What’s Everyone’s Thoughts on the Joker (2019) Movie?

I didn’t really enjoy it personally, and I’m a long time Batman fan. It didn’t feel like Joker. It felt like a mental illness movie with a few references to the Batman mythos sprinkled in. Why is it regarded as one of the best Superhero movies?

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Admittedly I haven’t seen it, but this is exactly why. Nothing about this ever felt like the Joker I know and love, which is why I have no intention of ever seeing it. You can tell a Joker story that has little to do w/ Batman, but he still has to exist in the world. A Joker who comes into existence years before Batman will ever be a thing just isn’t Joker to me. Although it’s a shame because I do feel like Joaquin Phoenix would be a phenomenal Joker under better circumstances. Along w/ his general great acting ability, he’s definitely got the laugh down just right. People seem to love it just on its own, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could see it like that. But when it’s specifically a DC movie attached to these elements of the Batman mythos, I just can’t divorce it from all of that. I’m all for making changes to keep things fresh, but it just seems like this went too far and made him basically unrecognizable

Also, this is more nitpicky, but I’m really not a fan of his look, especially the red nose. I understand why the “Damaged” tattoo on Leto’s Joker’s forehead got called out for being too obvious, but why didn’t this? We know he’s supposed to be a clown, we don’t need a literal red clown nose to remind us of that

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I loved it. It obviously deviated from the Joker we know from comics, but we all grew up loving stories from across the multiverse. This is just another.

The ‘Damaged’ tatto felt like telling and not showing. Instead of giving screen time to show you how damaged he is, they just write it on his forehead.

The red nose look doesnt get lambasted in the same way because it made sense for the grounded in reality world that they presented to us with this story.

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It’s a character study.

No, it isn’t the guy we’ve read about in the books for the last 80 years. I don’t think it was meant to be. Yes, there are references to the DC universe, but for the most part, I’m of the opinion that it’s likely we’ll never hear from this particular take on the character again.

It wasn’t meant to be an easy watch. Mental illness of any kind is never easy, from either side of the equation. The person inside feels trapped in something they can’t control, while the rest of the world can’t understand why that person’s acting so weird, and have no patience or compassion for that lack of control.

It was a “what if the Joker was created from something he couldn’t control, in a world that didn’t understand, and really didn’t care?” It’s an extreme reaction on his part, but people have done far worse for less.

I liked the movie. It isn’t high on my “re-watch” pile because it is so difficult, but it’s an amazing movie, even for that, perhaps even because of it, and Joachin Phoenix deserves the accolades he’s received for pulling it off.

Author addendum:
I may have spoken too soon regarding “we’ll probably never see this character again.” I recall reading an article somewhere recently where they’re talking about reviving this character and setting for a “Joker 2”…

Time will tell, I guess.

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I Watched the Joker Movie!
I Felt Like It Wasn’t the Real Joker!
Just Some Guy Suffering From A Mental Illness Like Schizophernia or A Drug Addict or Alcoholic!

I Love the Joker Origin Story From Batman the Movie, Better!
I Even Like the One From Batman the Animated Series, Better!
Where He Was A Failed Stand Up Comic!

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Ah, one of my favorite topics, the Joker movie. :smiling_face:

Yeah, to me it was the greatest comic book movie ever made.

And I don’t consider it a super-hero movie because the Joker is not a super-hero, and of course there was nothing heroic about the Joker in this movie.

But yeah, I thought it was a great character study that totally traded on the Batman name.

And as Todd Phillips said, it was a character study on what makes someone that way; it wasn’t trying to be a “Joker” movie…

And I guess that’s how I feel when it comes to live-action, in that I don’t think they should really be all that worried about making live-action movies that are similar to the comics. No, do something with the movies and TV shows that you haven’t done in the comics. But first and foremost, just make a good movie (or TV show).

And if you want to do something that’s close to the comics, or more or less “exactly” like the comics, then do that in animation. Which is pretty much what they do already. And I think you can do something that’s more or less “exactly” like the comics better in animation than in live-action.

Anyway, yeah, since the Joker was such a different thing, and done in what I thought was such a compelling way, I guess I’m not really surprised in how much I liked it. Because that is the sort of thing that I do tend to gravitate towards.

Of course, with early word of the sequel possibly being a musical…

…I’m trying to think of past Broadway and Hollywood musicals in order to get a sense of what Todd Phillips is going to come up with, and I always come back to The Phantom of the Opera

Now, I don’t expect Joker: Folie à Deux (and I hope and pray that is the title) to be on the scale of The Phantom of the Opera in terms of size, but I do expect it will be a dark and serious movie in tone.

