Joker's Rotten Tomatoes score drops a bit following negative reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival. Even though it's a few weeks away from hitting theaters, Joker is poised to be one of the most polarizing films of 2019. While some have praised the movie as a game-changing masterpiece (bolstered by Joaquin Phoenix's transformative performance), others have voiced concern about Joker's potentially problematic approach to its social commentary elements. The debates about the film's merits should only get more heated when it opens to the general public in October.
While Joker is not beloved by all, it has been making noise on the awards circuit. Prior to playing at TIFF, the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it received raves. Phoenix was almost immediately proclaimed a player in this year's Best Actor race, and the film itself got the inside track on a Best Picture nomination by winning Venice's coveted Golden Lion award. This led to Joker's initial Rotten Tomatoes score being very high, but now that more people are weighing in with their thoughts, the film's rating has dipped a bit.
As Joker reviews continue to come in, the film's Rotten Tomatoes score currently stands at 77%. This is down from 85% in late August, an 8% difference. As of this writing, 77 Joker reviews have been submitted to Rotten Tomatoes, 59 of which are positive.
An added twist to this development is some Rotten Tomatoes shenanigans. ComicBook pointed out at least one instance of a critic's 3/5 Joker review being considered "rotten," when that same critic's 3/5 reviews for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Avengers: Endgame were "fresh." The critic in question, BBC's Nicholas Barber, claims he did not specify to Rotten Tomatoes if his Joker review was positive or negative and that someone at the aggregator must have made the call. Anyone familiar with online film discourse is very aware of the "critics are biased against DC" narrative, and this certainly won't help those matters. It's worth noting Joker's Rotten Tomatoes score is still very high, but it'll nevertheless be interesting to keep an eye on things and see how the rating fluctuates over the next couple of weeks.
77 reviews seems like a lot already, but high-profile studio films like Joker accumulate hundreds of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. For example, last week's IT Chapter Two has 307 counted, so only a fraction of Joker reviews have been published. Per Rotten Tomatoes guidelines, a wide release movie needs at least 80 reviews and a 75% rating to be considered Certified Fresh, so Joker is on the cusp of achieving that milestone. Regardless of how its score sways from here, the divisiveness should only help boost the film's box office projections, since everyone will be curious to see what all the fuss is about.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
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- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
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- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022