Movie Review: ‘Joker’ is dark and devastating tale of clown prince of crime

by Connor Webber

Joker,” directed by Todd Phillips, follows Arthur Fleck through a story about mental illness and finding a purpose, showing the tragic events that pushed him to become the clown prince of crime we all know and love.

Photo by Niko Tavernise, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Dark and devastating, “Joker” takes the comic book genre to a whole new level and gives us a masterfully put-together film that will move audiences around the world. I hope the Academy is watching… 

In 2008, the bar was set when Christopher Nolan took the comic book movie genre and flipped it on its head with “The Dark Knight. No film before had taken such famous comic book characters and placed them in such a real, dark setting; a lot of which had to do with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as The Joker.

To this day, Ledger’s performance is known as one of the best comic book movie performances of all time, if not one of the best performances in all of film. So naturally, people were skeptical when a stand-alone film about The Joker was announced – as well as curious about who would be brave enough to endure the criticism from comic fanboys who believed no one could come close to the perfection of Ledger’s performance. If you don’t believe me, just ask Jared Leto. 

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Now, with all that being said, I am pleased to say that Joaquin Phoenix delivers another powerful, Oscar-worthy performance as Arthur Fleck. The film is centered and reliant on Phoenix’s performance; without him, this film would not hold up, nor would it have the impact that it carries. The way Phoenix throws himself into the character of Arthur Fleck allows the audience to not only see, but feel the mental deterioration of the character that pushes him into insanity.

Photo by Niko Tavernise, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Though the film is primarily driven by Phoenix and his performance, there are some supporting cast worth noting: Francis Conroy (“American Horror Story,” “Arrested Development”) as Arthur’s mother Penny Fleck, Zazie Beetz (“Deadpool 2,” “Atlanta”) as Arthur’s love interest Sophie Dumond, and Robert De Niro (“Taxi Driver,” “Meet the Parents”) as Gotham’s late-night talk show host, Murray Franklin. This film does not miss a beat, and it is obvious how much everyone involved with the production worked on it with such care.

From start to finish, I was enthralled with how technically perfect this film is. The screenplay, the directing, the acting, the cinematography – everything was so beautifully done. The movie is a slow burn, but knowing the basic idea of where it is going will have you on the edge of your seat, questioning what’s going to happen next.

Photo by Niko Tavernise, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Now, it is very important to note that “Joker” is rated R and not for everyone. This is a very provocative movie that is thought-provoking and will make you uncomfortable. It’s not a lighthearted comic book movie like Marvel Studios’ “Avengers” films; there are very few laughs and very little action.  With that being said, “Joker” is an amazing film that I imagine myself seeing multiple times. This movie is not to be missed.

“Joker” comes out on Oct. 4 and will be shown in IMAX, Dolby Cinema, RPX, and XD. There are no end-credits scenes. Check out the latest trailer for the film below:

JOKER - Final Trailer - Now Playing In Theaters

In the Parks

If you’re looking for an attraction that puts you into the twisted mind of the crazy clown himself, look no further than the insane 4D coaster “The Joker.” This unique coaster takes you straight up a 120-foot hill, then takes an unexpected turn where your seats begin to flip and spin using onboard magnetic technology.

If you’re up to the challenge “The Joker” is located at Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags New England, and Six Flags Over Texas. You can also meet the famed DC Comics villain at Six Flags parks.

Fans of the DC Comics villain can also take a spin on The Joker: Carnival of Chaos pendulum ride, now open at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

Watch our video of the Batman-themed haunted house from Warner Bros. Horror Made Here, “Escape from Arkham Asylum,” below:

Batman Haunted House - Escape from Arkham Asylum at Warner Bros. Horror Made Here

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