Todd Phillips’ Joker has been touted as a possible awards contender for months, but following the movie’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, it seems as if that might have been a little too modest. WB’s fresh spin on the title character seems to be living up to the hype and then some, receiving an eight-minute standing ovation following the first official screening, with critics raving about Joaquin Phoenix’s transformative performance.
This may not come as much of a surprise to some, given that those involved with Joker have been touting the R-rated psychological thriller as an entirely different breed of comic book movie, but there’s also been plenty of heavily-hyped entries in the genre that have failed to live up to expectations. There seems to be little chance of Joker suffering from a similar fate though, given that words like ‘audacious’, ‘unforgettable’ and ‘masterpiece’ are being thrown around already.
Following the rapturously-received Venice premiere, producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff spoke to the Associated Press and was effusive in her praise for the movie, while also admitting that she isn’t a fan of the comic book genre as a whole:
“It’s not my preferred genre, the comic book genre. I literally can’t watch those movies. I try but I can’t. I should but I can’t. But I love this movie. Even if I didn’t work on this movie I would love this movie.”
It seems strange that those involved with Joker are trying so hard to distance themselves from the comic book genre, given that the character is one of the most instantly-recognizable figures in popular culture. Everybody knows that the Clown Prince of Crimes comes from comic books, and he’s already appeared in three blockbuster movies that earned billions under his regular guise as Batman’s arch-nemesis.
In any case, it’s interesting that first Marc Maron embarked on his online feud with Marvel fans, and now one of the producers of Joker has admitted that she can’t even watch comic book movies. Maybe they think that there’s still a stigma around the genre being taken seriously during awards season, and being compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Extended Universe could hamper the movie’s chances of success. Ultimately, though, these things are decided by the quality of the final product and on that front, Joker looks to be doing just fine.