Top 10 Joker (2019) Moments



Top 10 Joker (2019) Moments

WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These are the top 10 moments from "Joker," starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips. Send in the clowns. For this list, we're taking a look at the best moments from "Joker" (2019). If you haven't seen the film yet, consider this your spoiler alert. From the instantly-iconic stair dance, to meeting a young Bruce Wayne, to confronting Murray Franklin live on-air, these are the top 10 moments from "Joker".

Top 10 Joker (2019) Moments

Send in the clowns. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Joker (2019) Moments.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most memorable moments from Todd Phillips’ 2019 Joker origin story. If you haven’t seen the film yet, consider this your spoiler alert.

#10: Dancing on Stairs

“Joker” is full of imagery that’s bound to become iconic, although perhaps the most recognizable still from the film is Arthur Fleck standing in an elevator, decked out with clown makeup, green hair, and a snazzy suit. Arthur is eager to show off his new look to the world, so much so that he gleefully dances down a lengthy flight of stairs outside. Arthur’s dance almost has a Charlie Chaplin quality to it. That is to say if Chaplin played a homicidal clown instead of a little tramp. Overwhelmed with confidence and a manic sense of invincibility, Arthur feels like the only person on the planet in this moment. By the end of the day, though, everybody in Gotham will know the name Joker.

#9: Revenge on Randall

Getting ready for Joker’s big debut, Arthur is paid a visit from two of his former co-workers, Randall and Gary. Where Gary has always been genuinely concerned about Arthur’s wellbeing, Randall is only concerned about covering his tracks after lending him a gun. Although we suspected that Arthur would go haywire on him eventually, it still comes as a complete shock when he paints his wall red with Randall’s skull. This may be the ghastliest moment in the entire film, which is saying something. Yet, it also finds Arthur at his most compassionate, as he allows the horrified Gary to go unharmed. The scene fittingly ends with some insanely dark humor when Gary can’t reach the doorknob, forcing him to ask Arthur for help.

#8: Murray Mocks Arthur

In a life plagued with negative thoughts, the only source of joy for Arthur is watching “Live! with Rupert Pupkin”… err, we mean Murray Franklin. Actually, taking a direct page from Robert De Niro’s character in “The King of Comedy,” Arthur imagines being on Murray’s show where he’s cherished like his son. Arthur gets his wish, although it’s not at all how he initially imagined it. Murray comes across some footage of Arthur’s failed standup act, sharing it on his show. Arthur is ecstatic at first, but his smile quickly dissolves into a frown when Murray turns him into the butt of the joke. Being insulted by his idol is a major tipping point for Arthur, who’s now determined to get the last laugh.

#7: Train Riot

Gotham originated from the comics, but Phillips’ portrait to the city is an unnerving reflection of today’s world. A key example is when Arthur is pursued by Detectives Burke and Garrity. The chase takes them aboard a train filled with protesters wearing clown masks. This naturally allows Arthur to blend into the crowd, adding to the frustration of the detectives. An already intense set piece is turned nightmarish when one protester is accidentally shot, causing the mob to overpower the police. In an age where riots, gun violence, and the use of deadly force by cops regularly make headlines, this sequence felt all too real. As horrific as this sight is, Arthur slips away without a care in the world.

#6: My Life Is a Comedy

When Arthur isn’t trying to make people smile, he’s taking care of his aging mother. Penny Fleck is one of the only people in Arthur’s life that matters to him. Arthur’s world is thus turned upside down when he finds out that his mother may’ve been lying about who his father is. Arthur’s identity only becomes more warped when he learns that Penny may not actually be his real mother. Whatever the truth is, Arthur walks away with an epiphany: his life isn’t a tragedy, but one big fat joke. Penny becomes the punchline in this so-called “comedy” as Arthur takes a pillow to her. The Joker has taken numerous lives across various media, although few instances have felt this personal, grounded, or cruel.

#5: Arthur Meets Bruce Wayne

We’ve seen the Joker meet Bruce Wayne before, but never quite like this. As polar opposite as they may be, the Joker represents Batman’s greatest fear: the idea that Bruce could’ve become a vengeful killer in another world. This notion is made even more poignant in “Joker” where we learn that Bruce and Arthur might share the same father. Sporting a red clown nose and armed with flowers, Arthur pays his possible half-brother a visit in a scene that takes “stranger danger” to uncomfortable new levels. Matters become especially nerve-wracking when Arthur forces a smile on the boy’s face, leaving us to wonder if he’ll kill Bruce before he has a chance to become Batman. Fortunately, Alfred intervenes, although he’s nearly scarred in the process.

#4: Who’s Laughing Now?

“All it takes is one bad day.” That’s one of the Joker’s most famous quotes and while it’s never said here, the line nonetheless echoes throughout the film. Arthur’s life has been nothing but bad days, but a particularly awful one finds him unemployed. He’s pushed to the edge of sanity on a subway as three Wayne Enterprises employees harass a woman. The cackling Arthur becomes their new target, but the tables are turned when the clown kills two of them in self-defense. Arthur tracks down and shoots the third in cold blood before retreating to a bathroom. Joaquin Phoenix’s improvised dance moves, accompanied by Hildur Guðnadóttir’s haunting musical score, make for a chillingly disturbed moment as Arthur takes his first step towards becoming the Joker.

#3: You Wouldn’t Get It

It only makes sense that a film clouded in ambiguity would build to a final scene that invites endless analysis. During a session with his psychiatrist, Arthur thinks about the Wayne family’s fate and laughs. Arthur says that his doctor wouldn’t get the joke before we cut to him walking down the halls of Arkham, leaving behind a trail of red footprints. The answer behind Arthur’s laughter remains one of the film’s biggest mysteries. Maybe Arthur found it funny that little Bruce is now every bit as alone as he is. Maybe Arthur fantasized about Bruce growing up to become a vigilante who does battle with the Joker. In any case, Phillips says that this is Arthur’s “only genuine laugh in the movie.”

#2: Introduce Me as Joker

After Murray introduces Joker, Arthur dances his way onto the stage for an interview that escalates from awkward to downright painful. Arthur seems like a source for cheap laughs until he actually starts telling jokes. Of course, what Arthur considers a “joke” is so depraved that it couldn’t even be classified as shock humor. Nobody’s laughing when Arthur admits to his heinous crimes on the air, which he writes off as “comedy.” Arthur paints himself as the victim in all this before taking out his gun and adding Murray to his list of victims. This alarming sequence is reminiscent of the Joker’s interview with Dave Endochrine in “The Dark Knight Returns.” Where that remained rooted in comic lore, though, this scene strives for brutal realism.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Making a Child Smile

Looking for a Sign

Arthur Breaks into Sophie’s Apartment

#1: The Darkest Night

Riding through the rioting streets of Gotham in the back of a cop car, Arthur marvels at the destruction he’s inadvertently started. When the vehicle is crashed into and Arthur is pulled from the wreckage, he decides to embrace his newfound status as a “symbol” with his followers cheering him on. While the Joker accepts his place in this crazy world, Batman is born as Thomas and Martha are gunned down in an alley by one of the masked rioters. Bruce is left orphaned, ingeniously linking his origin story to the Clown Prince of Crime’s. Arthur may be different from some past incarnations of the titular character, but watching him dance atop a police vehicle with a blood-smeared smile across his face is pure Joker.