Joker is the origin story for the iconic villain and arch-nemesis of Batman. We follow our leading man, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who is currently dealing with many issues personally as well as dark changes within the city that surrounds him. Naturally, a darkness begins to grow more within Arthur’s heart and mind, beginning to transform into something more sinister.
Parents, please be mindful of the film’s MA15+ rating. This film is not a standard DC/Superhero film. Without giving spoilers, I will proudly state the film warrants this rating.
I’m happy to jump right into my praises for this film by starting with how much I loved (immensely loved!) actor Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as The Joker. The question that many will ask is “Was he better than Heath Ledger” or other actors who have played the character previously. My response to you is that an impossible question to answer. The reason I have is that Joaquin Phoenix gives a different version and interpretation on the big screen. Honestly, I found his work here powerful, to the point that I found myself forgetting that Joaquin Phoenix is Joker. Every detail of the Joker is to be praised from his mannerisms to his evil loud laugh and uncomfortable dialogue. His role and craftsmanship alone is applaud worthy, even standing ovation worthy.
I also loved the look of the world of Gotham City that surrounded Joker. Everything about it and everyone within it is designed masterfully to the point that I feel this is one of the “DC films” that has truly shown the cruelty and city at its worst. The extras, the background and designs are perfect for what I would expect the city to look like.
Audio, visuals and creative use of cinematography are a sound stand out. All of these elements are used to bring gut turning tension at every moment.
Overall, this film met and exceeded my expectations. Needless to say this a non-negotiable film for DC Comic and Batman fans. Joker also showcases the most incredible performance I have ever seen from Joaquin Phoenix, who has given everything to this role. The Story is gritty, dark, and I feel it won’t be for everyone. For me, I stood and applauded what I just witnessed.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden