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"Joker": Is his relationship with Batman a lie?

The new "Joker" causes a lot of headaches with its ambivalent story. Did Thomas Wayne tell the truth? Or are Joker and Batman closer than we think?

- Attention, spoilers for the new "Joker" follow from here -

For superhero fans, it's the twist of the century. Arthur Fleck alias Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) learns through a letter from his mother Penny (Frances Conroy) that he is the unwanted son of Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen). That would make Bruce Wayne aka Batman his half-brother! Arthur is rightly upset. For years, he and his mother have led a poor existence on the fringes of society, while the rest of his family lives in luxury.

When Arthur then confronts the Waynes, he is harshly rejected. First from butler Alfred, who wants to protect little Bruce from the intruder. Thomas Wayne later makes it clear to Arthur with a punch in the face that Penny Fleck only imagined it and Arthur was adopted.

While researching at Arkham State Hospital, Arthur finds documents that clearly prove his adoption. A psychological report also states that his mother suffers from paranoia and a narcissistic personality disorder. So Thomas Wayne was telling the truth. Or is there possibly more to it than you might think at first?

Here we take up further questions from the end:

That's why Batman and the Joker could be half-brothers

Exhibit A:The photo

Shortly before the end of the film, Arthur finds an old photo of his mother, in which she is still working for the Waynes and is in the prime of her life. On the back of the photo, Thomas Wayne writes that she has a “nice smile”. The dedication suggests an affair. But even if she did, that doesn't mean Penny actually got pregnant. Penny could also have falsified the dedication in her delusion. To clarify that, one would have to pay closer attention during the film and compare the handwriting in the letter and in the photo.

Exhibit B:The adoption papers

The adoption papers are strong evidence that speaks against paternity. On the other hand, Thomas Wayne would have enough power to cover up his fatherhood in a semi-legal way. We know Penny probably adopted Arthur while she was with the Waynes. So before she was admitted to psychiatry. That's why Alfred and Thomas know about the adoption. But how could a single worker adopt a child so easily? Did she live on the property? Did the Waynes allow it? Since Arthur killed his mother, it will be difficult to exactly reconstruct the chronological sequence.

Did you notice these allusions?

Exhibit C: The Waynes' Conduct

Thomas Wayne and Alfred are noticeably aggressive when they are approached by Arthur. It could be natural that they want to prevent the truth from coming out. On the other hand, their anger is entirely justified. Arthur stalks the Waynes and molests little Bruce. The two react more aggressively as a deterrent than out of spite. You don't seem to be very good at Penny Fleck either, for good reason. We don't know what Penny did while she was with the Waynes. Thomas and Alfred may be afraid of what Arthur is capable of and want to put him in his place.

The evidence actually suggests that the Joker and Batman are not brothers. However, the film deliberately keeps a back door open with the dedication in the photo. A final answer can only be given by a paternity test - which became impossible after the Waynes' death. Or maybe the relationship between Batman and the Joker will be deepened in a possible second part. Basically, what matters is what Arthur himself thinks. If he believes that Thomas Wayne is his father, it will have major consequences for his relationship with Batman. He'll hate the Waynes either way.

"Joker" quiz: Only real Batman fans get 12 out of 15 points!


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