Academy Award Nominated Actor, Joaquin Phoenix is the next name in line to take his stab as the crown prince of crime in JOKER, premiering in theaters everywhere October 4. In addition to our trailer reactions, I’ll break down the details on JOKER which reveal more than we previously knew about this origin story.
A look at the official trailer to JOKER, October 4, 2019 in theaters.
Between the star-studded cast and a plot that sounds more like a dark character study than your average superhero adventure, director Todd Phillips’ take on arguably the most iconic villain in history is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2019.
JOKER Co-Star Marc Maron told NME in March, that the film will be, “more of an origin story and character study of a mentally ill person.” He added: “It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope.”
We know that Joaquin Phoenix is the master of character study films, including the smash hit, Walk the Line, in which Phoenix played music legend Johnny Cash, dealing with the scorn of his father, living through the struggles of his first marriage and meeting the love of his life June Carter, played in the film by Resse Witherspoon.
If anyone can transform into the joker and display the complexities of the character’s insanity, its Joaquin Phoenix.
The social worker revealed in the first movie trailer is, Debra Kane, possibly an homage to Batman creator Bob Kane.
Kane along with Bill Finger created the iconic dark knight, but a detail that you might not be aware of, is that according to comic book resources, without Bill Finger, the Batman universe we know today would never exist.
“Finger not only created the Batman costume we’re all familiar with, but Robin, the Batmobile, the Batcave, the Joker, most of Batman’s best-known villains, and more. But despite doing all the heavy-lifting, Finger never gets any official credit for his work in coming up with pretty much everything but the name of comic’s most arguably popular character. (In the comic industry, when someone is screwed out of getting appropriate credit for their work, it’s called ‘getting the Finger.’)”
Knowing this movie is a character study on what can happen to anyone if they’ve had enough bad days or have gotten the finger enough, perhaps its a play on the idea that there’s a little Joker in all of us, and its Finger sitting across from Kane and not Phoenix’s character Arthur Fleck. For more examples see Falling Down or better yet, the King of Comedy.
Which, brings us to our next observation, the Robert De Niro cameo. In short order, De Niro is presented as a talk show host or performer on a talk show standing in front of an iconic curtain pattern found in the 70s on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. De Niro starred in The King of Comedy, a 1982 American satirical black comedy directed by Martin Scorsese featuring, Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, and Sandra Bernhard.
In the words of the Joker, “all it takes is one bad day”, and in the words of cinema, all it takes is one big box office for the sequel train to roll in. If this movie exceeds expectations at the theaters, expect WB and DC to pitch a larger role to Joaquin Phoenix within the greater DCEU, which I expect to see a reboot sometime in the future. With Marvel’s Avengers entering its twilight, and with DC embracing its natural-darker roots, the opportunity exists for Batman and DC fans to get a larger helping of the character driven, real world stories they deserve.