Joker (Post-release)

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What did you think of Joker?


  • Total voters
    87

PropReplicator2

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I enjoyed the Thomas Wayne portrayal for this reason: We are finally getting a story from the BAD GUYS position, instead of the traditional style story based from Bruce’s POV. We think of Thomas Wayne as a good guy because of Bruce’s view of his own father. Why would Bruce not think only great things about a father that passed away before he got to truly know him from a business stand point. All he new was his fathers personal story and his life at home, not how he was outside of that circle. I think Thomas Wayne gave joker someone to hate, just like joker gives Batman someone to hate. It’s all about certain points of view (as Obi-Wan would tell you) and its time we got a movie from the bad guys POV. Gives us more ground to sympathize with Jokers situation.

Just my 2 cents
 

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Tuckanator

Well-Known Member
I simply loved that they took a risk putting out this sort of film and that it was different. Impact wise i place it up there with the likes of Interstellar and BR2049. Soundtrack was perfect, the scene of him dancing on top of the stairs was a brilluant moment and my highlight.

Only criticism is the lack of cool props to make. Besides the mask and the laminated card thats about it
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Have to disagree with dascoyne -- agency was the one thing most missing for me. He's portrayed as a victim all the way through, of mental illness (his mother's and his own), of an impersonal uncaring institution that's supposed to be there to help people like him, etc. Just keeping it in the Bat-verse, Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight had agency. Something awful happened to him, but he ultimately chose his path. What I most wanted was those pressures leading Arthur to a crisis point where we were rooting for him to do the right thing, even though we knew he wouldn't, where he had a decision gate and could go one way or the other... and deliberately chose to go Dark Side, rather than just getting carried along by external actors. He never "grew up". Even confronting Thomas, he's a hurt child lashing out, a confused boy in a man's body. I never got a sense of a moment of clarity where he looked around and opted to separate himself from society to pursue his own agenda. A couple moments came close, but stopped short. In the end, he was as much a victim of his mental illness as any severe schizophrenic, but not a conscious villain.

There was something a few years back about a neurologist who was taking brain scans of many, many people -- ordinary people, colleagues, friends, incarcerated criminals, and so on, and looking for physical structures or signature activity (or lack of) in one region or another that was common to all psychopaths, but absent (or present) in all normally-empathetic people. He was sorting the scans on his desk one day and noticed a psychopath scan in with the normals. He was mildly irritated that it had gotten mis-sorted, checked the name on it, and was shocked to see it was his own scan. He told his friends and family and they were like, "Oh -- we thought you knew." It's kind of become an exemplar of the impact nurture can have on nature, to reduce it to oversimplicity. Lots of psychopaths leading perfectly normal lives because of how they were raised, what values were instilled, etc. The Joker's in that somewhere. Wherever he came from, whatever factors contributed, Arkham ultimately never succeeded with him because he's not insane. He knows exactly what he's doing. He just doesn't care. I get that from Hamill and Ledger. Not Phoenix.
 

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zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Saw it this weekend. If we have to have a Joker origin story, I am fine with this one. Regarding the parentage situation: It was put there as deniable purely to rile up fans. But the Joker needs no origin or parents my mind. But it also explains why the Joker is so hell bent on attacking Batman later.

I didn't mind him being the catalyst for Gotham going into madness, that aspect was done better than any other "Gotham in madness" storyline we have had in a movie. Except, shouldn't Batman be a clown now? I mean seeing a clown kill your parents killed by one has to be way more traumatic than falling into a cave full of bats.

My biggest problem was the Joker not being smart, and never cracking even a single good joke. The Joker should be cunning, creative, funny and always able to adapt on the fly.

Joaquin Phoenix's performance was amazing. Sometimes it was impossible to determine it was even Joaquin Phoenix under there. He was able to sell creepy and damaged.

