Examples from Batman the movie
- Jack Nicholson's Joker actually isn't insane. He was always a clinical sociopath and Complete Monster. The only thing that changed with his change to the Joker was that he became The Unfettered due to the realization his boss was never going to let him inherit control of Gotham City. Really, all of the clown stuff was just window dressing to the fact he (ironically) looked like a clown.
- Although fans were initially dismayed by the idea of Michael Keaton being cast as Batman, it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, if you didn't think a man like Keaton could be Batman, then isn't that precisely the kind of reaction Bruce Wayne would be attempting to invoke about himself to preserve his secret identity?
- This was, in fact, Keaton's reasoning. He said in an interview that the actor doesn't have to play Batman as much as he has to play Bruce Wayne, or something similar.
- I always wondered why Alfred would slip up and tell Vicki that he and Bruce are going to be there for a while. Alfred is always very quick to catch on to what Master Bruce is doing and would surely have known what day it was...until I realized he did it on purpose! He obviously thought Vicki was good for Bruce and did his best throughout the film to make sure they stayed together, including letting her in the Bat Cave.
- Joker's televised Brand X stunt had an entire major city too terrified to clean their bodies, or their clothes, or the buildings... An entire city yanked back to The Dung Ages. Eventually people would start dying of things besides the poison, and from there it's a slippery slope to a Class-0 Apocalypse. Batman broke the Joker's "poison code" just in time to prevent millions of deaths. The original script was more clear about this, but the execs nixed a montage of filthy people fleeing Gotham.
- And the "actors" that he used in his commercial to advertize the Brand X? You think those were all done using his own brand of cheesy Special Effects Failure? Wrong! Those were actual victims of his Joker gas, lab rats if you will- made to talk with Syncro-Vox and dubbed with another person's voice! To prove the point, one of the people at the end of the commercial was a recent victim-a newscaster who was warning the citizens of Gotham about Joker.
- In the 1989 Batman film, we see what kind of weird shit the Joker did to his first girlfriend. Just imagine what he would have done to Vicky had he been able to get away.
- Oh, you're beautiful! In an old fashioned kind of way. But I'm sure we can make you more.. "today."
Examples from Batman in Comics
- The Batman and The Joker rivalry is full of Fridge Horror moments: among other notes:
- Batman, when confronted by former Robin and Joker victim Jason Todd over why he doesn't just kill Joker to save future victims of the murderous clown villain, proclaimed that he wouldn't kill Joker because he doesn't want to give up the "moral high ground" of not killing. That's right, Batman would rather let Joker keep killing (and stop others from offing the villain, as seen by the fact that Batman had ZERO problem slitting Jason's throat moments after making this proclamation) simply because of the fact that it's more important that Batman feel smug about himself and his moral superiority over the Joker.
- It's not that Batman's worried in the abstract that a murder would tarnish him, so much as it is that killing the Joker in specific would. The Joker is, after all, a lunatic, and not in control of himself. Batman, in contrast, tries to be the paragon of self-restraint and dedication to a higher ideal of justice. To kill the Joker, Batman must first admit that the justice he believes in is illusory. He wants to do it, he clearly knows that mathematically, leaving the Joker alive causes more deaths. He just knows that if he kills someone who can't help himself, he may as well be killing innocents.
- The Joker has acted on this multiple times, trying to commit suicide by Batman just to get Batman to compromise his morals. going with the Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight character interpretation, maybe he doesn't want Batman dead; maybe he wants the most moral person in Gotham to become a villain to prove his point. It is all just a game to him. Of course, it depends on the writer.
- Joker knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, especially after Batman unmasked in front of him during the "Batman RIP". While Joker has largely stated that he doesn't care who is under the cowl, the fact that he KNOWS Bruce Wayne is Batman is enough to chill a person's spine given that if the Joker got bored enough, one day he might act upon this information for massive damage.
- Dan Jurgens, during the most recent version of the "History of the DC Universe", opined the notion that Joker specifically carried out his attack on Commissioner Gordon and Barbara Gordon (which led to him trying to drive Commissioner Gordon insane and crippling Barbara Gordon for life) in The Killing Joke not to make a point about the slippery slope of insanity, but because he wanted to destroy people Batman cared about in order to hurt him in order to compensate for the fact that he couldn't kill Batman himself. Given how Joker is insane enough to be playing chess on God knows how many levels, that adds a new level of horror as far as why he picked Gordon for his experiment.
- Not to mention the fact that Joker basically crippled Batgirl without even KNOWING that Barbara was Batgirl. Though he later found out after the fact, it's a scary thing to know that Joker eliminated one of his main enemies as an innocent bystander.
- This bit of Fridge Horror was partially undone by her conversion to Oracle. He didn't eliminate her. Not even close.
