This year has already seen a number of excellent comic book and superhero movies hit the big screen, but one of the most exciting genre releases of 2019 is still on its way. DC Comics fans have been buzzing about Todd Phillips’ JOKER for months, but now that hype has reached incredible levels thanks to screenings at both the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (especially the former where it actually won the event’s top prize, the Golden Lion).
We still have a couple of weeks left before JOKER hits theatres everywhere, but with tickets now on sale, we wanted to drive home just how eager you should be for this feature and why you really need to purchase your tickets immediately. There are a number of reasons why you should be excited for opening weekend, but we’ll start with...
Joaquin Phoenix’s Performance Is Extraordinary
At this point, the Joker has become one of the most significant roles in cinematic history, played by some of the greatest performers of the last three decades and revered as one of the most challenging parts an actor can play. In taking on the titular role in JOKER, Joaquin Phoenix had some incredibly huge shoes to fill (having previously been worn by the likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger), but what Phoenix delivers is on another level. He completely disappears into this mentally unstable character, named Arthur Fleck, and his turn is both stunning and gut-wrenching. To sum it up, it’s September and he’s already inspiring Oscar® chatter.
It’s a Stunning Version of Gotham City Unlike Any Other Adaptation
Director Todd Phillips is best known for R-rated comedies like OLD SCHOOL and THE HANGOVER, but his work has been getting more serious and more mature in recent years, and JOKER is only the filmmaker’s second purely dramatic movie after 2016’s WAR DOGS. While he may be new to the tone, though, the guy demonstrates a clear command of atmosphere, and that’s remarkably evident in the way in which he depicts Gotham City — a vision far different than those previously built by Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan or others. With the events of the story taking place before Batman’s vigilante crusade, this urban landscape is a terrifying nightmare that causes endless suffering, and there’s a beauty in its horror. It’s a must-see on the big screen.
It’s a Fantastic Tribute to One of the Greats of Cinema History
Part of the reason why JOKER’s Gotham City feels so powerful and authentic is because it is directly inspired by the streets of New York in the early 1980s, specifically as depicted in the early works of film legend Martin Scorsese. The connection goes beyond that, however, as the narrative of the movie is also clearly the result of a deep study of Scorsese’s work, most notably morphing elements of classics like TAXI DRIVER and THE KING OF COMEDY. In many ways, it’s an awesome tribute and a wonderful experience for cinephiles everywhere.
It Will Chill You to the Bone
At this point, it is beyond commonplace to see superheroes on the big screen fly in to save the day and defeat the bad guy, but JOKER is a totally different beast than the status quo. Watching the film, there is the constant awareness that nobody is going to just enter into the story and fix things, and it creates a novel experience. You’re confronted with a protagonist who grows more and more detestable as he sinks further into madness, and the thrill you get watching his story play out is akin to being locked in a room with him. It’s unique and can only be fully understood by seeing it.
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait too much longer to do that. As mentioned, tickets are now on sale for JOKER at AMC theatres nationwide. Get yours for the opening on October 4.