Joker Review


Joseph Frescott, Sports Editor

The movie Joker has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2019; it finally came out October 4th, 2019. After its weekend debut, the blockbuster movie has already broke numerous October movie records. Days after it’s release, the film already destroyed Venom’s global opening record, as overseas box office sales raked in $140.5M from 73 different countries. Clearly, these numbers show the excitement and anticipation of fans to go see their beloved Batman villain on the big screen for the fifth time. 

Although Joker debuted as a box office hit, it did not come without its fair share of controversy. Many criticize the film for seemingly encouraging the violence of people with mental health issues/disorders and portraying murder and anarchy in a positive light. This is a valid argument, considering the film is rated R and is told from the perspective of the “bad guy.”  Moreover, it was made clear by director Todd Philips that their intention was for the audience to sympathize with the villain and understand what caused his descent into madness. With all of this being said, the movie was rated R for a reason, and was not written for the typical PG-13 superhero audience. It is a dark film, and is one that should be enjoyed by those mature enough to not be persuaded by this violence.

With the criticism aside, the movie itself was unique from any other “superhero movie” we have ever seen. This genre defining film was executed very well, and was one of the best blockbusters of our generation. The movie follows the life of Arthur Fleck, a street clown and wanna-be stand up comedian who suffers from mental health issues that make him an outcast in the grim and dark society of Gotham City. The film takes place in a politically corrupt aforementioned city of Gotham in 1981. It tracks the main characters transformation from a lower class “nobody” into the legendary Batman villain known as Joker. 

Throughout the films progression, themes such as the lack of support for the mentally ill and the effects of a society that has abandoned these people are prevalent, and can be seen as the prime motivation for the titular characters metamorphosis into the clown prince of crime. The director did a great job of emphasizing these themes and setting the mood of the movie through the cinematography, phenomenal dialogue, and most importantly, the acting. 

As a whole, the best aspects of the film were the acting and the plethora of  twists written into the movie. Overall, the acting was stellar, with Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Joker being the highlight of the film. Throughout the duration of the film, he embraced the insanity of the character, balancing the awkwardness and derangement of Arthur Fleck as he transformed into a psychotic killer. His role as Joker is truly deserving of an Oscar nomination. 

The one criticism you can make for the movie comes from the scene where the Joker dances down the iconic stairs as he heads to his appearance on the Murray Franklin Show. The song choice was  “Rock and Roll part 2” by Gary Glitter. For one, scene was controversial, as the artist has a troubling history. With that aside, the song doesn’t fit with the movies aesthetic, and felt like it was more appropriate for a sporting event rather than a meaningful film. With that being said, besides those 30 seconds, the movie had little to no flaws. 

When it comes to the future implications of this movie on the DC Universe, director Todd Philips has made it clear that he has no intention of connecting this Joker film to a larger Batman universe. To myself and many fans, this comes as a disappointment, as most people would love to see this version of Joker in a film with the caped crusader. However, this movie has been tremendously successful thus far, and the money it has generated could very well lead to a possible sequel.