Before we dive in to the biggest moments from the trailer why not watch it one more time!
Gotham City, 1981
The trailer opens with a shot of the Gotham City skyline circa 1981. There’s no obvious Wayne Tower which could be down to the “Elseworlds” nature of the movie though.
If you look closely though you’ll see the building with the lit up, red sign clearly says Gotham Hospital. This is not the same as the Arkham Hospital we see later on.
The movie itself was shot in New York and scene very much honours that skyline and its impact on the world of Batman comics.
One of the first scenes in the trailer puts Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) in front of his social worker. If you look closely at that badge you’ll see her name is Debra Kane. Could that be a nod to Bob Kane, creator of Batman?
We know from set photos that many of the street names and neighbourhoods in Joker’s Gotham are named after important people in the DC Universe. This is undoubtedly NOT a coincidence.
In The Killing Joke the equivalent Arthur Fleck looks after his pregnant wife pulling double time as a comedian in the making before his brush with the law see’s him turned in to the iconic villain.
Here that relationship has been updated to make Arthur a carer for his ailing mother (Frances Conroy). We see several scenes of them throughout the trailer and it seems these moments may be some of the warmest in the movie.
This relationship is clearly meant to humanise the character and make us, as an audience sympathise for Arthur as he descends in to madness.
Moving further in to the trailer we get this telling shot of Arthur trying to write jokes. As his handwriting moves down the page it becomes increasingly worse, it seems his jokes also get progressively more insular.
The last paragraph on the page reads:
The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.
We can also see a bottle of pills next to the notebook which Arthur is most likely taking to help with his various issues. It all adds up to a downbeat life for poor Arthur.
Everything Must Go!
Our first glance at Arthur in a a clowns costume comes as he appears to be working at a local store. Arthur stands out in the street trying to drum up business until a group of kids still his placard and he finds himself beaten in an alleyway.
This could be one of the defining moments which push Arthur towards becoming the Joker.
Later in the trailer Arthur, in the same costume, is seen on the Gotham subway. Whilst having an emotional outburst he is approached by a group of guys and viciously attacked. The poor Arthur lies defenceless on the floor of the carriage as he is beaten.
It’s understandable why the clown imagery becomes something he uses to cause fear in his victims.
Of course any fans of the Batman universe be it from comics, movies or TV will know the name Arkham. In a nod to the source material the Arkham name is now attached to a hospital Arthur is seen visiting.
In the comics Arkham is home to many of Batman’s rogues. Could there be some nods to the comics in the name of patients in the hospital?
Actor Brett Cullen appears briefly on TV in the trailer. Cullen has been long rumoured to portray Thomas Wayne in the movie. In his brief appearance he makes a damming statement against a person of interest in the city who is “hiding behind a mask”.
A very bold statement for one who will go on to become the father of Batman.
Wayne and his status as on of Gotham’s elite will reportedly play a huge part in Arthur Fleck’s descent in to madness as well as his anti-establishment movement.
Large gates. Long driveway. Manor House in the background… yup this is a young Bruce Wayne alright. Need we say more?
Enter The Joker
The trailer itself features some stunning cinematography by Lawrence Sher. This shot in particular, our first featuring Joker in full costume appears as part of a scene featuring Robert De Niro.
This scene most likely serves as Joker’s introduction to the world. We can only guess at the kind of havoc Joker could wreak on an unsuspecting TV show audience…
As the trailer draws to a close we get to the The Joker in full costume. At first we is seen walking down a hallway carrying a bunch of joke flowers. Could he be visiting dear old mum? Or perhaps his love interest, played by Zazie Beetz.
From there we see a quick montage of the character dancing in the streets and then standing in this empty looking room (elevator?). There’s so little context we can’t even hazard a guess what he’s up to but we know one thing… it won’t end well!
Joker centres around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
The film stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, also starring are Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham.
Phillips directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver, based on characters from DC. The film is being produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It is executive produced by Richard Baratta, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman.
Joker will be released on October 4, 2019. For all our Joker coverage head to our archive!