Joker (Post-release)

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What did you think of Joker?


  • Total voters
    87

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Mr Webber

Master Member
What an incredible cinematic experience and achievement. Literally just got back and I'm still inside that Gotham hanging on for dear life. Everything else is just folly for me moving forward. If the cultural vandals that feign fear and offense prevent further exploration of this version of Joker by effecting the box office then it will be a terrible loss.
 

Chicagovader

Sr Member
Just got back from seeing it and want to see it again! Joaquin Phoenix is amazing and if he doesn't win an Oscar for his performance I will be extremely shocked! Todd Phillips hit this one out of the part, while dark and disturbing (as it should be) it's so well shot that you don't want to look away for a second.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Just caught this and while I think there's much to say for Joaquin Phoenix and this movie's tone and its successes, I thought this movie was very good and just that. There's something about it that just falls short of being great for me while there's so much here that could've been great.

It's hard to not see this film and compare it to Scorsese's work, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy are two very big and obvious influences, and while it does well at capturing that look and texture of his 70's films, and the direction is serviceable, there's something empty about this for me. It lacks a certain panache. I wouldn't say it's unremarkable, but it is very conventional. Although, I must admit, it might just be me spotting where the influences are and unfairly comparing what's done here to the master film maker that it's drawing from.

I suppose it ultimately lacks subtlety, for me. It's a character study that focuses more on plot than character. I understand it's supposed to be a character study but there's ultimately no character development. We're with Travis Bickle as he grows more alienated and increasingly unstable; Arthur Fleck is already alienated and incredibly unstable. Everything else after our introduction to him isn't so much for us to build an empathic connection to him, but a justification for his violent actions. It's not formulaic but it is very "A + B = C"; Arthur needs to become the "Joker" so these things have to be in place for him to get there. One hinderance I felt that would've helped with that is that we're never really shown how bad Gotham is, beyond some shots of mountains of litter and garbage, all of its problems are all given through dialogue, on or off-screen, or in recycled real-world news bulletins. I think giving some time to just show what Gotham (70's New York, basically) from the street level would've helped fill out that world more.

While I enjoyed that film, it's not where I think it wants to be. I commend it trying to be a level above the current offerings of these comic book movies, but that's what's so frustrating about thinking about the movie more after my initial viewing: it's just not quite there.
 

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JoeG

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Disappointed that they went the route of painting the Joker as a sympathetic character. This is a character that didn't need an origin story. Making excuses for why he's a psychopathic homicidal maniac goes against the very nature of what the comics established the Joker as being. On top of it, making him Thomas Wayne's ******* and half brother to Bruce Wayne/Batman is just silly. If this movie were about any other character, it would be fine. It didn't need to be the Joker and making it so diminishes the work in this film.
 

Chicagovader

Sr Member
Disappointed that they went the route of painting the Joker as a sympathetic character. This is a character that didn't need an origin story. Making excuses for why he's a psychopathic homicidal maniac goes against the very nature of what the comics established the Joker as being. On top of it, making him Thomas Wayne's ******* and half brother to Bruce Wayne/Batman is just silly. If this movie were about any other character, it would be fine. It didn't need to be the Joker and making it so diminishes the work in this film.

He wasn't Wayne's son, his mother adopted him and was mentally ill her self with delusions about Thomas Wayne...it was right in the film, that's why he snapped and smothered his mother in the hospital.
 

Gerard2567

Active Member
Things I liked

  • The film was okay. Of course, I didn't think it would ultimately fit with batman in the picture because of the joker's motives making more sense and such personality actually seems able to be rehabilitated to allow integration into society in modern times. I guess that explains why it's set in the 1970's, where mental health wasn't considered an issue.

  • I like the more grounded 'mental illness' approach to it. It actually suits most criminology theories of why criminals do what they do. In this case, Arthur was abused as a child and suffered trauma from the incident which has permanently scarred his psyche. He seems irreparable and it makes you feel sorry for him. The combination of his mothers neglect due to mental illness and the abuse in childhood will more than definitely harm his mental state. A lot of people say the Joker doesn't need a backstory, because he's pure evil. That's not always the case. Actually, I'd say that's less than a point 1 billion per cent chance of that occurring! Everyone has a tolerance. There are very rare cases of bad people being born... a bad egg.
    • Although I don't understand why people say he wasn't developed? I thought that development was great! It makes total sense to me! But in saying that I agree with Poopa in that Gotham needs to be expanded upon other than word of mouth that the rich are evil and poor are stomped on. The two supporting elements that suggest that idea are just Thomas and Arthurs words.

