After the tragic passing of Heath Ledger and a disappointing performance by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, this new Joker could be the one the fans have been looking for. And truth be told, I could not be more excited.
The premise for this film seems to be taking inspiration from the famous graphic novel, The Killing Joke. Borrowing elements such as the character of Joker being a failed comedian and going insane because of just “one bad day.” But from set photos, it seems as if the film is also taking notes from two Martin Scorsese pictures, The King Of Comedy and Taxi Driver. This is music to my ears because Taxi Driver is one of my all time favorite movies and the fact that it helped inspire this movie, makes me think it will take this Joker in a new direction than any previous film.
I will admit that I was a little taken aback at first when I realized that Batman would not even exist yet and that Thomas Wayne would still be alive when the Joker is around causing trouble. But the more I thought about it, I realized that this gives the filmmakers more room to explore this interpretation of the character. To also see that this film is going to be rated R excites me. Just like Deadpool and Logan, this would just add to the creativity and new elements of what R rated superhero films still have to offer.
The selling point for me with this upcoming DC film is that it exists on its own and can tell it’s own story without having to build a cinematic universe. Recent DC films such as Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League failed to impress me for multiple reasons, but the studio interference that forced the films to build a universe of possibilities as opposed to make coherent and enjoyable movies were evident throughout all of them. The fact that this movie takes place in its own universe where the focus of the film is the story and character progression relieves me beyond words.
Due to set pictures being leaked from the film, we can see what Joaquin Phoenix will look like before he transforms into the villain we all know. A normal citizen named Arthur Fleck is seen on set before the Joker transformation, but nothing yells out Joker more than his creepy, villainous smile. Add in the iconic suit and make up, I’m not only impressed, but intimidated by this Joker. Combined with the iconic green hair and a Heath Ledger-like appearance, a reference to Caesar Ramiro’s sad clown face, and the bright colors of Jack Nicholson, Phoenix shows a Joker that understands and respects the original designs of the character. Joaquin Phoenix also brings many new elements to the table not seen in any other Batman films, such as his red nose and blue eye shadow, his closer resemblance to a clown, and his background story as a failed comedian being a huge focus for the character.
Until it’s released on October 4th 2019, I can only speculate what the overall quality will be; however, the preview and set photos that have been shown so far, most certainly puts a smile on my face.