The official Joker trailer has released online. A standalone film existing separately from the DC Extended Universe, Joker has comic book faithful intrigued and concerned in near-equal measure. The movie's teaser evoked Martin Scorsese's gritty character dramas from the 1970s and '80s with its depiction of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a wannabe standup comedian who gradually evolves into the Clown Prince of Crime. It has since received an R rating for its violence and things like "disturbing behavior", which suggests Joker is as unhinged as its title character.
Director Todd Phillips (a long ways from The Hangover trilogy) has claimed Joker doesn't follow any specific comic book storylines either, so it's anyone's guess how DC fans will respond to the film. Warner Bros. clearly believes they have a potential Oscar contender on their hands and will screen Joker at the film festivals in Venice and Toronto over the next month, ahead of its theatrical run in October. In the meantime, the Joker marketing machine is roaring back to life this week.
The full-length trailer for Joker is now online, a few days after a series of cryptic clips surfaced on Phillips' Instagram account, teasing its arrival today. You can check it out in the space below.
Unlike the teaser (which was bigger on mood than plot), the final Joker trailer reveals some key details about Arthur's descent into madness in the film. It confirms the character is psychologically ill (like in the teaser, Arthur is shown meeting a counselor), in addition to struggling to make a living and caring for his bed-ridden mother, Penny (Frances Conroy). It goes on to reveal how talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) is involved in pushing Arthur over the edge, after publicly humiliating him on his program. De Niro has confirmed this storyline is an homage to Scorsese's 1982 dark satirical comedy The King of Comedy, in which he plays a mentally unwell failed stand-up comedian who latches onto a popular talk show host. The trailer also provide quick glimpses of characters like Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz) - a single mom who befriends Arthur - and Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne, who might be Arthur's real father (if you believe the fan theories).
Clearly, Phillips and his Joker cowriter Scott Silver (The Fighter) are trying to do more than provide a new origin story for the eponymous Batman villain. However, the film risks being problematic in its depiction of mental illness and how Arthur is driven to a breaking point by people who're almost cartoonishly cruel to him. It's got its thumb on the pulse of the zeitgeist, though, and seems to have something to say about hot topics like the way media impacts real-world crime and acts of violence. And, as one would expect, Phoenix appears committed to making this version of Joker feel like a real person. Suffice it to say, between all that and the way Joker blatantly deviates from other comic book stories about the title character, the discourse around the film should be pretty interesting.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
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