The Clown Prince of Crime lives up to his chaotic mantra in a stunning brand new IMAX poster for Joker. Debuting in 1940, the character was intended to be a one-off villain. Following an intervention from editors, however, The Joker ultimately survived, and has since endured throughout the decades, emerging as Batman's most iconic nemesis. As such, the character has been adapted multiple times across a variety of mediums. Though most notably voiced by Mark Hamill in animation and video games, he's been played to critical acclaim on the big screen by both Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. The latter even went on to win a posthumous Oscar for his performance. He was most recently played, to lesser success, by Jared Leto in 2016's Suicide Squad.
Following the underwhelming reception experienced by Justice League, DC and Warner Bros. have shifted back toward more standalone projects. Thus far, the results have been largely successful, with Shazam! earning positive reviews and a solo Aquaman outing going on to dominate at the box office. Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker will mark the furthest step in that direction yet. Set in 1981 Gotham City, the film with have no ties whatsoever to any of the DCEU movies of the last decade. Equally, the film is expected to predate Batman altogether and won't adhere directly to any comic book storylines. Despite initial skepticism from fans, audiences have been largely won over by the recent trailers. Critics, meanwhile, have hailed the film a dark masterpiece.
Phillips' film tells the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) - a struggling stand-up comedian who, after a lifetime of being abused and downtrodden, finds himself developing a new persona and spiraling into madness. Released by IMAX, a new poster displays the iconic character in all his deranged glory. Dressed in the same suit and self-applied make-up depicted elsewhere in the film's marketing, Phoenix's Joker poses contently in front of a burning and graffiti-strewn car as an army of cheering clowns lurk in the background. The full, seemingly handpainted poster can be seen in the space below.
Alongside Phoenix, Joker also stars Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne, and Robert de Niro. As well as directing, Phillips also co-wrote the script with Scott Silver. The film recently won the coveted Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Film Festival. It also seems firmly on track to win an Oscar - for Phoenix's performance, at the very least, but potentially also for Best Picture. Despite the film's already considerable success, Phillips currently has no plans for a sequel. Likewise, the director recently confirmed that Phoenix's Joker won't cross paths with Robert Pattinson's Batman.
Although Phoenix's Joker was not influenced by past incarnations, the film itself has featured a host of nods to other versions in its trailers. A prominent moment in the trailers shows Arthur Fleck putting on a clown mask over his already painted face. The move is similar to that of Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, when he's revealed to not only be the mastermind of the opening bank heist but actually among those responsible. Newly released footage also featured a nod to the late actor's turn in the role. The above poster would appear to evoke that particular acclaimed performance. After all, one of The Dark Knight's crucial scenes had Michael Caine's Alfred state that "some men just want to watch the world burn". Such a description would certainly fit Phoenix's Joker as much as Ledger's. Fans, however, will be able to see just how much the former achieves that goal when Joker finally hits theaters.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022