Oh, and yes, speaking of hoping and praying, I hope and pray Todd Phillips doesn’t try and make Joker: Folie à Deux a movie to appeal to people who didn’t like the Joker. No, do not do that. Because you don’t need them.

The Joker cost $60 million dollars to make and made over a billion dollars – making it I guess the most profitable movie in the history of Hollywood(?). And is the third highest grossing DC movie ever, behind (surprisingly) Aquaman at number one and The Dark Knight Rises at number two. And never mind the Oscar nominations and wins.

So hopefully Todd Phillips doesn’t try and make the sequel for people who didn’t like the first first one. No, just make the sequel a movie that those of us who liked (or loved in my case) the first one will like.

And it is doubtful that he will try and chase the audience who didn’t like the first one. Because with a working title of Joker: Folie à Deux, and possibly being a musical… he doesn’t seem to be compromising all that much – more like doubling down. :smiling_face:

And if that’s what Warner Bros. wants and will allow it, then hey, do it.

But yeah, I loved the Joker so much because seeing “broken” people is fascinating to me. It’s an oddity and a curiosity.

EDIT:

I just thought of another musical – Les Misérables

So Joker: Folie à Deux will most likely be “serious” like that was…

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One of the greatest movie experiences I ever had.
The audience had been completely enthralled by the plot and we are celebrated and cheered when Arthur finally became Joker.

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I’ve always really disliked this movie. On the one hand, you have some incredible cinematography and Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar performance. But those two positives are very much so outweighed by the clear lackluster direction that creates a disingenuous and posturing message in the film.

The best example I have of this is Todd Phillips’ reason for making the film: woke culture ruined comedy (Citation: Todd Phillips Left Comedy to Make ‘Joker’ Because of ‘Woke Culture’ | IndieWire). This is such an unbelievably ridiculous claim that I won’t even bother addressing it. But I feel it speaks volumes towards Phillips’ character and definitely sours the film’s messaging. Especially when you consider the end of the movie where people are saying things like, “No you can not joke about that,” and the Joker fights back on them. Todd Phillips is trying to make the Joker seem like the good guy here when you consider his beliefs. And anyone who truly self-identifies with this character so deeply on that level should heavily re-evaluate themselves.

On top of this, the film’s handling of mental health, poverty, and the very real flaws within our country that needs to be addressed are laughable. They attempt to paint a realistic and gritty showcase of our true world but are unfathomably unrealistic. It’s a surface-level analysis of the world at best and attempts to offer no real solutions to the issues it brings up because it’s easier to posture and point out that they exist rather than addressing them on any significant level. I think the best way I’ve seen this issue summed is with the phrase, “a pool seems deep to someone who has never swam in the ocean.”

With all that said, if anyone here enjoys this film, I’m so happy for you. I’m jealous of you, frankly. I desperately wanted to love this movie and try to every time I watch it. Everyone has different tastes and that’s ok. And I understand appreciating the way this film undeniably opened the door to more critical analyses and thoughtful films within the superhero genre. But I just find Todd Phillips to be an insulting and disingenuous writer/director.

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Wasn’t my cup o’ tea. Depressing as ■■■■.

The world is full of mysteries.

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@OmniLad

Okay, help me understand a few of your statements… :smiling_face:

First:

I’ve always really disliked this movie. On the one hand, you have some incredible cinematography and Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar performance. But those two positives are very much so outweighed by the clear lackluster direction that creates a disingenuous and posturing message in the film.

The best example I have of this is Todd Phillips’ reason for making the film: woke culture ruined comedy (Citation: Todd Phillips Left Comedy to Make ‘Joker’ Because of ‘Woke Culture’ | IndieWire ). This is such an unbelievably ridiculous claim that I won’t even bother addressing it.

What’s unbelievably ridiculous? I don’t follow what you’re saying.

I read the Vanity Fair article that was referenced, and…

Phillips, who directed the comedies Old School and the Hangover series, pitched the idea of a Joker movie to Warner Bros. as a kind of anti-superhero film, with practically no CGI effects or cartoonish plots, but instead a dark realism drained of heroics. Phillips had found it increasingly difficult, he says, to make comedies in the new “woke” Hollywood, and his brand of irreverent bro humor has lost favor.

“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he says. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the ■■■■■■■ funny guys are like, ‘■■■■ this ■■■■, because I don’t want to offend you.’ It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies—I think that what comedies in general all have in common—is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but ■■■■ comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”

The result is a drama that doubles as a critique of Hollywood: an alienated white guy whose failure to be funny drives him into a vengeful rage. With co-screenwriter Scott Silver, Phillips conceived an origin story for the Joker as a for-hire party clown and mentally ill loner in a late ’70s/early ’80s Gotham, drawing from the filmic palette of classics like Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He says he conceived the character with Phoenix in mind and gave him the script in late 2017. What followed was four months of conversations at Phoenix’s canyon house. Phoenix queried Phillips endlessly before he joined the film—part of his process, it turns out, which also included asking his mother to examine the script. In pitching the movie to Phoenix, Phillips told him he needed to think of the film as a heist movie.

