If anything, 2019 has turned out to be a great year for comic book movies. Already, audiences have been dazzled by the likes of Captain Marvel, Shazam! and Avengers: Endgame, with Spider-Man: Far From Home looking to impress in a matter of weeks. And before long, we’ll journey into madness when Joker storms cinemas this fall.
The important thing to note going into this one is not to expect your usual superhero fare. In fact, the first reaction to the flick described it as being “a series of punches to the gut.” Anyone who’s followed the production knew director Todd Phillips was going for something different, so that’s hardly cause for concern. After all, you’re not supposed to root for the Clown Prince of Crime.
Continuing on that note, it’s become very apparent that Joaquin Phoenix’s iteration of the character won’t simply endure “one bad day.” According to co-star Brian Tyree Henry, this Ace of Knaves’ arc will be much more complicated:
“I think it’s going to be very different because it really goes into just the origin story. Villains are never born that way, they’re made. There’s something that happens in their lives that they give up their faith in humanity; they see the flaws of humanity and mankind and feel like they must correct it. And what happens with Joker is you start to see how he really was a happy person. He really was trying to find this…hope in humanity until it broke him down and he just had to give up and reshape it.”
Again, this a cautionary tale about one man’s slow and gradual descent into madness. Henry hinted more at what’s to come with what he said next:
“There’s going to be a connection [made] about a boy and his mother, that is another thing that you’re going to see — that he was capable of love at some point. But, at the end of the day, I think it’s all about how he was made that way, how he didn’t start being that kind of person.”
Giving this iconic villain an origin story has always been a divisive subject, even when it comes to something as widely praised as Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke. But since Phillips’ effort is a standalone film not meant to launch a franchise, I see no harm in providing this alternate take.
Joker arrives in theaters on October 4th.