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Trailer For “Joker” Puts A New Face On The Iconic Villain

Yesterday, the world got its very first official look at the new Joker. Yes, DC and Warner Bros. have their next DC Extended Universe film coming in the fall, and it’s an origin story for arguably the greatest comic book villain of all time. A Trailer dropped and, hot on the heels of a Poster, finally unveiled what Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have up their sleeves. You’ll be able to see it at the end of this post, of course. Before that, however, some discussion is in order, since this is pretty interesting stuff. Good or bad, the movie won’t be boring, that’s for sure. DC is really going for it here with this outing.

The movie is an origin story for the legendary Batman villain. So far, plot synopsis’ have been simple, such as this one from IMDb: “A failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer.” The same goes for this similar one: “In 1981, a failed stand-up comedian turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City, slowly rising up to become a frightening legend.” In the Trailer, you see Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) caring for his mother Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), dressing as a clown for work, being on stage doing stand up, getting beaten up, and slowly losing his mind. Before long, he says that until now, he’d seen his life as a tragedy. Now, he realizes that it’s a comedy. At that point, you see him in the full Joker get up that this flick is going to sport. By then, Arthur Fleck will have become the Joker, in all his criminal insanity. Phillips directs and co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The cast includes Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Brett Cullen, Robert De Niro, Brian Tyree Henry, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, Shea Whigham, and more. Hildur Guðnadóttir composed the score, while the cinematography is by Lawrence Sher.

Judging by the Trailer, this film looks like a mix of Martin Scorsese works like The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, and that’s not just because De Niro is in the cast. Everything about it screams homage to those works, as opposed to just Batman spinoff. Phoenix certainly is diving right in and going for broke here. We still can’t quite tell how this one will turn out, but the first look is truly promising, that’s for sure. If nothing else, it will stand out from all other comic book flicks so far to date. Despite seeming creatively bankrupt on the surface (since Joker’s charm is largely that he has no backstory), this will be a completely unique thing, unlike anything else we’ve seen in the genre. Joker is easily going to be DC’s most experimental work of this new era.

For what it’s worth, here is how I rank the cinematic jokers so far:

4. Jared Leto
3. Jack Nicholson
2. Cesar Romero
1. Heath Ledger

Next, you can see the Joker Trailer with your own two eyes. The film won’t be opening until the fall, and specifically October 4th, so we’ve got a wait on our hands. Don’t expect a film festival launch, though hey, stranger things have happened, so you never know. More likely, this will be a movie that slowly builds up buzz and markets with more Trailers and things of that nature. For now, it’s an intriguing first look at a project that could either be a home run or a massive misfire. It likely won’t be caught in the middle. Take a look at the Trailer and see what you think…

Here now is the Trailer for Joker:

Stay tuned for more on Joker between now and its October release date!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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