I recently went to see the new DC film ‘Joker’ and wanted to share my thoughts. I won’t keep this spoiler free as the movie has been out for a few weeks and if anyone reading this really wanted to see it they would have by now. Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man down on his luck dealing with some form of mental illness that he is attempting to treat. Throughout the film he gets mugged, which his boss doesn’t believe so he gets fired. He loses his assistance for therapy and his multiple medications. Basically most of the film shows a man spiraling out of control with no one to help him, as he is even taking care of his mother, who also seems to suffer from some delusions. Arthur ends up killing a few people on a subway which spawns a movement of the lower class protesting against the upper class. He then kills someone who wronged him as well which at this point he’s decided who he is. I don’t want to forget of course that he also wants to become a standup comedian throughout the film, but he’s no good at it. His illness makes it difficult for him to understand what most people find funny, as well as he struggles with laughing throughout the film at unusual times. When he gets on a stage he bombs his set, but ultimately it gets him invited to the Gotham equivalent of The Tonight Show, because he was so bad. This is where he dons the makeup, says to call him Joker, and ends up giving a good speech about different opinions of what’s funny, as well as admitting on camera he killed those men, but they don’t fully understand some of what he’s talking about because they didn’t experience everything that we did with him. He ends up killing the host, gets arrested, then while in a cop car get hit by a truck and he’s out again all while Gotham society has decided to take to the streets rioting in Joker’s name.
This is where I think most people have had problems with the film. Sure it’s dark, gritty, violent, we’ve had those films before. This movie however takes the main character who by a mixture of not his fault and some purely his fault is really just a loser of a person. The only thing he’s good at is causing chaos, so that’s sort of where he finds himself. He’s not a hero, he’s not someone I want to root for, I didn’t care at that point whether he escaped, or got killed. He ended up inciting riots and almost encouraging a war of the wage gap. While his points of how the wealthy couldn’t care less about the poor may be true, the movie is almost advocating that violence may be the only answer. For that reason I can’t say I loved this movie, it also didn’t feel like the Joker I grew up with.
I prefer the Joker to be someone that it doesn’t matter whether he grew up wealthy or poor, he just simply enjoys chaos and mayhem. That’s why he’s dangerous, because he’s not after your money, your love, or fame. He’s just after having the most fun he can at anyone’s expense. The Dark Knight had it almost right, he does want to see the world burn, but not because he hates it or is upset at how it’s treated him. He wants to burn the world down just to see if he can.
Before I get into this review I should probably start off by saying I’m heavily biased towards anything Superman. I’m not a fanatic, and I really don’t collect anything Superman, but I am a really big fan, so much in fact that I’ve got the Superman seal tattooed on my right arm. I absolutely love that DC has been coming out with a lot of great cartoon movies based on DC superheroes, and that they aren’t aimed at children. The movies they’ve been making are well written, animated, and do justice to their heroes.
At first I was not aware that this particular film was based on a comic series as I’ve not been an avid reader of comics for some years now. If you are a classic Superman fan, then I think you will love this film. The basic plot from the beginning is that Lex Luthor arranged for an accident to cause Superman to be over exposed to the sun’s radiation. This causes his cells to be super charged, he is more powerful than ever but as a result the stress of the increased power is breaking down his body into pure energy. Superman discovering that he will soon die, decides to do a number of things he’s always wanted to, Superman’s Bucket List if you will. In this film we get to see a number of things such as, Super Lois, Superman’s star-eating pet, Kryptonian Astronauts, a glimpse into Superman’s future, and also cameos by super villains, Parasite and Metallo.
The voice acting in this film is great and is very similar to past Superman movies/cartoons. There are a few unusual characters in this film that I am sure are from the comic series that took place over a few years. You also get a look into the Fortress of Solitude, which is more like how the comic books portray it, with robots, rare weapons and animals, and more. Ultimately in the end it is a battle between Superman and Luthor. With Superman feeling much weaker than he ever has, he still must put a stop to Luthor’s plans. The end of this film really took me by surprise and I don’t want to ruin it but it really is great, and a wonderful ending for Superman.
I think one thing above all else in this film is the animation. Past cartoon movies about Superman have either been too simple or too complex for my taste. The style they chose to go with is realistic enough to not feel like a kid’s cartoon, I really enjoyed it. They have pulled this off with other cartoon movies such as Batman : Red Hood, and the recent Green Lantern cartoon film. If you aren’t aware of these DC films, you should keep your eyes open for them. You can find most of these including this one, on Netflix and sometimes at a Redbox machine.