“What are you talking about?” Phoenix asked, confused. “There’s barely any action in it.”

Phillips cracked, “We’re gonna take $55 million from Warner Bros. and do whatever the hell we want.”

…yeah, that sounds about right to me.

I’m as politically liberal as the day is long, and have been “woke” probably as long as I’ve been alive, but yeah, you can’t do comedy today if you’re a conservative.

Now, I’m not sure if a conservative comedian is funny, because what are they going to joke about, tax cuts and limited government? :smiling_face:

No, but if you say “the wrong thing” today, whether you’re left or right, you’re gonna get people coming after you.

And yeah, the movie was about “an alienated white guy whose failure to be funny drives him into a vengeful rage.” That was the movie.

So help me understand what you found at fault.

Next:

On top of this, the film’s handling of mental health, poverty, and the very real flaws within our country that needs to be addressed are laughable. They attempt to paint a realistic and gritty showcase of our true world but are unfathomably unrealistic. It’s a surface-level analysis of the world at best and attempts to offer no real solutions to the issues it brings up because it’s easier to posture and point out that they exist rather than addressing them on any significant level. I think the best way I’ve seen this issue summed is with the phrase, “a pool seems deep to someone who has never swam in the ocean.”

This part first…

It’s a surface-level analysis of the world at best and attempts to offer no real solutions to the issues it brings up because it’s easier to posture and point out that they exist rather than addressing them on any significant level.

Was that ever the aim of the movie? I never got the impression that it was attempting to offer any solutions to anything.

To me it was just… this is a messed up guy, and here’s this messed up world that he’s living in. The end.

Like Todd Phillips said, he wanted to tell a story about what made this guy this way. That’s it. That was the whole point of the movie, nothing more.

He even said (in the video posted above), “It’s not this gigantic statement on the world today. There is stuff thematically in there, but really, it’s like, ‘What makes somebody that way?’”

So yeah, it was a surface-level analysis. And that was as “deep” as it intended to go… at least from my understanding.

And of course, each individual took whatever they took away from it.

And this…

…the film’s handling of mental health, poverty, and the very real flaws within our country that needs to be addressed are laughable. They attempt to paint a realistic and gritty showcase of our true world but are unfathomably unrealistic.

Yeah, it was a fictional setting, set in a 1981 version of Gotham City. :smiling_face:

It was gritty, but beyond that, I don’t think it was trying to be true to our world.

I felt it was trying to be true to a 1981 version of Gotham City, which I think it succeeded at wildly. :smiling_face:

It was basically a DC Black Label version of a DC movie. Or a Vertigo version if Vertigo still existed.

Out of curiosity, in what way did you feel that it laughably handled “mental health, poverty, and the very real flaws within our country”?

I am a bit perplexed by that, because the Joker wasn’t any kind of documentary or anything, it was just a story about a messed up guy in a messed world, and why he ultimately snapped.

EDIT:

And these last two parts…

Todd Phillips is trying to make the Joker seem like the good guy here when you consider his beliefs.

Okay, in what way did you feel he tried to do that?

I mean, in stories the bad guy almost never feels that he’s in the wrong. In the comics, the Joker has never felt that he was in the wrong, has he?

And this…

…I just find Todd Phillips to be an insulting and disingenuous writer/director.

Why do you feel that way?

I ask, because I believe this was the first trailer, and…

…yeah, that was the movie.

The trailer didn’t hide anything, this was going to be a movie about a pretty messed up dude. :smiling_face:

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I thought this movie was a depressing film of Ronald McDonald! It’s ok, I’ll watch it, maybe once a year. But with the laughing problem, it did make me think about the silent film ‘Laugh Clown, Laugh’ that some people may have actually either a crying or laughter problem.
I want to like this movie, but I don’t want to be depress.
I think Joaquin does a good job with this character. I like Joker with the unknown past cause it makes him as mysterious as Batman, no one ever complained about Heath Ledger’s Joker, wondering who this guy is.
I remember hosting a Dark Knight watch along and everybody had a very good guess on his background like being in a military!
Both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger will always be my two favorite actors to play Joker in live action… and before you say it and yes Mark Hamill will always be my favorite actor to play Joker in animation. :joker_hv_1:

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@moro

Wasn’t my cup o’ tea. Depressing as ■■■■.

