Directed by Todd Philips
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Brett Cullen
Ahh, Batman. King of the superhero adaptations at this point. But people are always looking for new facets of the Dark Knight to explore. And thus, we get a solo film exploring the origins of his greatest nemesis, the Joker. I was mildly curious about the whole endeavour. I mean, they’ve been trying to do Batman-less Batman stories on TV for years. Would they be able to do so on the big screen?
Arthur Fleck is a deeply disturbed man. He suffers from a litany of mental illnesses, the most prominent of which is neurological condition that makes him occasionally burst out in uncontrollable fits of laughter. But, he soldiers on, working as a party clown, pursuing a dream of stand-up comedy, and being the caregiver for his ailing mother. He does find solace in his favourite late night talk show, and starts developing a relationship with a woman who lives in his building. It’s not long, though, before he reaches his breaking point and kills three men on the subway. As his life starts to spiral out of control, Arthur begins his path to becoming one of the greatest criminals Gotham City has ever known.
What I Liked
Joaquin Phoenix gives a truly remarkable performance as Fleck, making him both sympathetic and unlikable at the same time. It really is his movie, as he commands the screen every time he’s on. There’s a few knowing references to Batman lore, and how they incorporate the Wayne family into this is pretty neat. But….
What I Didn’t Like
I almost lost it at the end. It seems like there’s one scene that must be in every Batman movie, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t find a way to shoehorn it in.
I found Joker to be a very disturbing film, but very good. I’m not big on scary films, but I got my one for this Halloween, thank you very much.