There is a debate as to whether Joker is a comic-book film. While it doesn’t fit into the DC realm and is director Todd Phillip’s stand alone film, the character study of the genre’s most loved villain has certainly caused buzz within the comic community. Batman’s arch nemesis has appeared in several films in the past but the newly-revealed film appears to be something different, perhaps more of a look at society than the mythical world where superheroes save the day.
In an interview with Empire during the lead up, Phillips explained hard details from the print comics won’t necessarily be included within the film.“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the character and transformation is said to be Oscar-worthy and in the lead up to awards season, that is the only claim a film needs to generate hype. The early reviews is another. Indie Wire‘s David Ehrlich claimed the film to be “unquestionably the boldest reinvention of “superhero” cinema since ‘The Dark Knight'”, a fitting tribute to the forever original Joker, Heath Ledger. Empire agreed saying, “Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself.”
Several trailers reveal an eery and almost terrifying look at the R-rated film, but unlike the standard format of hero-led films – good guy defeats bad guy – there is a strange sense of empathy for the broken and ridiculed man. At the Venice Film Festival, the film received an eight-minute long standing ovation, as of Wednesday, has an 85 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and on IMDb is now rated at 9.7/10, making it the highest rated comic-book film above Avengers: Endgame. But the real question is if it will stick.
As for whether it will upend the entire comic-genre, only time will tell. But this may be the prelude to comic films with a more real-world setting. Stay tuned. Joker will drop into cinemas from October 3. For a sneak peak tune into the trailer below.