Maybe it was inevitable. A Joker standalone movie starring Joaquin Phoenix? Could it be anything less than batty-looking? I can’t even imagine where the final product will go. Somewhere weird, I’m sure and conflicting, that has things I love and things I despise.
This newest take on the character is an Elseworlds spin on yet another multiple-choice origin for the Clown Prince of Crime. Assuming that’s Bruce Wayne that he makes smile near that gate in the trailer (and it almost certainly is), then this puts the Joker’s origin before Batman’s emergence, rather than after. It takes parts of The Killing Joke with Phoenix being a comedian and seems to replace his wife with his mother. There’s also a splash of Taxi Driver in there.
Do we really need this, though? Do we really need another story romanticizing this character? Are there not enough people already who idolize and sympathize with The Joker and think he and Harley Quinn are so romantic? I can’t help but see this and cringe ahead of time at how much of a Tortured Hero he will become to thousands of people. In this world we live in, do we really need a story justifying and making a hero of a mentally-ill man’s descent into crime and madness? I can see the manifestos already. The world doesn’t need more justification of the horrible behavior of awful men. We’ve seen this story too many times
I hope that ultimately this isn’t where this movie goes. Please give me the old Shyamalan twist, DC. I don’t want two hours of movie telling me why the freaking Joker is actually a good guy.
I’m sure this will be an interesting, well-acted movie if nothing else. Phoenix is reliably incredible, and it all looks interesting enough. Anyone who has seen Atlanta knows Brian Tyree Henry and Zazie Beetz will be fantastic. If you haven’t seen Atlanta, go watch it. This is now an Atlanta-promotion article. You can come back afterward. Trust me, regardless of how good Joker is, I doubt it will match Atlanta.
Hopefully, you’ll be done in time to catch Joker when it hits theaters in October.