Joker Trailer Thoughts

Richard Petro

twitter @ThePetroProject

April 21, 2019

     When it was first announced that they would be doing a film centered on the Joker and it would work as an origin of sorts, I was very indifferent. I didn’t think it was a good idea mostly for the obvious reasons that the Joker loses all mystique that his character may hold if there is some level of backstory there. He works better as an enigma, someone you know nothing about. Not only that, as much as I enjoy the character, he’s kind of been run into a weird, negative space recently. It’s been too much, and it’s gotten almost eye-rolling to hear them constantly try to use him for multiple projects. Then they cast Joaquin Phoenix in the lead and, I’m not going to lie, my excitement went from indifferent to pretty high.
     I love Joaquin Phoenix, and he is always a pretty big high point in whatever he does. Not only that, this isn’t something that really seems to be in his wheelhouse, so there must have been something that intrigued him about the script enough to say yes to it. Slowly we got more peeks at it, including a great ‘teaser’/costume-makeup reveal, and now we finally have a trailer to go along with it. Let’s look at the trailer and cover some quick thoughts!

     Obviously, they are pulling a lot from Alan Moore’s backstory ideas from The Killing Joke, which makes sense as the creators have gone on to say that the film will very much be a character film more-so than anything, and the failed-comedian-turned-crime-associate is a good place to start. It’s an interesting take, especially since this is pushing that it was less a means to an end and more of a full blown decision.
     There has been some conversation about the thought that the film will seem to make a homicidal maniac like The Joker into a sympathetic character and I hope that’s not what this ends up being, and I’m sure it won’t, especially if they are pulling from Moore’s story. The entire point of that original piece was that one bad day could completely change everything, for good or bad, and showcased the difference between Joker and Bruce Wayne.
     There’s a point where sympathy isn’t applicable, as the character that has horrible things happening to them is fully aware of the consequences of what they are doing, and that’s really the feeling I get here. It’s less sympathetic and more “how far one can fall”, like the original story. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

     The trailer, as a whole, is really well put together. It does a great job highlighting Phoenix’s very physical performance, and honestly do really like the crime film-esque tone they are going for. It seems gritty, but in a good way, not the previous “attempting to be edgy” way that DCEU had a problem with. It’s a tone that fits the story, and I’m pretty excited for that element. I like the idea of going into different genres for different stories, especially if they go all the way and add in little touches and flourishes that are trademarks to that genre.
     But I am very excited to see how the film turns out, and I’m hoping it ends up being as good as the trailer presents it. It could be a really interesting take and easily be incredibly tense and intriguing, especially if they explore Gotham City as a whole and give it a bit more life and dimensions.