Joker (2019)

Brian G Turner

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A Joker movie in a failing franchise? My initial cynicism counter turns to 10 - then I notice it's Joachin Phoenix playing the lead, which is a good start. And the teaser trailer itself.... teases nicely:

 

picklematrix

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DC movies lately have been more hit than miss regardless of the talent on screen, in my opinion.
Jaoquin Phoenix will undoubtedly act up a storm, but the script is the thing I am curious about. Call me pessimistic, but were people really clamouring for a Joker origin story?
 

Rodders

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I see this won the Golden Lion Award for best fil, at the Venice film festival.

Good news. Hopefully this will bolster DC.
 

BAYLOR

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DC movies lately have been more hit than miss regardless of the talent on screen, in my opinion.
Jaoquin Phoenix will undoubtedly act up a storm, but the script is the thing I am curious about. Call me pessimistic, but were people really clamouring for a Joker origin story?
Why didn’t they do a live action big screen version of The Killing Joke instead of this?
 

picklematrix

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Why didn’t they do a live action big screen version of The Killing Joke instead of this?
There was an animated version in the not too distant past, if I recall. Maybe they want to keep that one up their sleeve for the time being. It's a pretty well liked and popular story, so it might be good to fall back on if any of their next projects backfires.
 

Vareor

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Has anyone seen the movie yet? I'm thinking of going to the cinema this weekend and I'd like to know if it's worth it. (There's no cinema in my town. I'd have to drive about an hour to see it.)
 

Vladd67

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I see yet again the public seem to love it, but the media hates it.
 

Overread

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I see yet again the public seem to love it, but the media hates it.
Honestly sometimes I think some critics get so stuck in a critical view of their subject area and over over-exposed to it that they can end up a bit out of touch with reality. I think there's also more pressure than ever today for negative articles. Bad news sells is a maxim that I think the internet has encouraged to be taken into the extremes.
 

Dave

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It isn't only the professional critics, I've seen plenty of negativity on social media about this film. I couldn't say if that is organised or not, but only that many of these outrages on social media are now staged events. There are two things that people are supposed to get very annoyed with (and remember that I'm only the messenger here.) The first is that it is taking an evil mass murderer and giving him a sympathetic origin back-story, and in so doing making his crimes forgivable and merely a product of his environment, neglecting the victims of his crimes. If this were a real person then that might have some merit, but as he is a fictional character does it have any bearing at all? The second thing is the use of Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part 2 as a soundtrack. Some people think it is disgusting to give any royalties to a convicted pervert. This idea that we must avoid or even purge the artistic back catalogue of sexual criminals seems to be growing. There was a very large outrage at the recent Venice Film Festival because a Roman Polański film was nominated for an award.

Neither one of those issues seems to be about the artistic merit of the film itself.
 

Overread

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Thing is some of those, like Roman Polanski, are not just one person creative endeavours. There's a huge rafter of people involved. Also I can't help but feel that its a slippery slope if we start purging "criminal" creative libraries in a "where do you draw the line" kind of situation. There's also the issue of what kind of message it sends to those who are convicted of crimes who will be released. How can you on one hand say that criminals released from prison should get equal standing and the ability to return to work if in the other hand you're purging peoples work because they've been to prison?

Granted sex based crimes are in a league of their own, but I think its the wrong approach. Asides typically even without an enforced "purge" there's often one that gets undertaken by many companies who don't want the casual association anyway.




As for Joker and such well that's just fans arguing and honestly the number of times DC and Marvel heroes have been reinvented, shown from other angles, changed genders, species etc..... is so many that its more a generational argument than anything else. You'll often see that those who hold a certain view of a character often come from the same generation of fans (not that's not the same as their actual age based generation, though there can be a correlation by the fact that a specific age generation might be exposed to a specific version through something like a TV series or comic series).
 

Daysman

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  • Saw it this morning - far less affecting than expected, but still...
  • Seemed more about America than anything else
  • In terms of backstory / mythology / reinvention it worked well
  • Worked as a period piece too, Gotham standing in for late 20th century New York... well, for me it did.
  • The Joker's insane - who knew?
  • As for his hallmark laughter... nicely done.
  • Would I see it again? I've no plans...
unreliable narrator
Edit: Joaquin Phoenix is excellent.
 
