No Joking, It’s An Oscar Version Of A Comic Book Movie

           Joker Poster

The comic book movie craze has gotten a bit out of hand with all the latest stunts and money wars that have led to the universes getting a little out of control.  In regards to the DC universe, again the movies are hit or miss in regards to the true comic book movie prose.  Yet, deep in the nest of Hollywood, there are still writers and directors that are willing to diverge from the common trend in an effort to bring a more artful style to the genre.  Tonight, DC attempts to do just that, with a character profile movie on one of their most legendary villains the Joker.  After multiple cameos, the world of comics looks to a new retelling to bring more quality to the comic book world.

 

Movie:  Joker (2019)

 

Director:

Todd Phillips

Writers:

Todd PhillipsScott Silver

Stars:

Joaquin PhoenixRobert De NiroZazie Beetz

 

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Profiling
  • Great Cinematography
  • The use of music
  • Dive into the madness
  • Great Acting

 

 

Dislikes/Warnings

  • Violence
  • Pacing
  • An Open Ending
  • Timeline differences
  • Not feeling Very Joker Esque
  • Some plot points that are vague

 

 

Summary:

First off this movie is not really a superhero, or in this case a supervillain film.  Instead, the movie feels like a film that is more of dive into the psychiatric profile of a man trying to make it into a chaotic world and wearing a supervillain mask at the same time.  One of Joker’s key strengths is that film manages to capture the insanity of psychiatric disease amazingly, blending a number of symptoms and transforming them into a mixed-up world where reality and fiction dance a twisted tango.  Utilizing great cinematography, the visuals by Phillips guidance somehow manage to take an internal perspective and personify it on the screen, sort of trapping you into the dimension of Artie’s mind.  Dark filters, contrasting light, and an element of dismay even in bright lit rooms build up the premonition of safety does not exist even in the light of day, which somehow adds to the horror of this disease.  Throw in all the use of music that not only coordinates with general pan over scenes of Gotham’s descent into madness, but  also in coordination with Phoenix’s dance moves that seem built amidst this classical, haunting music that represents the auditory hallucinations.  It’s all brought to the front though with the acting primarily with Phoenix carrying the pillars of which this movie is built on.  He’s got the laugh down, the smile, the bizarre mannerisms, and much more, in what almost feels like a natural extension of his self on the screen and he runs with it like an Olympic Sprinter.  It’s this acting that sort of takes everything mentioned previously and exemplifies it in human form, opening the world to another disturbing mind of a serial killer whose lethality can only be imagined.

 

Yet, there are things that will mix up the audience’s reception of it depending on what expectation you walk into the theater with.  In regards to the promotion of violence, it’s not quite as terrifying as people think (believe me there have been worst movies).  Still a warning to the audience is some rather realistic twists to the violence that may sort of promote the behavior, so impressionable minds beware, you’re in for a scare.  Past this though, the pacing of the Joker is mixed for me.  On the one hand I appreciate the slow timing to allow for the buildup and development of Joker’s origin.  Yet, the ending did not quite deliver the finessed ending this pacing did, given the world they based it.  True, it’s still terrifying and a great start to a serial killer’s reign, but the question is whether the tale lived up to the name the movie borrowed.  In addition, despite the movie being self-contained, the ending is one of those that leaves it semi-open for interpretation as to what happened/ did not happen in the story.  I myself am not a fan of such openings, so it’s a dislike for me, but for others you might just enjoy its fitting with the psychotic principal of the movie.  Finally, the story components are technically all there, but there are some elements that feel a little bumpy in this smooth transverse to psychotic zones.  Some elements are a little on the back burner, primarily in regards to some other back stories about his previous experiences with facilities.  Other points are almost not needed at all, given the direction they did, but that may just be my over analyzing nature.  Nevertheless, the one element that bothers me is the “age” difference of the world they set.  Again, the Joker name, and my comic book history, sort of scratches at the itch of a timeline established in this movie between him and his future nemesis.  For the general audience it won’t be an issue, but for those lore based comic book fans, well you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Joker is indeed a film festival movie, that utilizes all the elements that the Academy Awards love, and tries to bring it into the world of comic book-based movies.  On the plus side it’s different, fantastically shot, and a portrayal of the madness that a literary icon has gotten in his graphic novel forms.  Again, I feel this movie is like a twisted version of A Beautiful Mind, with once more a fantastic actor driving home the point of the character.  Still, the use of the Joker name almost is a misnomer, because the grandiose antics, that classic insanity of cunning plans and foresight for moves, and even the big bang are sort of missing for me.  I think had they integrated a few more of the comic book qualities into the film the name works, or drop the name altogether and just be a psychological profile.  Still, this mad production requires at least a once over in my opinion, and can be enjoyed at both the theater or home viewing depending on your expectations. 

 

My scores are:

Crime/Drama/Thriller:  8-8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

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