Joker (2019)

This Week: Joker (2019)

This was always one of those movies that I said, “I’m not sure about it, but I’m going to watch it.” Despite how much Stephen King I’m watching and reading right now, I generally don’t go for stories about someone being psychologically undone. I am not a fan of watching someone torn down until he breaks down. I prefer stories of characters struggling and overcoming their challenges and rising above. So watching someone dealing with trauma upon trauma until he turns into a monster is not something I was excited about seeing.

But it’s a comic book movie, so I feel I must do my due diligence and watch it. And the hype surrounding this movie means it has to be worth watching, right?

I would say yes. There are no real surprises with this movie. We watch a mentally sick individual get further put upon by his job, his home life, and society in general. He then finds relief in embracing his illness and lashing out at those who have contributed to his pain.

My opinion is that I like the story for the most part, and I would much rather see Heath Ledger do this movie, but unfortunately that isn’t possible. Heath Ledger will ALWAYS be the standard I hold live action Jokers to. I do see some of that towards the end, but it is not quite there.

Before we go much further, have to put up the

SPOILER WARNING

There is one major problem I had with the narrative of the movie and that was Arthur’s hallucinations. He imagines a relationship with his neighbor and ends up figuring out later that it never happened when he walks into her apartment and she acts like she barely knows him and we flash back to all the scenes she was with him and then show no one there.

This is an effective storytelling method, but you need to have clues in place that this is what is happening. This worked so well in Fight Club because there were subtle clues in place that Brad Pitt wasn’t really there.

It is somewhat acceptable for MOST of the scenes they reference, except one that bugs me. There are about 4 scenes they show of Arthur being with her and then reveal she wasn’t there, but these were all scenes where Arthur wasn’t anyplace he shouldn’t be. He was at home, he was on the street, he was at the comedy club, and at the hospital. But there is one scene where he goes her her apartment, she opens the door and he starts kissing her. She reciprocates and then we cut to another scene. What happened there? Did he imagine going there but not actually? All the other places he was physically there, but she wasn’t. Did he go to her apartment and then make out with air?

Why isn’t that a gif? Screw this world.

So back to Joaquin Phoenix’s version of Joker. When he decides to embrace his Joker-ness, he does a good job in his movements and mannerisms, but I never get the confidence in his voice or his laugh.

Another issue is the age of the Joker. This takes place when Thomas and Martha Wayne are still alive. Thus Bruce is still a child and not beginning his journey to become the Dark Knight. So assuming Bruce is 8 in this movie and Joker is 44, that means when Batman comes around 18 years later, Batman will be beating up a Joker just starting retirement.

All in all these are just minor flaws in a good movie, but I don’t think this will get many repeat viewings by me.

Next Week: Zombieland 2: Mistress of Evil. Having survived the Zombie Apocalypse, Woody Harrelson and the gang now have to take on Maleficent after she has “gone evil again.”

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