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scarpelius

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I usually like action movies and after a friend being disappointed by this, I've went to cinema without any expectations.
To my surprise I enjoyed every minute.
There are plot twists, things you do not expect to happen. It is a fabulous journey into the the head of an iconic arch villain and I must say masterfully done. The 8.9 score in imdb at this hour, it is entirely deserved.

I love the scene when the midget try to open the door but is closed and ask Arthur to help him. Priceless.
 

Vareor

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Finally had the time to go and see it. My goodness ... I wish I could forget it so I would go and watch it again. Oh well, I will probably buy the bluray when it's available.
The movie tackles a social problem that is present in the real world.
Monsters aren't born, they are made. Actually, a good question is "Who are the real monsters?"
 

Star-child

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I certainly understand the obsession with origin stories, and this film appears to offer a good one. But, like most origin stories, doesn't really explain anything useful about the character that emerges. The Joker's primary attribute is not insanity but criminal intelligence. Being nuts doesn't offer practical insight or focus, and the Joker is a very successful criminal who frequently attracts the willing participation of other criminals. He might be a kind of terrorist at times, but his enterprises are largely based on his ability to plan and commit complex, profitable crimes.

This film doesn't appear to supply any reason that the Joker would be continually successful as a criminal mastermind; be able to manipulate his jailors, execute frequent escapes, foil the genius Bruce Wayne or attract allies and employees. It is more the origin story of a one-time terrorist or a permanently institutionalized broken man. The most relevant background would describe how the Joker acquired his acumen rather than disability. The Nicholson Batman is similarly unexplained, while the Heath Ledger's character has no origin to get wrong.


In a broader sense, the whole "banality of evil" thing ought to be a guide to character development: The most interesting thing about any evil genius is not the evil but the genius. Hitler's hate is far less important to history than his ability to sway and control, and the Joker, Vader, Blofeld or Hannibal Lecter are in the same boat. A good origin would develop the origins of their competence and dedicate less time to the well understood 'fall from grace'. Its easy to be awful, hard to be adept.
 

AlexH

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It's a very good film with a great look and soundtrack, but I agree I didn't really see any evidence of this guy becoming a criminal mastermind. There was something about the Joker's sudden descent towards the end that didn't quite work for me, but I can't figure out what.

And to those saying a film that gives such an evil person a sympathetic backstory should be banned, looking at it from another angle - Joker is about a person who was ignored and abused by society. What if this guy was shown kindness instead? It's a film about how we should treat everyone with respect. Not that evil behaviour can be excused (I don't feel I'm getting my point across very well).

I didn't know a Gary Glitter song was in the film till someone told me. Apparently, he won't receive any royalties:

I also thought the song choice could have been made partly because of one of its songwriters, given the theme and some of the subject matter in the film.
 

olive

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If you've gone to the theatre to see a 'comic book movie', it's highly likely that at the least you liked the movie, if not loved it. It's a very good movie evaluated in that sphere and I don't think it is going to get better than this. Which is I believe, indebted to Joaquin Phoenix. Frankly, he was my reason to see it in the big screen, but despite of that fact, I never remembered 'Joaquin Phoenix' -not even once- while I was watching it. And that's acting. Honestly, there is no need for some superlative adjective to praise his work.

Spoilers ahead.

However, whether you look from in or out of that sphere, in my opinion the problem with this movie starts with its forcefully underlined 'connections' to The King of Comedy and from there goes down as the context widens.

While Rupert Pupkin and Arthur Fleck seem to be complimenting to each other in a number of ways, they are actually fundamentally different characters. I'm not being hyperbolic. And that difference is pushing me to view the Joker movie from the 'fake conflicts built on bastardised notions' point which I tried to explain in the "Has Hollywood become too Dependent On Blockbuster films?" thread.

In a nutshell, both are in show business, comedy to be exact. They are both failures; described as 'losers' with bad family background. Thery are both abused by parents or parental figures, bullied... so on. I'm not trying to compare the characters or the movies in this sense.

But if we ask, who are these two people? How do they see the world they live in and what they make of it?

