I will gladly die on this hill: the villain is 9.9 times out of 10 the best part of a story. They are typically the most well-developed, complex, and intriguing characters in a film, and when we finally get their backstory and the cause for their evil effects, it just makes them even more alluring.
So when the tables are turned, and we get an entire origin film for the villain, take all my money. Except for Venom. I was not down for that dumpster fire of bad accents and plot holes the size of Venom’s eyes.
Last year, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that one of the most enduring and enigmatic villains was finally going to get his turn to tell his story: Joker. Needless to say, I was skeptical. On the one hand, we had the brilliant Heath Ledger’s twisted portrayal as the Clown Prince who just wanted to watch the world burn. On the other hand, Jared Leto and his face tats.
Need I say more?
Then Warner Bros. introduced us to our new Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, in the most disturbing camera test I have ever seen, and I’ve seen Bree from Outlander audition tapes.
— Warner Bros. Pictures (@wbpictures) September 21, 2018
What did we learn about the Joker from this 31 second clip? This incarnation is apparently named Arthur, he clearly appreciates earth tones, and men in clown makeup still belong in the 9th circle of hell:
Gone are the chemical burns from Tim Burton’s Batman, the scars from The Dark Knight, and thankfully the metal grill from Suicide Squad. Instead, we’re simply given grease paint, a suit reminiscent of the older comics, a smile that quickly morphs into a crazed stare. This Joker is a man we may encounter on the street and that, for me, is far more frightening than some jackass with bad neck tattoos and neon green hair.
Joker will be a stand alone film in the DC Universe, and by the looks of the first trailer, it’s a vast departure from DC’s more light hearted fare (see Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam). Be prepared to be creeped out in 3, 2, 1…
Engrossing, uncomfortable, and thoroughly disturbing: this is exactly the Joker film we need, and although I wish it were Heath Ledger donning the purple suit once again, I’ll take Joaquin Phoenix and his effed up method acting.
Joker shifts the focus away from Batman’s greatest villain’s theatrics – in fact, the Caped Crusader is notably absent and not even mentioned once in the trailer – and more on the psychological state of a man, both literally and figuratively beaten up by life. Joker’s Arthur Fleck is consistently rejected by society, bullied by those around him, both teetering on and finally reaching that breaking point.
I am here for it.
Here’s just a few things you may have missed (or tried to forget) from the Joker trailer:
The one lose curl doesn’t help quell my fear either.
A Boy’s Best Friend is His Mother
From bathing his mother to a dance party in the living room, we’re apparently getting a crash course in the Oedipus complex.
That Last Joke
“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.” So much truth, tho.
Clearly Where He’ll Recruit
My first thought? “Oh, look. A preview of Trump’s healthcare reform.”
And. This. Smile.
For anyone that is still questions whether or not Joaquin Phoenix can pull off the Joker, I think this moment alone answered, “Good luck erasing this image from your waking reality.”
A Calvin Klein Ad from the 90s
I swear I thought I was going to see a bottle of CK One sitting on a table.
The Joker’s Not-So-Tightie-Whities
Just in case you ever wondered what villains wear under their clothes, you pervs.
This Last Shot
Now performing at children’s birthday parties and your nightmares.
Joker arrives to theaters on October 4th.