When the last trailer for The Joker dropped last week, we were blown away by how the incredible revisionist of director Todd Phillips turns into the iconic DC Comics villain, and Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of failed comedian Arthur Fleck. But obviously we didn't know half of it.
The movie debuted at the Venice Film Festival this past weekend and this should already tell you that this is not your average comic book movie. And according to the response from the critics present, there is absolutely nothing average about this movie. The R-rated joker has been hailed as a cinematic "masterpiece" with the introduction of Phoenix, which obviously makes him a sure Oscar contender. At the time of writing, the movie has an 88% Fresh RottenTomatoes rating of 9.05 / 10. Damn it!
In addition to being an absolutely transformative representation of the Phoenix age, praise has also been drawn to trends similar to Phillips' Martin Scorsese, with much comparison to the taxi driver and the King of Comedy. Special mention is made of how brutal and frugal it is. Several critics have had some issues with the film – especially how the character's actions in the film can be roughly understood, thanks to Phillips not making some necessary narrative choices – but overall the Joker sounds like a true classic in the making.
Here are some Twitter reactions from those who have to see it after leaving the screening. That is, after the eight-minute standing ovation they gave the film.
The Joker full embargo has been lifted, so full reviews have also fallen into network. Here are some excerpts.
Featuring a bolt-on, fully-realized and Oscar-winning performance by Joaquin Phoenix, the Joker will do as much as a marvelous character exploration without any of his addictions to DC Comics; that just so happens to be a brilliant movie about the Batman universe is the cherry on the Batfan cake. You will probably leave the Joker feeling the way I did: unsettled and ready to discuss the movie for years to come.
There was a danger that Phillips' decision to take inspiration from Martin Scorsese and, in particular, to seek a marriage between the taxi driver, the King of Comedy and the Middle Streets – some of Scorsese's largest and most divisive works. The result is a bit of a miracle, since the success of the pursuit of the 70s and early 80s of Scorsese is almost certainly doomed to disappoint … unless Phillips succeeds.
Rather, Phillips is not just "succeeding" – I will speak blasphemy and say that it is quite possible to succeed in certain ways that Scorsese would probably not have.
Deadline – 5/5
Phoenix is all then some, a performance so dazzlingly risky and original that you can start engraving his Oscar name right now. No joke, this is a movie – premiered today at the Venice Film Festival – unlike any other in the DC universe and you will find it impossible to shake off. At least I did.
The supporting cast could not have been better and this included De Niro and Francis Conroy as Arthur's mother, along with many others along the way. This movie will make you feel – and think. In the face of seemingly weekly massacres at the hands of someone with a gun, this tale of Joker's comic book origins is a must.
Gamespot – 10/10
You can stumble into place as Fleck crosses line by line. He commits incredible crimes – as we see in real-life headlines at first glance every day. And the worst part is that throughout the movie, many of these actions seem justified. Fleck never becomes completely unlikeable – as viewers, we can always understand where it comes from. The Joker humanizes the killer in a way that can make the kinds of dispossessed mass murderers in the real world that we now see regularly salivating – or, in the worst case scenario, give them inspiration. It's powerful and potentially contradictory, which is part of what makes this movie absolutely necessary to watch right now.
Guardian – 5/5
What a gloriously audacious and explosive Joker movie. It is a tale that is almost as distorted as the person in its center, full of ideas and aimed at anarchy.
After brazenly grabbing Scorsese films, Phillips has stolen ingredients into something new, so what started out as a fun cosplay session becomes progressively more dangerous – and in some ways more relevant.
Meanwhile, the movie lies and enchants Arthur, even as he shakes his head, sincerely and sorrowfully over his violent behavior. There is a pointless subplot involving a neighbor in the Arthur apartment building, played by Zazie Betz, in an undeveloped role. (Betz also appears in another film here at the festival, "The Benedict Andrews Seber," where she has been given much more work.) Arthur has an embarrassment on her, and though he doesn't hurt her, there is still something terribly entitled to his attention. to her, He could easily be considered the patron saint of the Incels. ”
Empire – 5/5
It is a sad, chaotic, slow burning of an invisible person; which does not even exist in the world around them. But your empathy, even sympathy, is not guaranteed, and it begins to dissolve as Arthur somehow moves even further to the ends. We must not forget the story of how the villain was made. But what writer / director Todd Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver (8 miles, fighter) have put into life is the Joker as a hero. What they and the movie are interested in is the mental, moral, emotional, physical makeup of the person who has become the Joker.
The Joker is the origin story of comics with very little comics in it. All of this very purposefully feels like a love letter to cinema from the late 70's, early 80's, and not in other dark DC superhero movies like Tim Burton's Batman or Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Using this somber aesthetic, Phillips is much more interested in dissecting what makes a comic book character real than making a real comic book character, and to that end he is successful. Arthur is a charming and infinitely fascinating person. He is also terrifying for most of the movie sympathetic.
RogerEbert – 2/4
The plot itself is not a complete omission. But once the movie starts shooting footage of "A Clockwork Orange" (and yes, Phillips and company have Warners let them use the Saul Bass studio logo for the original credits, still in white and red), you know that its priorities are less fun than generating self-importance. As a social commentary, The Joker is ruinous junk.
Irresponsible propaganda for men who pathologize … Is the joker festive or horrible? Or is there simply no difference whatsoever in Natural Born Killers or countless other "America, Man" movies about the liberation spoil of spoilage?
Indiewire – C + Todd Phillips' The Joker is by far the most daring reboot of the superhero movie from The Dark Knight; a true original that is sure to be remembered as one of the most sinister studio blockbusters of the 21st century. It's also a toxic cry for self-pitying insults and a hyper-known origin story, so much owed to "Taxi Driver" and "Comedy King" that Martin Scorsese probably deserves executive producer credit. It possesses that provocative spirit that is rarely encountered in any kind of mainstream entertainment, but is also directed by a celebrated paramedic who lacks the discipline or nuance to handle such dangerous material and who reliably drives the coward out of most of the story critical moments.
The Joker is due out on October 4, 2019.
Last updated: September 2, 2019