- Have you ever noticed why Gotham City, whenever it is depicted in comic books, film, television shows, cartoons, or video games, is always depicted in a thick fog? Well, if you need to make something like the Batsignal, which is basically a giant flashlight, visible against the night sky so that a vigilante can see it from anywhere in a giant metropolis like Gotham, what better weather condition to have than constant fog?
- One of the reasons why Dick is so much more well-adjusted than Bruce is because Bruce's parents died when he was eight while Dick was closer to twelve, possibly even thirteen. Dick was already starting to grow more independent from his parents and starting to form his own identity while Bruce was at a stage in his life where you rely on your parents for everything, even a sense of self. Another thing is that the Flying Graysons were trapeze artists whose main attraction was that they often worked without a net, and when you work in a line like that you must accept the fact that accidents can and will happen. Dick always knew at the back of his mind that there may come a night where his parents might not come home. He may not expect it, but he knew it could happen. Bruce's parents were socialites there was no inherent danger in their lives and thus their loss is so much more shattering for him.
- Legendarylugi has always understood that being a Badass Normal is what Batman's all about. He's meant to be "feasible" in our world. Nonetheless, it has puzzled me in the past that whenever they give him temporary superpowers, it's always someone else's powers or a mech-suit or something that otherwise has little to do with bats. Then it occured to me: that is precisely the point. If they gave him non-tech powers entwined in his mythos (like make a pact with some Bat-god or whatever), those powers would be much, much harder to throw-away by the end of the issue! No matter how well meaning the author of such a story, no matter how carefully he disposes of those powers, the potential for abuse is tremendous... people would be tempted to bring those powers back into the story more and more often, undermining the point of them being a one-shot deal, and it could cripple the hard-earned reputation of the Bat-mythos as the ultimate Badass Normal. -- Legendarylugi
- I knew that Batman in recent years is said to have a secret plan to defeat any of his fellow heroes in case they go evil. I came to realize that he did, in fact, also have a plan in place to defeat himself if he went evil: having a second person close to him, with a similar past, has spent his life studying Batman's fighting style (and adding his own twists to it), is personally familiar with both his lives as Batman and Bruce Wayne, and is young enough that he wouldn't be corrupted by whatever cynicism drove Batman himself over the edge. In other words: Robin. -Thunder Phoenix
- I just realized that and another thing: his increased detachment and douchebaggery towards his former and current sidekicks in the recent years has been a calculated move to make them able to defeat him if they ever needed to. -- Jericho
- The one person he stays civil towards at all times is Alfred. Even when he's angry, exhausted, bitter, ect. He would never hurt Alfred willingly. So if he ever does, everyone will know that he's either gone too far or influenced by another being. And since the entire Bat-Family (and most other heroes that visit the Batcave) love and are loved by Alfred, they will not hesitate to protect him and fight Bruce.-Calico
- This does go a long way toward explaining why Batman was distant toward Dick Grayson as he became Nightwing: not only did it allow his former protegee to more clearly establish his own identity (and gain a considerable network of allies, including many of Batman's allies) it increased Grayson/Nightwing's effectiveness should Batman ever need to be confronted.
- It also explains why Batman seems to go through partners rather quickly: he's literally pushing the Robins from the nest as they get old enough to operate on their own.
- Reading this, I thought of another level... while Batman doesn't really need a fail-safe to protect the world from himself (Bruce Wayne is actually far more dangerous), he DOES need to protect HIMSELF from his own ever-festering dark side. The Robins, Alfred, Jim Gordon, the JLA, all of his out-of-character closeness to people who can stop him is part of a massively-obsessive program to deter himself from going rogue and eventually doing something to disappoint his parents' ghosts. I'm Black Mister Scott, and I approved this message.
- It was only recently that I realized why The Joker's trademark outfits are almost always purple, all the way back to his first appearance - his insanity is achieved by mixing the aspects of Red Oni, Blue Oni (he's Ax Crazy and often not concerned with "take over the world" schemes, but at the same time extremely proud and concocts elaborate plots simply to inflict misery on insignificant-seeming people), much like red and blue are mixed to create purple.
- If you view their partnership as if they are some sort of comedy duo, Harley Quinn is the Joker's straight man.
- Doubly funny, because she's neither a man, nor apparently from the various insinuations, straight.
- Red Robin is a ridiculous name, mainly because of the American restaurant chain. But it occurred to me that they wouldn't have Red Robins in Gotham. It's a target painted precisely for the Joker. Wouldn't be surprised if they don't have McDonald's, either.
The Killing Joke
- When the Black Glove catch Batman in the second-last chapter, what did they do? They trapped him in a coffin and buried him. It's a death-trap. A literal death-trap.