Todd Phillips's Joker attempts to be the antithesis of modern comic book movies, but like most other films in the "superhero" ballpark, it's still chock full of Easter eggs. A fair share of moments in the film are nods to specific aspects of the comics, but Joker places itself in a far different cinematic tradition than most of its DC and Marvel contemporaries - and as such, its references range from the likes of '70s Martin Scorsese crime films all the way to dark real-life events.
From the moment the first teaser dropped, fans were quick to point out similarities between Joker and Scorsese films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy - a connection bolstered by Robert De Niro's presence in the Joker cast. But the film also manages to sneak in references to films as varied as Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times and the action spoof Zorro, The Gay Blade.
While the film as a whole isn't fully based on a specific comic, it does reference several of the most famous Batman comics as well as the Joker's many comic book appearances through the decades. But no matter how closely you were watching the film, it was no doubt a bit challenging to pay attention to every tiny Easter egg while an off-duty clown was gushing blood from a scissor-wound to the neck. So, we've taken the liberty of compiling some of our favorite Easter eggs and references for your perusal.
- 1554 VOTES
Arthur's Bad Day Echoes His Origin In A Famous Alan Moore StorylinePhoto: Batman: The Killing Joke / DC Comics
Joker pulls from several important Batman comics to create its story, but the one it perhaps references most directly is The Killing Joke by writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland. In the classic 1988 comic, Joker - who also starts off as a struggling stand-up comedian - suggests it only takes "one bad day" to turn a person into either a hero like Batman or a monster like Joker.
In the movie, not only do the events happen over the course of just a few days, but Arthur Fleck, the budding Joker himself, says he had "a bad day."
- 2875 VOTES
That Warner Bros. Logo Is From The 1970s And '80sPhoto: Warner Bros.
Rather than the traditional Warner Bros. logo we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years, Joker opens with an entirely different, vintage version of the WB logo.
This isn’t some new design the filmmakers came up with to make the film appear dated - it’s the actual logo Warner Bros. used from 1972-1984.
- 3693 VOTES
Pogo The Clown Was John Wayne Gacy’s Alias
Arthur Fleck's disastrous stand-up set occurred at a comedy club called Pogo's.
This immediately brings to mind Pogo the Clown, which was the clown alias of the notorious John Wayne Gacy.
- 4384 VOTES
The Actor Who Played Bruce Wayne Also Played A Young Version Of Joaquin PhoenixPhoto: You Were Never Really Here / Amazon Studios
In 2017, Joaquin Phoenix starred in another movie about a dangerous weirdo who lives with his mom - Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here. Between scenes of Phoenix bashing people with a hammer, viewers are treated to flashbacks of the character’s childhood. The child who played the younger version of Phoenix's character was Dante Pereira-Olson.
In Joker, Phoenix reunites with his once-younger self, as the young Bruce Wayne is played by none other than Dante Pereira-Olson. Maybe the kid is just a good actor, but if they're trying to subtly imply Bruce could be Arthur Fleck's brother, picking somebody a casting director thought looked like a young Joaquin Phoenix is a great place to start.