Movie Review – ‘Joker’

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I hadn’t planned on seeing the film ‘Joker’ at the cinema when it came out in October 2019. But after hearing a lot of people talk about it, I decided to find out what this film was like. I went to see the film at the cinema with my best mate from school Stephen. He saw this film twice before I saw it. 😀

So, what did I make of ‘Joker’ overall then? (Pause) Well, I’ll definitely say this. (Pause) It was a lot better than ‘Venom’. Yeah, I’m disappointed ‘Venom’ didn’t turn out to be the way ‘Joker’ ended up. It was clearly the kind of origins story I wanted to see with a villain in a comic book superhero movie.

‘Joker’ of course is based on the DC Comics character, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular anti-hero. It was pretty interesting to see this film as it’s kind-of set in the ‘Batman’ universe, but not really. I mean, the film provides this intriguing possible origins story for the character in a pretty unique way.

The film takes place in the year 1981. It focuses on Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck who tries to be a stand-up comedian in Gotham City. During the film, it’s revealed that he has mental health issues and it’s this series of unfortunate events that lead him to become the Joker with the people around him.

I won’t deny, I found this film pretty shocking and disturbing when I watched it on the big screen. I’m sensitive about the issues tackled in the film, including the mental health problems Arthur Fleck has with laughing uncontrollably and people not caring for him in a way people should’ve cared for him.

Joaquin Phoenix excels in the film and it’s intriguing how he provides varying layers to his character of Arthur Fleck before becoming the Joker. You can understand and emphasise why he ended up being the Joker whilst at the same time finding his violent acts towards the climax really inexcusable.

There are quite a few gruesome violent scenes in the film which I had to be brave in watching as I saw the film. But most of the film is pretty good psychological drama. It was compelling to see how Arthur Fleck goes towards his downfall with aspiring to be a comedian before he ends up as a villain.

A number of scenes in the film take place in Arthur’s mind due to his mental condition. Some of the scenes I was able to register when watching the film, but then there were also some that completely passed me by. It was after seeing the film that I discussed those scenes with my best friend Stephen.

Gotham City is a pretty abysmal place and exactly as you’d expect with its crime-ridden activities. In fact, a lot of the crime going on in the movie is caused by the Joker as the criminals begin to praise him as a hero when the cops are after him. It was compelling to see it unravelled in that showdown.

The film also features Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin, a talk show host who plays a pivotal role in Arthur’s downfall. There’s also Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond, who becomes Arthur’s ‘love interest’ in the movie and there’s Frances Conrory as Penny Fleck, Arthur’s mentally and physically ill mother.

There’s also a brief appearance of Bruce Wayne as a young boy, played by Dante Pereira-Olsen, before he became Batman. There’s also Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father. It was intriguing to see Thomas Wayne not being nice to Arthur when he gets to meet him during this film.

The talk show scene towards the end of the film was pretty shocking, especially when Arthur as Joker reveals himself to be the murderer of three men on a tube train before eventually shooting Murray Franklin on set. I anticipated that was coming as I saw the film, but it was still really shocking.

The thing I found disappointing about the film is that the Joker didn’t shoot Bruce Wayne’s parents at the end. Instead that was done by some random criminal in the film. I would’ve preferred it if the Joker shot Bruce’s parents as it would’ve reflected nicely in what he did in the 1989 ‘Batman’ movie.

‘Joker’ is a pretty good villain movie set in a sort-of ‘Batman’ universe. I wouldn’t regard it as a favourite, but I’m glad I’ve seen the movie to know what it’s like. Joaquin Phoenix is excellent as the Joker and it’s no surprise the film is regarded as one of the highest 15/R-rated grossing films in 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Joker’

  1. Timelord 007

    Great review Tim, as a mental health sufferer this film really showcased the flaws in the system perfectly, what Arthur experiences as just another sufferer resonates with me as the treatment, waiting list to be seen is damm right appalling, i had wait 9 months before seeing a Psychologist who provided me with medication & told me there would only be a number of therapy sessions which is ludicrous cause each case is different, some may need more sessions other’s less s, showing this was bold & i applaud the script & direction for emphasising the current flaws.

    I loved this film, Batman my favourite comic book character & this film was gritty, believable character drama instead of a big budget comic book action flick, somehow despite Arthurs decent into madness i really felt empathy & sadness for his character, a man trying to survive the hardshops of life but stamped on by people or circumstances everyday.

    I like how Thomas Wayne was portrayed as a arrogant rich asshole this was actually how Thomas father was wrote in Wayne Of Gotham but the writer’s changed it to fit Thomas character in this movie, i honestly think Arthur is his son & believe he had Penny sectioned to cover it up, look at Alfreds reaction to seeing Arthur he knows who he is.

    I like that Joker doesn’t kill the Waynes as that was done in Batman 89, what it does is show Arthurs actions & becomes this symbol of a uprising for the poor in how society treats the poor is actually the downfall of Thomas Wayne by his own doing when he called the poor & downtrodden clowns, by doing nothing tp help them he has infact caused these people to protest & therefore his & Martha’s death.

    For me Ledger still the best but Phoenix a close second & i do hope we get a sequel to this Joker because I’d love to see where they take the character next.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Joker’.

      I’m pleased you approve how the film tackled the mental health issues with Arthur’s character and how it dealt with the flawed system attending to people with mental health issues. It must be frustrating for people like yourself who’ve been through the waiting process and I’m glad you could relate to Arthur going through that in the film.

      This was a pretty grisly, gritty film when I saw it in the cinema, but I found how it good it was in developing character drama for Arthur Fleck/the Joker. I like the tie-ins to Batman and Gotham City in the film and it’d be interesting to see how the story continues from here should a sequel ever get made.

      Interesting thoughts you have about Thomas Wayne’s character and that you thought it was right the Joker didn’t kill Bruce Wayne’s parents at the end. Thanks for sharing your insight to me on this.

      Many thanks for your comments Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  2. Williams Fan 92

    Greetings Tim.

    I’m glad you’ve watched this movie. I’ve seen it twice, first in the cinema and the second time was on Blu-Ray. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t call it the best thing ever, which annoyingly is what a lot of people claimed it to be, not to mention it garnered a lot of controversy mostly from the violence and the use of a certain song. I can also see as to why some people may not like it. Most of them believed Joaquin Phoenix’s performance to be the only positive quality. It was compared by some to another film starring Robert De Niro which was ‘Taxi Driver’ by Martin Scorsese. ‘Joker’ was of course nominated for a few Academy Awards and I believe it won best actor (Phoenix) and best score (Hildur Guðnadóttir) although I might be wrong on the latter. It was also nominated for best picture, but it lost out to ‘Parasite’, but it did however win best picture at the Venice International film festival. It was praised by many people including the voice of the Joker, Mark Hamill. I have recently been reading through the films source material, which is the comic book, ‘Batman: the Killing Joke’.

    P.s. today, I went to HMV and purchased Doctor Who the Collection Season 19 at last! Woohoo!! 😄

    WF92

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘Joker’. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this film but my Dad has become interested about seeing it lately. Hopefully I’ll be able to see this film again soon and share updated thoughts on it. It is a very dark film but it’s intriguing how it does a unique take on the origin story of the Joker. Glad you got your Season 19 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. Hope you enjoy it.

      Many thanks,

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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