The Great Message Most People Miss About “The Joker”

Source of photo: and Warner Brothers

Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth

This quote from the Dark Knight Rises perfectly encapsulates what the DC Comics supervillain The Joker is and always has been about.

The Joker represents the perfect foil to the Batman character as the two characters converge at a fine point where both individually come from two wildly divergent places.

That both were damaged as children (as both Dark Knight Rises and the new Joker origin movie reveals) is the common thread that makes both characters so compelling and brings both characters to the same place as protagonist and antagonist in the fictional Gotham City.

Both operate outside of the law with one seeking justice and the other chaos in eerily similar ways. It is pointless for one to exist without the other. This is why Joker doesn’t seek to kill Batman. He really wouldn’t know what to do without him. Little does Batman realize that he needs the Joker as well, and therein lies the point being made, and being missed by some people merely focused on the drama and action.

Batman v. Joker is a metaphor for our darker nature as human beings. Batman represents our base need for complete and brutally-administered justice, Hammurabi-style. The Joker represents our penchant for anarchism. Joker is the unfettered anarcho-libertarian who eschews the very structures and institutions that are required to maintain the law and order that all civil societies need in order to merely exist.

Gotham City represents We the People who need our representatives, like Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent (before he becomes Two-Face) to temper our inner Hammurabi and hold our inner anarchist at bay.

The seemingly never ending saga of Batman with Joker as the principle foil endures because of the deeper, metaphorical meanings behind the characters.

The new Joker film is merely another retelling of the same central story with the focus on the titular antagonist and how he came to be.

I’m glad that a talented actor is playing him (as usual for the Joker) and I look forward to seeing Joaquin Phoenix in action in this film (haven’t seen it yet).

-The Rational Ram

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