As I already wrote elsewhere, I’m not the biggest fan of the Batman universe but I still enjoy a good story when I see it. After watching the trailer for the latest movie set in that universe, “Joker”, I was not sure if I should watch it. It looked amazing and I’ve always enjoyed stories around the Joker in the various Batman games, but it seemed extremely dark. Sure, the origin story of a psychopathic mass-murderer won’t be broadcasted in the children’s program, but wow was the trailer dark!
The actual movie managed to top that first impression. In two hours you learn how and why Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, became the Joker, what made him snap. Some reviews have criticized the movie for wanting the viewer to sympathize with the protagonist. I don’t think that’s actually the case. While I can sympathize with all the pain and personal tragedy he faced, the movie doesn’t try to put his actions into any kind of good light. Every action is completely over the top and it’s hard not to describe them all as crazy. Yes, I can definitely see people committing these acts, but even in the provided context they are clearly crimes; performed by a desperate person, but still crimes.
The already fantastic story is made even better by the brilliant performance of Joaquin Phoenix who must have lost half his weight to appear as he did in the movie. That look made Arthur even more vulnerable to the outside world than his state of mine alone could do.
Another very well done aspect of the movie is how it integrates with the rest of the universe. It simply doesn’t feel like a standalone thing but more like a story that has been in the universe forever and is now finally being told. I should really watch the Christopher Nolan movies again…
I think I should stop writing here in order not to spoil any surprises here. I absolutely loved this movie, but I never want to see it again. It’s extremely emotionally taxing seeing someone snapping, but it was well worth it!