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Why so serious?

Although ‘The Dark Knight’ offered a narrative into Gotham city from the eyes of the protagonist Batman, there are many peculiarities about the "antagonist" of Joker that catch the eye- the most prominent being scars on his face forming a ‘permanent’ smile. With the disfigurement being hard to ignore, different stories emerged across different adaptations regarding the origins of the scars.


One story being that his abusive father, in a rage fit, carved these marks into his skin while repeating the ever-famous line ‘Why so serious?’, which became the catchphrase of the Joker himself. The second story proposed that Joker’s wife found herself in trouble with gambling sharks who ‘carved her face’ and he disfigured himself in this way to show her he didn’t care about her appearance, which however, led to their separation as his wife could not bear to look at him, triggering his villainous arc. Another adaptation marks him with a perpetual grin after a tragic accident at Ace Chemicals, his side job in the storyline, that alters his skin color, hair and leaves him with this eternal defacement. In others, the character's enigma is further enhanced by the purposeful ambiguousness of its origins.



This unique feature not only represents his anarchist outlook but also functions as a graphic depiction of the character's lack of “rationality” and abidance with social norms. This also creates a stark contrast to Batman’s serious demeanor, enhancing the chaos versus order theme in each movie, making his smile one of the most important concepts needed to understand his disposition.


The origins of the Joker's smile scars are depicted in shades of ambiguity and uncertainty- with origins ranging from hostile childhood relationships to gruesome catastrophes - allowing us to sympathize with the deranged legacy of a figure who brings into being one of fictions most liked villains.

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True! The phenomenon you describe, where some men on the internet perceive women as antagonistic for not reciprocating romantic interest, reflects a complex interplay of societal expectations and individual experiences. It's indeed both ironic and unfortunate that some individuals may turn to characters like the Joker for misguided inspiration as understanding that fictional characters like the Joker are cautionary tales rather than aspirational figures is crucial in navigating the complexities of relationships and individual identity.

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I love that someone is finally talking about this. I feel like when watching movies we always tend to overlook the villain character and focus primarily on the wellbeing of the protagonist. While every movie does naturally make its viewer be in support of the protagonist, I feel its also equally important to understand the pretext not the villain to fully understand their character arc and the underlying injustice that was did to them which resulted in them becoming the negative personality in the storyline. If the audience sympathises with a negative character instead of disliking them, that in my opinion does justice to the negative character. Joker's storyline is equally tragic and heartbreaking which makes it no surprise that…

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I agree with you 100%! I believe that in film narratives, protagonists often take center stage, commanding the audience's attention and empathy. However, this spotlight on heroes inadvertently leads to the oversight of equally complex and intriguing antagonists. Some of the most memorable films have succeeded in creating an intricate relationship between the protagonist and antagonist, offering audiences a nuanced understanding of their motives and creating a more immersive storytelling experience.

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I loved watching joker starring joaquin phoenix and in that version, i believed the arc to be very close to our lives, this perpetual state of happiness that we tend to show the world whiltst being in pain and suffering and in jokers case wanting to inflict it on other people is just such an interesting juxtaposition to see represented in the jokers characteristic smile tattoo

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I love that movie too! Joaquin Phoenix's performance and the film's storytelling elevates the character beyond a mere antagonist, turning him into a representation of those that suffer from societal neglect. This ultimately prompts viewers to reconsider the nature of empathy in the realm of complex and multidimensional characters while relating to their own personal experiences in a way that every one of Jokers outrages is seen as retaliation and every action is categorized into a reaction.

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Neiha A. Siddiqui
Neiha A. Siddiqui
2023年11月30日

This is an intriguing look at the scars left by the Joker's famous smile in different iterations. The mystery surrounding the character's origins lends a fascinating dimension to its mystique. I remember growing up thinking, 'What is this guy's deal? What makes him hate everything so much?'. It's fascinating to me how several interpretations offer varied viewpoints on the Joker's origins, adding to his character's depth. I like how I can now see that the Joker's smile was carefully considered to show his anarchic mindset and how it contrasted with Batman's order. It's fascinating to think about how these narrative and little visual components support the main ideas in each film. Do you believe the Joker's persona would be more…

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You've linked every aspect together so well! In my opinion, in regards to the question you asked, the impact of the Joker's persona in storytelling relies heavily on the ambiguity surrounding his past. The enigmatic nature of his origins adds to the character's mystique, making him a symbol of chaos and unpredictability. If the Joker's past was more clearly defined, it could potentially demystify the character, diluting the sense of uncertainty that makes him so compelling.

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Mariam
Mariam
2023年11月28日

As someone who hasn't watched any Joker film and never understood the hype around it, this blog explains so much. I noticed this enormous wave of memes and fascination with the Joker when it came out a few years ago, and particularly noticed the film's popularity among young men on the internet. I always brushed it off thinking it was because of the whole super villain aspect of the movie. But upon reading the many theories behind his smile and the "villain arc", it kind of adds up. Specifically the one story where his wife leaves him for disfiguring his face, which makes me think, there's a demographic of male fans who idolize the Joker in the name of being…

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