amidst all that, Joker continues to perform at the box office which means that at the end of the day, people will see a movie when it's good. And the good word of mouth bolstered by winning the the Golden Lion during this year's Venice Film Festival helped it navigate some really bad PR circumstances. Considering the way the movie ended, the conversation about the movie will more likely persist in the years to come.
More: Joker's Ending Explained
Source: The Los Angeles Times
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