Arthur Fleck is about to have his world turned upside down
I encourage you to go and watch this trailer, and try to look at it with no expectations. Because if you do that, you would have no idea what this movie actually is about. It’s a “Been pushed too far” story about some random dude. You’d have zero idea that it takes place in Gotham City, or that it is about Batman’s most famous villain. Aside from the one Arkham Asylum shot and the overuse of clowns and clown makeup screaming “HEY THIS IS A JOKER MOVIE, GET IT?! CLOWNS!!!!”
The way this movie is shot and the editing in the trailer, it comes off as a very cliched student art film more than a big budget studio movie. The inconsistency of Warner Bros DC movies is honestly baffling and mostly laughable at this point. There is a sort of looking at a trainwreck curiosity to these films now. “It can’t be that bad…can it?” I’m ready for DC to just go out of business at this point. Nothing they do can make me want to watch their insane joke of a product anymore. Even with the Joker, DC has 3 different versions in the collective consciousness. 1st you have the Suicide Squad Joker which is so bad that it’s barely worth mentioning, but for the sake of argument, I will. Then you have the Gotham TV show Joker which got his own trailer and was shown for the first time like 3 days ago. Somehow he was created by Bruce Wayne when they were still in Jr High. And now you have Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, a weirdo random guy who gets bullied until he has had enough.
Suicide Squad Joker was so bad, he was barely in the movie. Jared Leto’s Joker makes me feel like he’s more of a stupid college aged kid who’s mom and dad didn’t hug him enough so now he listens to 2000’s era Marilyn Manson and tries to make society accept him by tattooing “Ha Ha” on his forehead and bleaching his skin white while wearing Lil’ Wayne teeth. He is a sad joke of a portrayal of the character and whoever thought this incarnation was bringing justice to the villian should be drug out into the street and shot.
Next, you have DC’s TV show Gotham’s Joker. I watched the pilot episode of Gotham when it aired, when I was still in that starry eyed “maybe THIS one will be good” blissfully ignorant phase of DC fandom. Batman didn’t have all this Rogues Gallery form when he was still in school, not everyone knew each other and went to school together. That is what I’ve gleaned happened over the last several years and this show still somehow has been on the air. This week Gotham is winding down with their last two episodes, where Joker has been slowly introduced and his orgin story has been happening over the seasons. They finally show off their Joker as more of a high school drama club play of Gollum playing Joker than a human who underwent a tragic transformation by being scared in acid. Again, another asinine attempt at being edgey to the point that the reaction of Joker’s hand being impaled by a batarang and him giving out a audible pop laugh of “Ho!” is the same reaction I had. A “Ho! THAT’S what they went with? Gollum in facepaint?!”
And now we come to the NEW, NEW, NEW Joker. This trailer doesn’t scream Batman, it doesn’t scream DC, it screams here is our avant garde take on Joker. What we get is a two minute trailer that might seem familiar… maybe a bit too familiar. Like you’ve seen this before, and it’s because you have. This has a very similar style and feel because it’s a Scorsese film. Take Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy and bam, you have the new Joker movie. It’s not a good idea, it’s not a fresh take, but it is not as embarrassingly bad as that last two Joker interactions. So for that, I’m thankful… I guess. The trailer has a weird Billy Elliot vibe to me, like this has nothing to do with a comic book, but more just a film that plays it pretty safe but tries to pull at your heartstrings by having manufacture bullies that don’t feel real at all.
So what do I actually make of this movie so far. It seems like something that everyone will flock to, like every DC movie, hoping this time they get it right and get their DC universe back on track. For me, I’m totally indifferent. There is no way they can get it back on track. They should take a note from Universal, they saw that Mummy movie turn out so bad, that they canned the whole “Dark Universe” completely… after ONE movie. Good on them. DC can’t take a hint. Their movies are so wildly different from each other, but all so boring and bland and just ugly that they somehow keep making them and none connect with each other. Since this is the third new version of the joker in 10 years (not counting the only actual good new joker variant, the comics version with his face cut off and stapled back on again) I struggle to see why this movie even exists. With another two different Joker movies in the works as well, DC just played their hand to the world. Showing everyone what we already knew. They don’t have a damn clue what they are doing.
This Joker movie will come in October, people will see it and most likely like it. It won’t be raved about, but it won’t be burned at the stake like Suicide Squad was. This is DC’s most safe movie they have ever made. It’s the cotton candy of villains. It’s sweet and fun to look at, but when you get into it, it become a gross mess and quickly evaporates.