Within the world of Joker, the line between reality and delusion is delicately toed throughout the movie's two-hour runtime. Notably, viewers are led to believe that Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who becomes the titular Joker, is in a romantic relationship with his neighbor Sophie DuMont, played by Marie Beet.
But perhaps the movie's biggest twist is the possible connection between Arthur and Bruce Wayne, as in his arch-nemesis Batman. Earlier in the movie, Arthur notices that his mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), is obsessed with a local businessman named Thomas Wayne (played by True Detective's Brett Cullen).
When he opens a letter she's addressed to him, he sees a handwritten note that describes Arthur as Thomas' son, suggesting that the Joker and Batman are half brothers. She said in a flashback that Thomas' wealth, power, and influence helped to produce the claim and paperwork that Arthur was adopted.
But according to Thomas, Penny was mentally ill when she worked for him, and the claim that their sons are brothers is a delusion. Cullen spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his character, and the potential twist regarding Arthur/The Joker.
Todd responded with, What would be a compelling reason for the Joker to hate Batman so much? The idea that the Joker is an illegitimate child that didn’t get anything from the Wayne family is a very compelling motivation for his character’s hatred.
Whether he actually is Thomas' son, and whether he believes he's Thomas' son or not, the motivation of him feeling rejected by the Wayne family make his motivation to battle an eventual Batman make a ton of sense. Now, Joker presents a different reality, so we can't be certain that this version of Alfred (played by Douglas Hodge) shares the same noble and loyal nature that the Alfred splayed by Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons in the past.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Actor Brett Cullen, who plays Thomas Wayne in the record-breaking film, has some insight.
Joker tells the story of a lonely, mentally ill man named Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) who slowly spirals into more disturbing and violent behavior, until he eventually takes on the moniker of Joker and inspires chaotic violence all across the streets of Gotham City with one publicly violent act: he shoots and kills TV host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) live on air. Key to Arthur’s spiral is new information he learns from his mother Penny (Frances Conroy), with whom he lives.
Arthur then tracks down his mother’s medical records at Arkham Asylum, which notes that he was abandoned as a child and adopted by Penny, whose abusive boyfriend physically harmed both herself and Arthur, causing severe trauma. Joker is a film that delights in blurring the line between fiction and reality, as we also later learn that the relationship we’ve witnessed Arthur striking up with his neighbor Sophie (Marie Beet) was all in his head.
Moreover, the final scene of the film throws the entire movie into question, as it presents the possibility that we’ve simply witnessed one long “joke” the Joker has been telling to a mental health professional while locked in Arkham Asylum. I went to Todd and asked, ‘Are we playing this the way I think we’re playing this?’ Todd responded with, ‘What would be a compelling reason for the Joker to hate Batman so much?’ The idea that the Joker is an illegitimate child that didn’t get anything from the Wayne family is a very compelling motivation for his character’s hatred.
Indeed, Cullen says he buys into the idea that Thomas Wayne irreparably ruined Penny’s life after she became pregnant: With The Dark Knight, filmmaker Christopher Nolan opted to keep the Joker’s origins shrouded in mystery, always changing.
But Joker is kind of the antithesis of that idea, as the big twist reveals a very real and long-lasting connection between the two iconic comics' character. While Cullen certainly believes Arthur is Bruce’s half-brother, Phillips takes great pains to make sure the audience questions all the information they’re given, and the film itself doesn’t definitively come down on one side.
So, much like the Joker in The Killing Joke, audiences are given a multiple choice answer. Either way, the Clown Prince of Crime is no fan of Baby Bruce, and should a sequel actually come to fruition, that'd be an interesting dynamic to see play out.
He's the creator and author of Collider's “How the MCU Was Made” series and has interviewed Bill Harder about every single episode of Barry. Pic credit: Warner Brothers Back in 2019, director Todd Phillips gave us a fresh new take on The Joker (read our review) that we have never seen in the Batman films.
With Joaquin’s haunting portrayal plus the excessive weight loss, laughter is sometimes not the best medicine. To be clear, this article will feature major Spoilers for Joker and how the film deals with Bruce Wayne.
Because the film brings up a question that has never been raised cinematically: Are Batman and The Joker brothers ? Let’s take a look at how the movie handles the subject and explore the idea within the character’s own rich history.
