Tarnishing the cliché’s of the DC “Grim-verse” that generally puts forth movies that are dark, both graphically and story-wise, the Joker is an amazing installation. It brings back the glory of the character which was badly hurt by the previous “Joke” of a Joker in Suicide Squad. Jared Letto could have done a better job than smearing lipstick on his hand and pretending to fake laugh every 10 minutes or so!
Featuring an Oscar-worthy performance by the amazing Joaquin Phoenix, Joker will make you forget about any reservations you had previously about DC movies if you are a Marvel Fan.
Don’t worry, DC has a lot of ground to cover before they catch up to Marvel’s smash hits every 2 months or so. But if they keep producing movies like this, Marvel is going to have a real threat on their radar.
From the beginning, you will see that the movie us an amazing spectacle that has drawn inspiration from movies like Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon and A Clockwork Orange, in creating a hellish New York City appropriate to the era.
It was the time when the crime was rampant everywhere; corruption had infested every facet of society; economic crisis was all over and social ills were just the air that people breathed. So, all in all, everything was fu**-ed up, and there was nobody and everybody to blame.
Gotham City is a hole where dreams and happiness went to die. Grimy despair and wealth disparity are two of the top problems that were hurting the city above all else. Why? Because the majority of the population felt that the rich were getting richer and they weren’t getting anything. Sounds Familiar?
Last but greatest of all the vices that rot Gotham was the Lawlessness. When all of the vices that were mentioned above are rampant, then the greatest one of them all rises and takes control of everything, and that is Lawlessness.
This is the environment where our charismatic villain is trying to make his life work. But Spoiler Alert! He doesn’t get rich from a desk job and instead turns into the most emotionally unstable rendition of Joker we have seen, as of yet.
Joker is set roughly around 1981 which not only allows the film to be a comic book rendition of classic films, but it also strips away the modern technology that would locate a madman in a heartbeat.
This was the time when literally everyone smoked everywhere and there were no rules and regulations to stop that, not even in hospitals. This was also the time when security cameras and metal detectors were not that common everywhere. Seat Belts were also non-existent.
Now you know about the whole society and the whole atmosphere that was just waiting for a spark to start an inevitable revolution that will shake the very foundations of the whole city. What’s the spark? Hint, it’s the name of the Movie.
Beautifully played by Joaquin Phoenix, the mentally disturbed Arthur Fleck is a pitiful presence in a merciless world who suffers every day. He is the struggling, neglected schlepp that is trapped in the harsh outskirts of society which will never let him win or even excel at anything.
Arthur is tried and tested every single day of his life, but still that society didn’t let him have a good break or a single happy day in his entire life.
As to how Arthur embraces his destiny and becomes the Joker by finding his liberation and joyful empowerment in that particular persona, the less you know the better before you watch the movie. Because this is the movie which should really be seen without coming in front of the spoiler train.
There is a lot of chatter nowadays about the movie’s leniency towards cruelty and murder, but you really have to keep an open mind when you watch the movie. This chatter exists because the “Woke” generation really doesn’t want violence displayed on their smartphones.
But regardless, Joker isn’t just about displaying violence in a specific era, it is a bonanza of the culture appropriateness violence that era exuded combined with an Oscar-worthy direction. It’s true, we really do create the monsters we ultimately deserve.
Joker is really the plea of the common people that have been pushed so far back to the outskirts of societal rationality that they are no longer bound to follow the ridiculous rules that control them.
The elite class has the power and the money which they regularly use to disregard the whole population and their rights, rather than criticizing a specific guilty individual or class.
But this story is so complex and rich with different philosophies that you really can’t put the blame on just the elite or the downtrodden. Gotham has become a hellhole where the callous are not just downtrodden and vicious are not just rich. These vile characteristics have been spread everywhere.
From the beginning of the movie, Arthur is constantly harmed either emotionally or physically by his loved ones, strangers and as well as the institutions that are designed to protect people exactly like him.
Throughout his whole life, he has been happy and one reason for that is because Arthur really is Gotham’s loneliest man. He has a lot of people that know him and have been in his life for a long time, but they are never sincere in showing him affection.