Rupert Pupkin is a man who is living in severe delusions of grandeur. He is so sure of his 'genius', he believes if he can get heard once, the world will be sorry for not worshipping him before and apologise their heart out. He is so broken, he is living in his delusions in a complete setting, 24/7. From fans to fame, the environmet he is living... Even when he commits a crime with Masha by abducting the tv star, the whole thing is an absurd tv show. Their sun glasses, the toy gun, the prompt cards... Every interaction he has, everything he does is a show presented as if on stage. He is not aware of the real world, he doesn't care about the real world. His story, his world is not about comedy, not about art, nor about the tv star he is supposedly obsessed over. It's all about HIM. It's about how everybody is so wrong about him. It's not the medium of his delusion, it is just fitting. And he wins in the end, he gets what he wants. He will live in that delusion until he dies. He will not kill anyone. He won't even be a threat to anyone. Is he a good man? No.

On the other hand, Arthur Fleck is living in the real world. In every aspect. He is not delusional. His world of comedy at its basic form, something he does despite of that horrifying, dark real world. When he 'sees things', he is hallucinating. It's like the last pocket of air, because he is suffocating and it is about a basic need of connecting with a woman. It's domestic. He is not living in delusions of being some super famous performer chased by fans in streets. He is a good man with bad luck. Nothing starts with him. It's not about him. It's about the world.

A character this aware, does he really transform into something else? He is still aware of everything real about the world he lives in, may be more than anyone. He is the same man, he just embraces that darkness. He never loses his hold on reality, esp. the understanding of fragility of what we call 'civilisation' and what that actually is; what people really are. That's his super power. That's what makes the Joker the most powerful and scariest villain ever existed. Because he is a real person, in a real world. Batman is not, he is. That's why he is also the most dangerous fictional character ever existed.

Rupert Pupkin serves the wheel turn, while Arthur Fleck is bent on breaking the shaft.

So what is it? As an ordinary person from the audience how am I expected to percieve these works in connection, in the time I live in and produce some meaning in what context of reality? What am I supposed to make of all of this in 10th of November, 2019?

Rupert Pupkin, white heterosexual male. He is a broken, delusional blue pill character, who reaches his dreams and 'happy life' via a caricaturised criminal scheme. He 'beats the system' and he gets lucky. If he had lived today, he wouldn't have been able to enter that building a second time. But then today, he wouldn't have tried to be a stand up comedian when he could have been some self help guru and reach people online easily. May be become a vlogger on conspiracy theories or make emotionally abusive videos to trigger young people and exploit them. He'll be wealthy and will have a life partner. He belongs to the 20th century, he continues to thrive in the 21st.

Arthur Fleck, white heterosexual male. He is a broken, realist red pill character, who does not want to reach any high dreams, but just to live his life where ever it may go. That's all he wants, a simple life. He never gets luck. He is always alone, broke, broken. He is hundreds of millions of men at this point. He becomes a mass murderer. He belongs to every period, every time and every culture.

Now, he is showing me that he is finally 'justified' in the 21st century. That's what this movie tells. The white heterosexual male figure, defined as the pillar of civilisation and the traditional villian/perpetrator of all times, saying, 'See, all I wanted was the simple old world I built, if I cannot have it, it will burn'.

And it is all fake. It's a fake grandstanding conflict. There is nothing real in it other than the pain. This movie is a sophisticated, delicious affirmation of the 'loser' men turned villians. And their pain.

Now we jump into my world, a real one, and I cannot tell you how childish it looks from this angle while it is pointing out to something real. Because none of the people who made this movie or the masses celebrate it for the fantasy affirmation it states, implies... actually live or ever lived in a male dominated culture. If they did, they would know that male is the first target and the victim in that culture, and that this is all pure, glorified BULLSH**.

Yeah, there is a lot to unpack in this post. I somehow trust people here that they can get more than I would try to express and make a mess of it.

I am angry with this movie as much as I loved it.
 
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Rodders

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I saw this today. It was okay but not brilliant. As you’d expect, Joachim Phoenix gives a great performance. Good soundtrack.

I liked the idea of trying to tell the Joker’s background in a realistic way, but I never got the impression that the Joker was evil or a criminal mastermind, so it kinda fell flat as a comic book movies to me. More like a modern day Taxi Driver.
 
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