It can feel, in the world saturated with superhero movie after superhero movie, that the good guys always get all the attention. But what about the villains? When will it be their time to shine?
Well, never fear! Warner Bros. has just released the first trailer for Joker, an origin story for Batman’s arch-nemesis and all-round creep, The Joker. Which is great, because everyone loves an origin story!
The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a failing comedian who, to make extra money, dresses up as a clown for a retail store in the notorious Gotham City. The trailer follows Phoenix’s lonely and troubled character as he is beaten, abused, and humiliated again and again, leading him to ask: “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”
One might ask why anyone would choose to live in Gotham, and as life continues to get the better of him, we see the soon-to-become super-criminal slowly descend into madness. As Arthur Fleck begins to reflect the crazy and heartless world he inhabits, he also begins embodying the character of the iconic clown as he realizes his life isn’t a tragedy, but a comedy – even if it is an extremely dark one.
After Christopher Nolan’s hugely influential Batman trilogy changed the tone of superhero movies for good, from the new trailer it looks like this origin story will be a gritty, dark and serious character study that holds no punches. It is also claimed that director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Due Date) has looked to the movies of Martin Scorsese (who is also a producer on the film) for influence. In particular Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The Comedian have both been inspirational to the plot of the film. The Joker certainly presents a change of direction for Phillips, but given the fact that the Joker sees the world as a comedy, perhaps he’s the right director to take this film on.
Joaquin Phoenix is the latest in a long line of actors to play the role, which most famously includes Heath Ledger, who won an Oscar for his portrayal in The Dark Night. From first impression, Phoenix seems like the right man for the job, and given many of his previous roles where he plays complex characters to chilling effect (Walk The Line, Inherent Vice, The Master and You Were Never Really Here) we think he’s going be the right person to fill the infamous clown shoes.
We’re going to have to wait until this October to find out whether the Joker can upstage Batman for our cinematic entertainment, but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a good fight.