— Joker Movie (@jokermovie) April 3, 2019
It has been a long journey ever since Warner Bros. and DC made their plans for an origin movie on Batman’s arch-nemesis known. When Joaquin Phoenix was announced to be the Joker for Todd Phillip’s film, many felt that this was a film that no one asked for. Several casting announcements, test footage snippets, and set photos later, the tides sure have turned. With the first real teaser now out, we finally get a good sense of Phoenix’s take, with Phillips not hiding any Martin Scorsese inspirations at all.
The premise looks just about what we imagined it to be—Phoenix plays a troubled man, who in his attempts to become an entertainer and bring smiles to the citizens of Gotham is violently rejected by the hardened citizens. The tone is a far cry from other live-action interpretations, however. Like the poster seemed to imply, this is a much more serious and arthouse-like take on the character’s origin story. Long story short, this film looks dark as hell in depicting this Joker’s rise to a criminal lifestyle.
But man, could you get any more overt with the Taxi Driver imagery in this teaser? It looks like Phoenix will get his own “you talkin’ to me?” sequence here. Plus, Robert De Niro is straight up in this movie, presenting the Joker in what basically looks like a scene from The King of Comedy. Scorsese was originally a co-producer for this film, but moved to a less active executive producer role due to other obligations. Regardless of how heavy his involvement was, still heavy is his influence.
Between Phoenix, De Niro, and with brief glimpses at Zazie Beetz and Brian Tyree Henry, the cast alone is enough to intrigue me. I was amongst the several who wanted a moratorium on Joker-related media, especially after Jared Leto’s turn in Suicide Squad and the multitude of projects announced with his Joker (projects that have all mysteriously stalled now). After this teaser, while I may not be “excited” per se, color me fascinated.
We’ll see just how Joker will turn out when it releases in theaters on October 4.