I liked the laughing as a condition. It means he Joker can't help but laugh, no matter what is happening to him. However, I didn't care for the delusions that were not of his own creation. I have never seen the Joker isn't someone who has actually lost control of his mind, just control of how he thinks of others.
 

dascoyne

Master Member
Have to disagree with dascoyne -- agency was the one thing most missing for me. He's portrayed as a victim all the way through, of mental illness (his mother's and his own), of an impersonal uncaring institution that's supposed to be there to help people like him, etc. Just keeping it in the Bat-verse, Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight had agency. Something awful happened to him, but he ultimately chose his path. What I most wanted was those pressures leading Arthur to a crisis point where we were rooting for him to do the right thing, even though we knew he wouldn't, where he had a decision gate and could go one way or the other... and deliberately chose to go Dark Side, rather than just getting carried along by external actors. He never "grew up".
You've got me reconsidering some of my initial impressions.

I do believe this character has a degree of agency relative to where I expected the movie to have gone. This film could have been too overloaded with plot mechanisms that function to make him sympathetic. There's an element of that but the trailer led me to believe it would be much worse. e.g. I was expecting a saccharine love story where the neighbor was the only one who saw goodness in him and where a tipping point becomes either her rejection of him or her death. I was pleased that wasn't the case.

My case for the character's (relative) agency is also rooted in elements of Phoenix's performance which, arguably, makes it somewhat subjective. More often than not I see actors struggle with portraying mental illness, particularly schizophrenia. In this case I see an individual who isn't recklessly into his psychosis but credibly portrayed as being in conflict with it. I don't believe he is defined merely by his psychosis.

He does have a transformation but it isn't a singular denouement but is incremental as he systematically divorces himself from the authorities in his life - his case manager, Thomas Wayne, his mother, Murray Franklin ... Granted, it's not a profoundly original story arc but it's one that's well realized, IMO.

This a great film but whether or not this is a great Joker film is a completely different question.

I confess I hadn't really stopped to consider the second question. This character is compelling to be sure, but I'm now bothered at how much of The Joker's development remains unrealized. I appreciated this film as a depiction of his psychological substrate that would leave a future story to develop his evolution in criminality but, even then, there ought to have been at least some sense of Arthur's intellectual aptitude - not just his psychopathy. If anything this Joker actually seems more of a simpleton. That's not a quality we need to attribute to The Joker.

In fairness he's probably not so much as a simpleton as someone who is just socially inept. But ineptitude isn't something we need to attribute to The Joker either. The most glaring fault of this movie is the lack of any sense of his competence in anything whatsoever. That notion is bothering me more and more even as I write this. This Joker doesn't even have a particular mastery of his own psychological structure let alone anyone else's. Where would this Joker have developed an education, skills, knowledge ... wit?

In summary this is a great movie as a well-realized and engaging character study. I'm tired of actors (e.g. Leto, Nicholson) thinking they just need to be shockingly eccentric, bombastic and menacing. I think Joaquin Phoenix did an immense job with the performance and the look and tone of the film are fantastic. I want to watch this film again as a stand-alone experience. But as a Joker film I have no idea how they could bridge the chasm of character development to get anywhere near where The Joker is supposed to be.
 
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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
dascoyne, you make a good case in that follow-up, and I see more of what you're saying. The more you got into detail, though, the more I feel -- tweak a few life-circumstances -- what we actually saw is an origin of someone like Hush... but, again, with all the same lack you spell out.
 

elr02k

Well-Known Member
Honestly I liked the open ended parent situation. There is enough evidence for both sides of the story, but that's the point. And even though this is very much a origin move and ruins some of the aspects of jokers past, there is still enough open for interpretation. Joker himself said it best "If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice"
 

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PantheraGem

Sr Member
Saw the movie Friday with a bunch of people, my folks included. Age ranges from 14-72. We all really enjoyed it.

There was a lot to take in, but I feel like mentioning the apartment murder scene. It was bleakly hilarious, at least, everyone in my theater was laughing uncomfortably, yet loudly. I think the point of the movie was kind of summed up there. Having just brutally murdered his rat coworker, he tells the terrified little guy "I'd never hurt you Gary. You were the only one who was ever kind to me."-and proceeds to kiss him on the forehead, unlock the door and usher him out safely.

The parallels between the appearance on the the Murray Franklin show, and Phoenix's own appearance on Letterman were on full display. If you're familiar with it, and what Phoenix was up to at the time, you know what I mean. "You're an awful person. You only had me on to make fun of me." Also, ironic that Letterman made fun of Phoenix's "look" at the time, considering Letterman's current "look".

Really, they could make a sequel, and set it in any time they want. The entire film is from the point of view of Joker, and it's a completely unreliable point of view at that.

Saw this online. Coincidence, maybe. But probably not.
ffc12fa.jpg
 
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Mr Webber

Master Member
Had to see this again because as in true Ledger style, never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy and this really hit me hard on the first viewing. Its made me question many of the conclusions I reached initially and that has made me appreciate the film even further. I even plan to go once more just to see that third act again as I feel its the greatest third act I may have ever seen.

Am torn between desperately wanting to see more stories of this Joker from Phoenix and Phillips and wanting the burning questions from the first film left unanswered and the potentially entirely imagined story playing out in an insane persons mind theory left intact. The prospect of further movies is too tantalizing though. It would be wondrous to see this Joker and Batman from this universe engaging each other without the gadgets etc. It would invoke a more Professor Moriarty Vs Sherlock Holmes style engagement. Even no Batman at all would be fine with me even though timelines probably dictate that anyway. There is a recent interview with Phoenix saying that he and Phillips talk a lot about where else they can take this Joker so there is a slight possibility.

Joker is a truly remarkable film.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
dascoyne Inquisitor Peregrinus Regarding character impetus (or lack thereof), one of my larger quibbles was that Arthur never changes, like Peregrinus says, he's portrayed as a victim the entirety of the film. He only ever reacts, never acts himself unless provoked.

If he had willingly chose to stop taking his medication because up until that point he was living a droll, apathetic life as opposed to the city cutting funding for his psych evaluations; willingly chose to gun down those three yuppies on the subway, and pretended to still be a functioning member of society, it would've presented some kind of personal conflict and evolution, rather than him just being a reactionary and embracing it. Had there been some sparse moments of joy in his rejecting what people wanted from him, it would've given him another layer (albeit, a thin one) especially if they weren't washed away as part of his delusions because he's "crazy."

One thing I wished they leaned more into, but only implied in the film towards the end, was that despite how crippling and dangerous his psychosis was, it was much more freeing for him to live embracing it than sedating himself to fit into a society he didn't understand. For me, it would've helped with actually developing Arthur into becoming the Joker, rather than Arthur just putting on make-up for the Carson show.
 

benhs1898

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
For anyone else who got the soundtrack and was like, "why the heck is this thing all scrambled?" I just spent an hour watching a bootleg copy of the film and arranging the songs in chronological order. I also threw in some of the pop songs, but not all.

This list does not include times tracks may repeat, like when joker is backstage at the Murray Franklin Show and "bathroom dance" plays again. I also couldn't figure out which track plays plays after Rock & Roll Part 2 when he's dancing on the stairs.

Defeated Clown
Hoyt's Office
Following Sophie
Subway
Bathroom Dance
My Name is Carnival by Jackson Frank
A Bad Comedian
Smile by Jimmy Durante
Looking for Answers
Meeting Bruce Wayne
Penny taken to the Hospital
Penny in the Hospital
Hiding in the Fridge
Young Penny
Arthur Comes to Sophie
Learning How to Act Normal
Rock & Roll Part 2 By Gary Glitter
Escape from the Train
Confession
White Room by Cream
Call Me Joker
That's Life by Frank Sinatra
 

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Too Much Garlic

Master Member
I thought it was disturbing and depressing. Still not sure whether I like it or not.

The things I liked where the dancing and the involuntary laughing and how they changed throughout the movie - the dancing becoming more secure, less restrained, while the laugh went from loud and whiny to softer and seemed to disappear after he came off his meds. When he was most truly terrifying in his performance was when he was on the Murray show. THAT was the beginning of Joker. THAT was the first time he really took a step down that path. When he was in that chair, things changed.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A group of friends went to go see this so I tagged along and saw it a second time

Out of 8 people 3 loved it, 2 hated it, 2 thought it was good, and 1 thought it was a huge missed opportunity
 

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