Joaquin Phoenix's Joker follows in the deranged footsteps of Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto - how will he stack up against previous versions?
There's a new Clown Prince of Crime in Town, with Phoenix taking on the role in Todd Phillips' Joker, and slowly we're beginning to get a sense of what this DC Elseworlds' movie will be. Outside of the DCEU continuity, this will chart the descent of Arthur Fleck into a clown criminal, set against the backdrop of 1980s Gotham and Thomas Wayne's bid for mayor. The film is currently in the middle of production, but the director has been incredibly open, showing new looks at the character each step of the way - most recently Phoenix in some version of the clown makeup.
Joker has been a divisive prospect since it was first reported last year, but since the images appeared, opinion has begun to shift. Here's what Screen Rant's editors make of Phoenix's take on the character compared to the many who've come before.
Director Todd Phillips’ full reveal of Joaquin Phoenix in Joker makeup and then full costume, was a bit of a game-changer for WB's DC movie plans. At a glance, it feels different despite looking so familiar and appropriately Joker-esque.
The images alone quickly washed away the skepticism of there being yet another Joker cinematic story in development all the while fellow Oscar-winner Jared Leto awaits his return to the big screen, post-Suicide Squad as the other Joker. Where Leto's Joker received polarized reactions for his appearance, even to the point of Suicide Squad director David Ayer publicly regretting some of the design elements of that version of the character, everyone seems rightfully positive on Phoenix, and that's refreshing. - Rob Keyes
Comparing Joaquin Phoenix's Joker to previous versions is part of why so many have been confused by this movie. It's only ten years since we got Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning portrayal in The Dark Knight and Jared Leto keeps threatening to make more with his gangster reimagining: why do we need another take, one that provides an origin no less? Well, as the great man himself once said, "If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!" Surely we need some of those options?
Personally, I've been intrigued from the moment the project was first reported, and every development since has only piqued my interest more. Finally seeing Phoenix in the makeup clinched it; that teaser video is the best trailer of the year. As I wrote last week, in terms of reveal this is leaps and bounds ahead of our first look at the "Damaged" take from Jared Leto, and the look itself feels Joker while still being unique. He's definitely hewing towards Leger with the hastily applied makeup and manic, random crime from the set videos, but the fact he will - at least at first - go for a more classical Hobo clown look underlines the development of the tale. How the performance and movie stacks up remains to be seen, but this sort of intentional Elseworlds story (again, explaining why we can delve into the character more) is exactly what DC needs to be doing. - Alex Leadbeater
It's difficult to say for sure how Phoenix is going to compare to other cinematic Jokers right now, but I'm liking what I'm seeing. I think it was a smart move by Todd Phillips to post those official photos and videos, getting the jump on the paparazzi and setting the tone for what he's going for in Joker. At the very least, Phoenix looks the part, and an actor of his talents should be able to really make the part his own. I'm excited to see the first trailer and (hopefully) hear Phoenix's Joker speak. He's pretty picky about the films he chooses to do, so it's interesting he agreed to Joker. - Chris Agar
I’m sick of the Joker. When are we getting Birds of Prey? - Molly Freeman