  • In a way, the film promotes mental health awareness, but I believe that was unintentional

  • I also loved the reversed roles in comparison to the Dark Knight Returns. Instead of batman inspiring the bad people (mutants) to become good people (sons of batman), it's the joker inspiring the citizens of Gotham to become chaotic. It parallels him even better.

Things I hated

  • Joker wasn't funny. I know, that's supposed to be ironic of the character, but to me, the dark jokes made in a lot of other adaptations have grown on me. Just my opinion. I prefer he'd be funnier.

  • How can Batman's character development out-do the jokers? The Batman on most adaptations has a moral code in which he will imprison the Joker as many times as he has to, no matter how bad he is, just to show he's better than him. I don't think the Batman can actually exist in this universe with the same moral codes considering both his father and butler Alfred (who Bruce looks up to) were both abusive people who couldn't spare any time with normal citizens. Even in Batman Begins, Thomas is portrayed as a person who wants to genuinely help the community whilst in this film, he's just hungry for power it seems.


Now. Before someone brings it up. I don't emphasize with the movie. I just love that it accurately portrays these issues.
 

JoeG

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
He wasn't Wayne's son, his mother adopted him and was mentally ill her self with delusions about Thomas Wayne...it was right in the film, that's why he snapped and smothered his mother in the hospital.

Towards the end of the film Arthur holds a cheesecake photo of his mother with a note from Thomas on the back implying that she indeed have an affair with him and that the part about him covering up Arthur's true parentage is correct. This could be part of the unreliable narrative that we see in the film, but it purposely made it seem ambiguous. Given the overall tone and the placement of this scene, I feel this isn't one of Arthur's delusions and is meant as a shocker/twist moment to the movie.
 

Gerard2567

Active Member
Towards the end of the film Arthur holds a cheesecake photo of his mother with a note from Thomas on the back implying that she indeed have an affair with him and that the part about him covering up Arthur's true parentage is correct. This could be part of the unreliable narrative that we see in the film, but it purposely made it seem ambiguous. Given the overall tone and the placement of this scene, I feel this isn't one of Arthur's delusions and is meant as a shocker/twist moment to the movie.

Yeah, that really confused me, they really left it up to the interpretation of the viewer.

To me, I interpreted as her writing that to herself, because It made no sense for him to give her a photo complimenting her with just her on the photo, instead of a photo of both of them.
 

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Chicagovader

Sr Member
The note was signed TW which could be anyone with those initials, or she could have written the note herself, she did get locked in Arkham for a time for being delusional. It showed the adoption papers in the file he stole on her as well so I don't think it was meant to be any sort of a twist with his parentage.
 

NeoRutty

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
uuuuuuuuuum.

If I had to say how I felt leaving... I HATED it.

But I didn't hate it.

I dunno. I really don't know how to approach how I felt. It was dismal and miserable.

I don't think people should be worried about people using this movie as an excuse for their own behavior, but I think it should make people think about how we deal with people with mental illness. I mean that SHOULD be what everyone is talking about...

But I don't want those themes in a DC Joker movie. Maybe there are fans who do... fine... but then this movie is not for me.

I think I really only enjoyed the movie when he was "The Joker". It made me realize I would way rather have watched a movie about "The Joker" pulling off a crime, with flash backs to how he became who he was... maybe closer to "The Killing Joke"

Cuz by the time he's sitting on the talk show, I could see this as Ledgers take as well... just a lot more notches on the crimes belt.

I HATED the way they treated the Waynes.

So basically Alfred is a d*ck, Thomas is a d*ck, Bruce would mindlessly climb into a "Free Kittens" van (not an inkling of a kid with a little common sense)

And, yet again, even in a movie without BATMAN.... I had to watch another Batman Origin.

Somehow Spider-man has figured how to do 3 movies now without an Uncle Ben dying origin, but here we go again with the pearls and crime alley.

I dunno.

I have to spend more time with this one.

But I have zero desire to watch it again... DID want to watch The Dark Knight again though....
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yeah, that really confused me, they really left it up to the interpretation of the viewer.

