Contrary to popular belief, the modern era is not the best for comic book films. In the past films, based on comic book characters, could be made with deviations and innovations which would be welcomed by the public. Today fans are more adamant about accuracy and staying true to the source material. This phenomenon has made innovation difficult for filmmakers. Nevertheless, Todd Phillips seems to have come out on top with his latest film Joker.
Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, was screened at the Venice Film Festival where it received a lot of praise for its storyline as well as performances. The film has been anticipated ever since its first trailer was released but going by the reactions it seems that the film goes beyond expectations. Some reviews stated that Phoneix's performance has ushered in a new era for the character.
The Joker's personality was first defined on the big screen by Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson. Staying true to his roots, the character went a massive change with Heath Ledger's portrayal of the character in Chistopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Now it seems that Joaquin Phoenix has created a new benchmark with his portrayal. The interesting thing about his character is that it goes with a different origin story than the comics or the previous Joker portrayals. The character's origin story has always been that he fell into a vat of acid during a robbery which resulted in his face, hair and lips getting discolored as well as the person going insane.
Phoenix, on the other hand, has a completely new iteration of the character going into depression living in a negative society driving him crazy. Following this he puts on make up to look like a clown. It seems that the execution of the concept has impressed audiences. They also claimed that Phoenix's Joker is possibly "one of DC's most frightening villains on the big screen".
JOKER is a bold, bodacious love letter to Scorsese's #TheKingOfComedy, told through the lens of DC's most iconic villain. Dark, disturbing, brutal & sad, it's about an abused man who doesn't start living until he's dead inside. Joaquin Phoenix is so damn good#JokerMovie pic.twitter.com/WCk1Ya4FFG — Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 31, 2019
What I love most in JOKER - aside from Phoenix’s guttural performance & some terrific cinematography- is seeing the humanity in this character, even if that humanity slowly slips away. It’s unlike any comic book origin story you’ve seen. Divisive? Probably. But ferociously unique pic.twitter.com/lXtmCyWoIz — Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 31, 2019
#JokerMovie is the type of film that defines an actor's career, type of role & character that comes once in a lifetime. Heath Ledger's #Joker redefined the character, but Phoenix cements it as one of the greatest, darkest villains in cinematic history. All hail Joaquin Phoenix! — International Film Critique (@IntFilmCritique) August 31, 2019
Setting his portrayal apart from the previous ones is something Phoenix had kept in mind when he first started working on the film. Talking about this at a press conference he stated, "The attraction to make this film was that we were going to approach it in our own way. I didn’t want a psychiatrist to be able to identify his personality type."
Referring to Ledger's Joker, director Todd Phillips talked about how different Phoenix's version is, saying, "He does not want the world to burn. His goal is genuinely to make people laugh and bring joy to the world and he made a few bad decisions along the way." He added that one of the film's major focus was to show the lack of empathy that is being noticed throughout the world.
It seems Phoenix and Phillips with the rest of their crew have delivered a story and performance that is unforgettable. The film will be releasing on October 4.
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