Well, I saw it.
|Posted: 05 October 2019 at 9:12pm | IP Logged | 4
It's a very difficult film to "review", and I'm still processing it. I'll split some random thoughts about it in between "comic-related" stuff and about the film itself and its possible cultural repercussions. I'll try to keep it non-spoilery but if in doubt, please add the SPOILERS tag to the thread.
- It messes with the Batman canon in ways I didn't like. Not as bad as Tim Burton's BATMAN, though.
- It is a Joker origin movie as promised, and that's obviously problematic. It's like one of those cliched fake origin stories the Joker tells in TDK or MAD LOVE in the comics and then laughs in your face for being stupid enough to believe in it, stretched to movie length. I kept waiting for some kind of meta punchline to come, but it never did (or did it?).
- On the subject of that, the whole film is told in Arthur's perspective (Phoenix is in almost every scene of the film) and he is proven in the film as an unreliable narrator multiple times, so what things actually did happen and what didn't is pretty much open to interpretation. Very similar to AMERICAN PSYCHO in that way.
- It's basically "Psycho-Babble: The Movie", so if you're not into that kind of stuff I'd recommend you stay away.
- Despite that, the movie makes clear in various ways that Arthur is broken and irredeemable before the start of the events of the film, so what happens to him isn't a direct consequence of the abuse he faces in the early parts of the film, at least directly. When he descends into violence, the film doesn't make excuses for him IMHO. But this is a subtle message, and could be VERY EASILY misinterpreted.
- The transformation is very smooth and well done. When The Joker finally manifests, I believed. That's The Joker.
- The Thomas Wayne characterization will upset a lot of Batman fans. It works well within the context of the film, though.
- The director said this is a one time thing, with no interconnections with the DCEU and that it'll have no sequels. I hope he keeps his promise.
Film and Cultural-related Stuff:
- The film is incendiary. I'd say it's the most controversial film released by a major studio since FIGHT CLUB. I'd even say it's borderline dangerous. It'll spark discussion for years to come.
- Joaquin Phoenix's performance is incredible. Oscar material. And it's completely different from Ledger's or anyone's take. We've never seen The Joker like this before. Truly a very special character.
- The film's very good. If it weren't so directly inspired in the Scorsese films it apes (TAXI DRIVER and THE KING OF COMEDY, of which it's almost a remake of sorts) I'd even say it's a great film.
- There's a few real world social points the film is trying to make, mainly about the treatment of the mentally ill and social and economic inequality. This is kinda pretentious at times, although some of it clicks.
All in all, I enjoyed the film and will probably see it again before it ends it's theatrical run.
But, while watching it I kept thinking about something Alan Moore said regarding THE KILLING JOKE (another work I have mixed feelings about) that went something like: "It puts far too much melodramatic weight upon characters that were never designed to carry it".
This is true for this film as well.