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'Joker' Review

Updated on November 23, 2019

Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, and Marc Maron appear in supporting roles.

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks; the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he's part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.


The Joker was one of my most anticipated films of the year. I was really looking forward to this one. I'm a huge Joker fan. He's my second favorite comic book villain, and one of my all time favorite characters. Even though DC films have had a pretty rough time I had all the hope in the world that this film would be great.

However I was a little mixed in it, at least initially. After watching it I thought it was good, but not great. This film did a lot of things right, but I kinda wanted to see something different. This was less a Joker film and more a film about Author Fleck. That's not bad obviously you have to see the transformation, but here honestly it felt more like a sub plot. So much of the film was dedicated to making the audience care about Author, and it really worked. I cared about the character and his situation, but then the film kinda rushed everything else.

However my biggest problem with this film is the lack of everything that made the Joker the Joker. Even though he's completely insane he's smart and calculated. It might not look like it, but he always has plan. Here though he's more or less a man wearing face paint that does bad things. Honestly I think I would've loved this film a lot more at least the first time if it weren't a Joker film. If this film was exactly the same and had a different title I wouldn't loved it, but I went in wanting the Joker but that's not really what I got.

However after watching the film again, and accepting it for what it is I really liked. This film felt like an art film where every frame really looked beautiful. The directing was also amazing. I didn't love the story, but it worked well enough for what they were going for. I do wish is transformation was a lot clearer. I does take some personal interpretation (I'm not even sure if I'm right or not). I do wish they would've did it just a little better.

For me one thing that made the Joker great was the lack of a clear backstory. I didn't know how this would affect that, but I thought they did a really good job at leaving enough wiggle room. They established his backstory, but also didn't, so it's there but it didn't really affect the character.

I thought the climax was perfectly done. They build up great tension. From The very first scene they just add to it more and more until it finally explodes. Honestly that scene was exactly the kind of film I was hoping for. It was one of the best scene I've seen in a long time (minus those Avenger moments).

This film did get a little boring at times, but I thought the pacing was good. I loved the score, and I really liked the fact that Gotham City acted like an actual character.

This is a film that's really going to mix people. Some people will love it and say it's the best film of the year, but other people will be disappointed by it. After seeing it again I'm a little in between. I thought it was a great film, but I personally wouldn't call it my favorite or the best DCEU film. It's kinda tough to compare them because a lot of the other films are action based while this is a drama, but if you were to hand me all of the current films in the DCEU and told me to choose one Joker wouldn't be my top choice.

Again a great film, but not one I would recommend to everybody. The film did a lot of things well, but there are some things I would've liked to have seen done differently. In the end I ended up loving Joker for what it was.


Joaquin Pheonix gave another great performance. He deserves an Oscar. He carried this film and elevated it. He chewed up every scene he was in and demand attention. Add that with the pin point directing of Todd Phillips and you get a bunch of scenes that were hard to look away from.

One concern I had was how would he measures up to Heath Leader's amazing performance. He did just add good while making the character his own. This was without a doubt one of the best performances of his career.

Everyone else also did a great job. This was a very well acted film.


I thought the story was one of the weakest parts of the film. There just want a lot that actually happened. For most of the begging we see Author and life. Which was fine, but I thought that went on a little too long. I think one of the reason I found parts of the film a little boring was because there just wasn't that clear of a narrative.

There are only a few films and writers that can get away with not having a clear narrative. Quentin Tarantino is one example with the film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but unfortunately Joker was not one.

There just wasn't a very clear goal for a large amount of the film. It's like jumping in a car and just driving. It's fun at first and you enjoying looking out the window, but sooner or later it's not going to be as fun and your going to want to know where your destination is. He did have a small goal of trying to figure out who his father was able the truth about his mother, but it was treated as a sub plot. They didn't put nearly as much of an emphasis on it as they should've.

It wasn't until the climax that there was a clear narrative and goal. Like I said before the climax was the best part in the film. Once there was a clear goal there was enough of a foundation for them to build up tension and emotion. I thought the film desperately needed that in more ways than just sympathy.

The story wasn't the best, but some of it was due to the fact that it was an origin story. The film really couldn't used a clear narrative, but other than that I thought the story did a good enough job.


Overall Joker was a very well acted film with Joaquin Pheonix giving one of the best performances of the year. The film was also very well directed, and had beautiful cinematography with an excellent score. I didn't think the story was great, but it worked well enough for this film.

This is one of those films that some are going to love and some are going to hate. After watching twice and really diving into I ended up loving it. It's a simple but powerful story about a man pushed off of a cliff, and driven to do terrible things. This was a very real film that asked very real questions. Rather you loved it hated it there is no doubt that it will stick with you.

At the end of the day I thought Joker was a great film.

4 stars for Joker

© 2019 Royce Proctor Jr


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