We finally watched Joker over the weekend. Overall, I thought it was a solid movie with some great direction and acting. I’ll share my spoiler-free thoughts below.
Perhaps first and foremost, it was fascinating to watch a supervillain origin story that isn’t at all a superhero movie. It’s just a movie about a sad, crazy man in Gothan City. There are no super powers, no mutations or magic, no hero, no big fight scene. Yet I think it’s aided significantly by the fact that it’s an origin story about a villain we know from the comics and previous movies.
There are two specific elements of the Joker’s character that I thought were particularly clever: One, I like that he has a condition that results in him laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate times. It fits his character perfectly, it seems like a real condition (perhaps it is?), and the audience can relate to it–at some point in all of our lives, we’ve laughed at the wrong time.
Two, I like how the Joker runs. Joaquin Phoenix runs in a peculiar way in the movie, and I’m pretty sure he runs as if he’s wearing clown shoes (even when he’s not). It’s a brilliant little touch.
Last, is this the best rendition of the Joker? For me the big two are Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix (though for his time, Jack Nicholson does a great job as well). I think Phoenix gives Ledger a run for his money–he is fascinating to watch, and I never doubted for a second that he’s the Joker. But there’s something special about Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, and I don’t know if it can ever be topped.
What do you think? What was your favorite aspect of Joker, and which actor has done the best job portraying him?