“Joker” Movie Review

One of the most unoriginal and overhyped movies of the year

When approaching this film, I see two different sides to it: First, I really respect director Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. for releasing something as ambitious as this. It is refreshing to see a slow R-rated character study be so successful. But on the other hand, it just is not very well written. The quality and ambition is ruined by the underlying feeling that it is trying too hard to seem meaningful in some way. It all felt too much like a cool idea rather than a story someone was actually passionate about.

These two conflicting ideals swapped back and forth during the entire film. Small, entrancing moments of our main character just dancing in a bathroom are juxtaposed with one of the stupidest and most blatantly obvious twists I have ever seen. Only bros who haven’t seen anything other than Marvel movies are not going to see this coming from miles away.

The first two acts felt very tedious where they were attempting to make a character study on a character who didn’t have any character. Just having him be crazy and laugh is not a character. Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic as always but there just was not enough to explore with his role. There were no other notable characters or plot in the entire movie to distract from how hollow he was. No matter how great your direction, cinematography or score is (the score was especially awesome), I cannot be invested if your lead character is not that intriguing.

Scenes such as when they explained how he got crazy were cringe-inducingly cliche and inconsequential. This was the only other storyline in the film and it just felt clumsy and unnecessary.

But when the film eventually reached its third act I became very interested. Phoenix evolves into an extremely intimidating character that I was incredibly entertained by. The talk show scene was so incredibly tense and hypnotizing. It was incredibly well-done, genuinely shocking and unique.

This transitions into a riot scene which I found mesmerizing and surreal in the best way possible. Which leads to my two biggest gripes with the film. The momentum of the riots is absolutely ruined by the forced insertion of the Wayne murders. It feels like such a forced afterthought, incredibly dull, poorly shot and unoriginal. I couldn’t tell a difference from this scene or the same scene in any other Batman movie. It was painfully dull and would not make a difference if it was cut out of the movie. It should have been spun in some way in its story or execution or it is just completely unsurprising….every other person in the world knows that Bruce Wayne’s parents die. So why show us?

Finally, the twist at the end completely ruins the entire movie and makes it feel like a complete waste of time. It drastically cuts to a scene which has been completely unestablished, setting up a horribly unnecessary twist ending. It does not leave anything ambiguous and just seems clawing for something to shock people. It completely lacks any self-awareness or how to properly convey a satisfying twist. Watching this movie again will be the most boring thing ever, because now none of the movie is real and therefore none of it matters. Just make the movie surreal! You do not have to add this twist because you are embarrassed of big and bold statements because that is what made your movie interesting. This twist completely undercuts that and could be removed with no effect on the film.

I did like the last shot even if it did not fit the rest of the film, it was original and entertaining unlike 90% of this movie. If you want to watch a good movie, suck it up and watch an old Scorsese movie instead of needing someone to update it for you with a popular character and calling it revolutionary.