He’s betrayed and hurt by all of these people time and time again, till he had enough and makes sure to never let anyone affect anything in his life anymore.
Arthur really strives for a human connection throughout his life but tragically he doesn’t find that until he has brought down the nasty curtains that unveil society’s rotting state and bring it into a clear view for everyone to see.
An incredible thing about the storyline is that no matter how vile the actions of the protagonist are in the end and how much backstory the viewers are familiar with before watching the movie, they are still inclined to empathize with Arthur Fleck because of his human persona.
The Problems and constant rejection he faces, were not uncommon before and they are not even today. This is also another reason that the story is being targeted as a story that is lighting up the serial killer inside all of us because that’s apparently that’s the only reason why anybody would enjoy these kinds of movies, right?
But considering the absorbent mindset of the younger generation of today, the makers have constantly emphasized that any emotional connection that the viewers share with the protagonist must not be romanticized and just merely understood.
Now, you know when the direction and storytelling are that perfect, that they have to tell people to not follow what the villain is doing, the movie must be amazing. All of the credit to this perfection goes to Todd Phillip’s amazing cinematography and Joaquin Phoenix’s extraordinary performance.
Another defining feature of Arthur is that he has a condition of uncontrollable laughter which is from a deep psychological trauma he suffered at a very young age. He laughs so much to the point that it physically pains him at times.
His Physical structure is also very peculiar when he takes his shirt off revealing his rail-thin and battered physique. You can see his pain and misery on his deeply creased face. But all of this misery and physical pain seem to go away and disappear forever when he finally finds his true calling. He looks healthier and livelier when he accepts that his life will never be complete and fulfilling until he gets rid of all of the societal restraints that have been keeping him unhappy his whole life.
Joaquin captures all of the phases of Arthur, from the downtrodden minuscule life form to the highly deadly Joker, quite beautifully. Also, the interactions that Arthur and Joker have with the people around him are interesting, because they highlight quite a lot of the problems that the people of today even face on a daily basis.
The cinematography of this masterpiece is amazing because it will never let you be away from the face of the protagonist for more than a few moments. Some scenes are often claustrophobically tight on Phoenix and that strategy has worked.
How? Because you can finally understand, in-depth, what goes through the minds of such defeated and broken people, and how they are not listened to, in this society. This repeated unkindness ultimately forces them to make a mark and make people listen to them forcefully.
The movie has some other amazing cast members as well like Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy, but they don’t have big roles and the central position always belongs to Joaquin throughout the movie.
The movie has been incredibly revolved around the famous thought of the comic book Joker who once said that he would prefer his origin story to be sort of a multiple choice. You can see this thought being implemented on a grand scale throughout the movie when you are exposed to all sorts of ideas about the Joker, like “What he would do now?” or “Is this where he turns?”. We all know what he would become in the end but it’s a hell of a ride getting there.
Also, this movie ties Batman and Joker in a new story twist that has never been shown in any iteration of the previous Batman and Joker movies, all combined. So, in a way, we get to understand a lot of stuff that we previously didn’t even know, much less understand.
This movie will keep you on your toes and demands that you go to see it again multiple times. Due to many psychological problems with Arthur, you will be quite confused at first about what is real and what is imaginary. But it comes beautifully together, and you will cry about, smile about or hate the end, depending on your mindset. So, we urge you again, DO WATCH THIS ONE WITH AN OPEN MIND.
Joker is not just an awesome comic movie that is factually correct, it’s just an awesome movie, period. It will not make you love serial killers nor will it make you get up from your seat and start bashing heads with pens. No.
This movie will make you enjoy the character that has not been explored enough in the DC movies. It will make you understand what the downtrodden people of society go through on a daily basis and how constant negativity festers into the mind of the emotionally unstable. It will make you be more sensitive for the people around you and how a sympathetic ear is better than all of the amenities of this world.
Joaquin’s performance in this movie has been greatly accepted and that’s a big achievement considering what happened last time when this character was explored. He was under tremendous pressure from people all around him and also personally, but he still pulled it off rather magnificently. Highly Recommended.