To me, I interpreted as her writing that to herself, because It made no sense for him to give her a photo complimenting her with just her on the photo, instead of a photo of both of them.

In the bathroom scene at the Modern Times revival screening, Thomas quite bluntly puts that he just screwed his mom and that was it. So the photo may have been genuine, but I think it was still pretty solid grounds that Arthur isn't related to the Waynes and that Penny just blew the whole thing up bigger than what it was.

When Arthur does kill his mom though, that I felt was one example how the movie never develops Arthur into "Joker", but another incident that feeds him being the Joker, if that makes sense. We all know he's to become the Joker and this is another example of his nastiness. More than that, in the story, he smothers her in a hospital and it ends there; nothing consequential comes of it. Had she been released and Arthur took her home and nursed here, and then killed her there, that would've made more sense how no one knew what became of her and didn't bother tracking Arthur down.
 

BTTUK

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Disappointed that they went the route of painting the Joker as a sympathetic character. This is a character that didn't need an origin story. Making excuses for why he's a psychopathic homicidal maniac goes against the very nature of what the comics established the Joker as being. On top of it, making him Thomas Wayne's ******* and half brother to Bruce Wayne/Batman is just silly. If this movie were about any other character, it would be fine. It didn't need to be the Joker and making it so diminishes the work in this film.

I agree. Phoenix was great as Joker, but I just didn't feel anything was gained by describing a background for Joker
 

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Maverick313

New Member
I wasn't really interested in a stand alone movie about the Joker, without Batman. I mean who wants to see a stand alone movie about Lex Luther without Superman or the Red Skull without Captain America. But the trailer looked good so I checked it out. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes the Batuniverse.

I didn't like the the way they treated the Thomas Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. They could have used some other "evil" capitalist. How did Joker learn to use a gun so proficiently. He shot two people in the face, center punched a person twice in the chest and hit a guy on the run, at distance. He never missed a shot and did it with a subnose, while firing double action and managed to shoot seven rounds out of a five shot revolver.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
I thought it was great.

The performance was a literal revelation. Every other version of The Joker boiled down to just another actor's interpretation of megalomania. Even Ledger's Joker was a great performance but it was just that. A performance. Phoenix exhibits the discipline to withdraw from histrionic excesses of grandiosity or pathos and layer his performance with a sense of emotional, psychological and intellectual currents percolating beneath the surface. This is great stuff.

The story knew how to grace this character with true agency. In other hands a villain "origin story" could have easily been written as a perfect storm of cruel events and circumstances that shapes an otherwise innocuous character - a victim. But this character is as much an agent of his own creation as he is a victim. In fact, his entire journey is his systematic rejection of authority/parental figures that leads him to complete nihilism.

The story deliberately teases at plot ties that would have been disappointingly conventional. I'm relieved he wasn't really a "******* child." The restroom confrontation was just the right amount of pathos without going full Nolte/Hulk and just the right amount of menace. The conventional choice would have had Thomas Wayne either misunderstood or being a complete a-hole - but his reaction to Arthur, given the circumstances, is completely authentic. At first Wayne seemed sadistic in how he revealed the mom's psychiatric history, but then he's confronting a delusional stranger who laid hands on his own son and calling him "dad." I could see why he might throw out that shocking truth if it meant this nut would leave his family alone.

It was brilliant to retcon Wayne's murder. I always hated the idea of The Joker being the killer. This film put some distance between their origins which was the correct choice all along. He's much more powerful and interesting when his arc isn't bound fatalistically to The Batman. Both the "super rat" and the "super cat" are better when they are individually compelling. For that matter the film also wasn't encumbered by too many tie-ins with The Batman beyond what was necessary. That was good.

I've never seen the 70's portrayed so convincingly. This is one of the most gorgeous modern movies. It's certainly the most beautifully shot film since Blade Runner 2049.

I think it's unfair of some critics to say The Joker steals from Taxi Driver and King of Comedy. I think it's explicitly referential but that's a creative choice that works for this movie.

I feel like this is the kind of movie that Zack Snyder was trying to make. This is the best DC movie I've ever seen.
 
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drftfan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The only thing I did not like was the portrayal of Thomas Wayne. Outside of that I really enjoyed it for as much as you can enjoy dark movies.
 

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