In the context of the movies, the idea of Bruce Wayne having siblings has never been hinted at before Joker. Read More That said, as far as siblings, Bruce Wayne had a psychotic brother in the comics named Thomas Wayne Jr. That character was explored in Earth-3 as well as Scott Snyder and Greg Apollo’s Court of Owls comic run, according to Screencast.
It’s also up for debate whether Jerome and Jeremiah Vale ska from Fox’s Gotham count as their characters were created because they couldn’t use the name Joker.” But for the most part, Joker is typically portrayed as an agent of chaos that requires no origin.
A deadly violent entity that has no explanation and appears out of thin air. The reasons for this ongoing conversation all begin with 2019’s Joker and Joaquin Phoenix’s take on Arthur Fleck, who slowly descends into madness.
In the film, Arthur was raised by a single mother named Penny Fleck, and she is now too ill to take care of herself. And when Arthur steals her medical records, he discovers Penny allowed a boyfriend to abuse him terribly before he was rescued from the situation.
On top of this, when Arthur confronts Thomas Wayne, the billionaire outright denies having any relationship with Penny, and it’s inferred that she was obsessed with him. On the other side of this complicated question, Arthur finds a photo of Penny in her medical file.
Director Todd Phillips has been coy on this answer, telling Empire (via ME), “I liked leaving the idea of Arthur being Thomas Wayne’s son ambiguous.” I went to Todd and asked, ‘Are we playing this the way I think we’re playing this?’ Todd responded with, ‘What would be a compelling reason for the Joker to hate Batman so much?’ The idea that the Joker is an illegitimate child that didn’t get anything from the Wayne family is a very compelling motivation for his character’s hatred.
Cullen even says that the director went as far as giving the full-fledged history of Penny and Thomas’s relationship and how she landed in a psych ward. This is merely an interpretation of the entire film, but all the cards align with Thomas Wayne being Arthur Fleck’s father.
But the story becomes so much more inventive and fresh if The Joker is obsessed with Bruce for these reasons. However, the Joker film threw a twist in BruceWayne's story, as that version of the Clown Prince of Crime is possibly Thomas Wayne's bastard son.
In Joker ', starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, it's heavily suggested that Arthur Fleck might be the son of the billionaire Thomas Wayne. Fleck's mother Penny was a former employee at Wayne Enterprises and wrote letters to Thomas about their affair (he denied it).
The revelation is left largely open-ended, but the implication Joker is the older brother of Bruce adds another dimension to the character's relationship. Oilman and the Crime Syndicate have tried to control and destroy Batman's Earth (and the universe) on multiple occasions assisting both Daresay and Lady Perpetual in their attempts to take down Earth-Prime.
In their final brawl in the arc, Wayne Jr. is seemingly killed in an explosion, but considering he was given a healing factor from the Court, he's practically immortal. Regardless of the potential Thomas Wayne Jr.'s infatuation with owls, Batman's brother on both Earth-3 and Earth-Prime both turn out to be bad guys that come after Bruce.
Continue scrolling to keep readingClick the button below to start this article in quick view. The film opens with Arthur living with (and caring for) his elderly and informed mother, Penny.
One of the few things she has the ability to keep her mind on is Thomas Wayne, who is running for Mayor of Gotham City. This alters the trajectory of the story, as his quest for answers takes Arthur across Gotham City and deeper into his madness.
He goes to Wayne Manor and confronts Alfred, who denies the connection and claims Penny was mentally ill and obsessed with Thomas. This seems to be collaborated by the medical paperwork Arthur steals from Arkham Mental Hospital.
Bruce having a fully grown super villain brother, Oilman, is a plot point from the alternate realities from both JLA: Earth 2 and the New 52 version of the Crime Syndicate. Before this, the idea can be traced back to World's Finest #223 by Bob Haney, Dick Dillon and Vince Collet ta.
Created by Scott Snyder and Greg Apollo, March claims he was Thomas Jr. He was apparently Bruce's younger brother, born prematurely due to a failed attempt on Martha's life.
Bruce later learned that he did indeed have a baby brother, but according to medical records, he died 12 hours after being born. His anger at his mother's deception about both Thomas and the apparent adoption leads him to murder her in the hospital.
Even more tragic than the possibility that Bruce's eventual greatest enemy is his brother is that the chaos unleashed onto Gotham by Arthur's actions inadvertently leads to the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne in an alley. Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Marie Beet, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshier, Douglas Hodge, Marc Aaron, Josh Pies and Shea Whig ham.