Not So Serious, Joaquin Phoenix?
The Joker movie has been a bit of a wild ride. There had been teases of a Joker movie soon after the release of Suicide Squad. When news hit that it was a sure thing, there was lukewarm fanfare. Many did not enjoy Jared Leto as Suicide Squad’s Joker and loathed the idea of a full two hours with him. Hope for the movie grew a bit when it was announced that Leto was not returning. We were soon told that Joaquin Phoenix was taking the role. As of a day ago, we have been given out first glance of Phoenix as the iconic Batman villain.
On With The Show
Director Todd Phillips has been hard at work on the new Joker film, releasing bits of production work through his Instagram. The first teaser image was a photo of Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, the civilian version of the Joker before he becomes the Clown Prince of Crime. His most recent post was a screen test, showing Arthur transition into full-on Joker.
Phoenix’s Joker has a more circus-style type of clown make-up; this makes his face it a bit more colorful and (in my opinion) creepy than previous imaginings of the character. There has also been a debate on his hair. Some sources have lamented about Phoenix’s Joker hair not being the iconic green. However, after observing some other articles and more clear video captures, this may not be so: his hair may be a very dark green (instead of the usual neon) or simply highlighted with it.
The Plot Thickens
The plot of the Joker movie is a bit of an enigma still, but we have hints. The name Arthur Fleck is a movie original. The comics never revealed the Joker’s name (at least not one we could believe). Fleck’s background as a comedian does imply that it is taking inspiration from Batman: The Killing Joke. However, we do know Robert De Niro plays a talk show host that drives Arthur to his fall. Brett Cullen is playing Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne/Batman’s father, who may also play a devious part. The addition of these characters does not sync up with The Killing Joke. In fact, it puts the events of this movie much earlier than the origins of Batman. With this and the fact that the film is not part of the ongoing DC Movie-verse, it not clear where this is all going.
This could be an interesting change of pace for the character despite the lack of canon information so far. The film is a character study and seems to have a real focus on what makes the Joker tick. Plus, as the Joker states himself, “I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice.” Joker releases October 4th, 2019.