Yeah, a feeling of depression is a very valid takeaway, it was a hard movie to look at…

Todd Phillips said this…

Joker is an unkind movie, with audiences left to watch as Arthur Fleck is beaten down by the streets, the system, and his own mental health issues. While it’s an origin story about the Clown Prince of Crime, Todd Phillips actually believes his Golden Globe winning movie is about kindness and empathy. The Hangover filmmaker recently explained this distinction, saying:

If I had to drill down on one overarching theme for me, it’s about the power of kindness and a lot of people miss that. I think if you don’t see that you either don’t have a soul or you’re being reductive to make up for your own struggles in that area. But, really, to me, that’s where it started from and there are other things in the movie like lack of love, the lack of empathy in society, and childhood trauma, but the power of kindness really runs through this film.

Well, this is interesting. Arthur Fleck didn’t experience kindness much in Joker, aside from his psychological delusions. But that’s what the movie is about, as empathy is exactly what Joaquin Phoenix’s character needed to avoid his dark fate in the movie.

Todd Phillips’ comments come from the director’s commentary included in Joker’s home release. Joker is a movie unlike anything else from the comic book genre, as Phillips didn’t include any heroes, costumes, or action. Instead the movie follows an unreliable narrator, one whose sad and lonely existence fostered the rise of The Joker.

I felt more of a sadness than anything. And not a pity for him, but just a sadness.

And the big takeaway for me is a simple one: you just have to treat people better. Don’t be mean to people.

Pretty simple. :smiling_face:

And in that, I guess it was a self-reassuring movie too in that respect. The Golden Rule: Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated. Just be nice to people.

For some reason I suspect Joker: Folie à Deux will have a happy ending.

EDIT:

Unless of course they want to do a third movie. If so, then yeah, the sequel is going to be dark as hell. :smiling_face:

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Hey there, @Isaac.Lawrence! I hope you’re doing well. I went ahead and DMed you my response just because it’s a bit long-winded and I worried some of the conversation would be deemed off-topic and thus removed by mods. Hope that’s ok!

Also, if anyone else is interested on the points Isaac brought up, send me a DM and I can copy-and-paste my response back to you. Thanks all for your time! :slight_smile:

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@OmiLad

Yeah, in the future just post stuff, don’t DM me. :smiling_face:

Everything you said in the DM was fine and on-topic. And surprisingly a lot of it only required a brief response on my part. Plus, it totally shuts everyone else out of the conversation.

Anyway, and since I feel that you have some really, really weird takes on Todd Phillips and his motivations for making the movie, here’s some videos that I thought were interesting…

’Joker’ Director Todd Phillips on The Struggle of Getting an “Anti-Comic Book Movie” Made | Close Up

And here’s the full hour-long version: Directors Roundtable: Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach | Close Up


What Todd Phillips said in this video is why I feel that your take on his motivation for making the movie is really weird – and he briefly addresses what you said in your original post about the “comedy” remark.

And I guess I may be a sucker, but everything he said sounds on the level to me. :smiling_face:


This last one, from back when the movie was released, is looking like maybe it’s going to come to pass…

He talked about the origins of his origin movie, how originally he pitched a whole new label to Warner Bros called DC Black, but instead zeroed in on turning out his vision of Joker, one that he essentially wanted to make because he felt you could get to do smart, dark 70’s/80’s style thrillers in today’s franchise oriented studio world by taking one of those characters and putting them in another milieu aping movies like Taxi Driver and The King Of Comedy rather than what was being done with other DC movies.

David Zaslav is now of course rumored to be looking at Todd Phillips to be an advisor for the DC films going forward.

I assume it would be for a “DC Black” (or DC Black Label) version of the DC films, and separate from whatever else they’re planning.

Smart move on his part, I think.

Get the filmmaker behind arguably your most financially and critically successful comic book movie, and have him head up (or act as adviser on) a new boutique film studio.

Warner Bros. has historically been known as The Director’s studio, so continue that tradition. And sometimes it works with their super-hero movies: Richard Donner, Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan. And sometimes it doesn’t: Zack Snyder. :smiling_face:

But yeah, in the video in the article Todd Phillips said that he had pitched doing a separate movie label at Warner Bros. – and I vaguely remember reading rumblings about that when the Joker was coming out.

I think they should do it. Because if they end up doing the Black Superman movie that’s where I assumed it would have landed: in a “DC Black” studio. And it would be a separate, one-off movie. And if it did well, then great, do another one. And if not, then oh well, move on.

But yeah, the Joker not being your thing is all well and good. No qualms there. It’s of course a movie that not everyone is going to like.

It’s just ascribing what I consider to be weird motivations on the filmmaker’s part is what got my curiosity.

I had never seen a Todd Phillips movie before, and I just assumed he made it because he liked the Joker as a character, and because he liked Taxi Driver and those kind of movies.

Anyway, no biggie…