In the 2019 Joker film, after finding out that his biological father could be Wayne, Joker arrives at the Wayne Manor’s front gate, where he teases a young Bruce Wayne.

He was then interrupted by a younger Alfred, who told him to leave. After refusing Joker’s wants to meet Thomas, the Joker grabs Alfred by his collar, and tries to choke him for a few seconds, before the Joker spared him and ran off. This is all while being outside a gate, against a butler whose life-long job is apparently to protect Bruce. To make things more embarrassing for Alfred, he was manhandled in front of a younger Bruce.

How is it possible for a malnourished, anorexic Joker to be able to physically dominate a seemingly well-fed, mentally, physically and financially superior butler in Alfred, who at the time, was much younger (and so theoretically stronger) than most interpretations of the character?

  • 8
    What makes you think he was malnourished or anorexic? He may not have been living the high life but I never got the impression he was starving or had issues with weight control. Apart from that, put the hungry and desperate up against a butler in any controlled fight. Take a guess who has the history and motivation to overthrow the other. In my opinion that guard - who I am not sure was even alfred - would have been surprised at how strong a common street thug could be, thin or not.
    – Kai Qing
    Dec 11, 2019 at 17:46
  • He was malnourished there were several scenes depicting his skinny spiny body. His mother also told him hes skinny and doesnt eat enough.
    – Ace Cabbie
    Dec 11, 2019 at 17:52
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    Maybe by appearance and conventional actor / dedication roles made Phoenix and the director choose to appear that way, but it doesn't necessarily mean he was brittle with weakness from being skinny. Many people are that thin without any real issues existing. And mothers - well, they all say that.
    – Kai Qing
    Dec 12, 2019 at 20:12
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    Exactly how is either (a) financial superiority or (b) Alfred being strong compared to old Alfred, supporting the claim that Alfred should've won the confrontation?
    – Flater
    Jan 21, 2020 at 11:23
  • What strikes me is.......isn’t Alfred a former British Intelligence agent? One could assume he’d have had some martial arts training in his past (the break the arms that are trying to choke you kind)....... Jan 22, 2020 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


He caught him off-guard.

Alfred likely felt fairly safe behind the gate. He probably didn't expect Arthur to be able to reach through the bars and grab him, or he would've stood further back. You say that Arthur "spared him", but I don't think he could've actually done much more to hurt Alfred from that position. I think he let go not to spare him, but because he knew Alfred would soon overpower him if he continued to try to hold onto him.

Also, I agree with the other commenters, in that while he is slim, I don't think he's necessarily malnourished. There's nothing I can remember in the film that suggests he's so poor that he can't afford to eat. In the scene where he gets into the refrigerator, it seems pretty well stocked.

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