Joker (2019 film)

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Name: Joker
Creator: dir. Todd Phillips
Date(s): 2019
Medium: Film
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Joker (2019) - IMDb
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Joker is the most recent adaptation of the DC comics character, The Joker. The film took a newer approach by featuring the backstory of the Joker and not featuring a conflict with Batman or any other superhero. Joker was well received amongst critics and the lead actor, Joaquin Phoenix, won an Academy Award.

The movie has had a mixed cultural and fannish impact. The film received criticism for centering the narratives of white men, portraying mental illness inaccurately, and some were concerned that it would glorify (and potentially lead to) real life violence. The film does have an active transformative fandom, but is viewed by others as a fandom dominated by white men (derisively called joker fanboys).

One obvious cultural impact is the frequent memes of the Joker dancing on stairs. The popular scenes of Arthur Fleck dancing have also lead to fan tourism and recreations (often including cosplay).


This article or section needs expansion.

Reception among long-time Joker or Batman fans. More details on some of the controversies.

Joker was criticized by some feminist superhero fans for its sympathetic portrayal of The Joker. One popular example of these criticisms is this (frequently reposted) tweet by @LeeFlower:

"LOGAN achieved everything JOKER wanted to achieve while being a better film and the fact that the one with the super insulting "you can only push white men so far before they become monsters" message got the best picture nom is proof that patriarchy really does hurt men too."[1]

Annalee (@LeeFlower)



Arthur Fleck (The Joker) is very frequently shipped with Original Female Characters and Reader-Inserts instead of canon characters to the point where Arthur Fleck/You is the most common pairing on AO3. Shipping trends from other incarnations of the Joker have carried over, and this fandom has many Harley Quinn/Joker and (aged up) Batman/Joker fanworks. The semi-canonical pairing of Sophie Dumond/Arthur Fleck has a small amount of fanworks as well. Arthur Fleck/Travis Bickle is a crossover slash ship with the aesthetically similar film Taxi Driver. Arthur/Travis has a small amount of works but contains one of the most popular fics in the fandom.

Dancing on the Stairs

A scene near the end of the movie has Arthur Fleck dancing playfully down a steep staircase in the Bronx. Many fans and reviewers see the dancing scene as a sign Arthur is accepting his identity as the Joker, making it an emotionally and visually resonant scene. The scene was arguably the most popular of the film and has been extensively memed.

An unknown fan also filmed a video of the scene as it was shot.[2]

The stairs have become a fan tourism destination, where fans will film themselves dancing on the steps, often in some form of cosplay or fannish homage. The phenomenon has become widespread enough that Wikipedia has an article on "Joker Stairs"[3] and was covered in a New York Times article.[4] In general, fan tourism is not always well-received by communities. The Joker Stairs have received specific criticism, notably by politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for the risk of increasing gentrification.[5]

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


Fanart and Graphics

Meta & Fannish Discussion

Archives and Fannish Links


Fannish Links


  1. ^ Tweet thread by @LeeFlower, Archived version (Accessed July 26, 2020)
  2. ^ Someone Filmed the Original Take of Joker’s Stairs Dance Scene from Their Window (Accessed July 26, 2020)
  3. ^ Joker Stairs on Wikipedia (Accessed July 26, 2020)
  4. ^ ‘Joker’ Stairs Become a Bronx Tourist Draw. Hope You’re in Shape. (Accessed July 26, 2020)
  5. ^ ‘This is for us’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asks Joker fans to stay away from iconic Bronx steps, Archived version (Accessed July 26, 2020)