JOKER (2019) ~ Movie Review

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Comment below and tell me what you thought of Joaquin Phoenix as THE JOKER!!!


SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★


IMDB STORY LINE:

In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck embarks on a downward-spiral of social revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his infamous alter-ego: “The Joker”.

WARNER BROTHERS STORY LINE:

Joker centers around an origin of the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Todd Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

MY 2 CENTS:

This film is fantastic. It probably isn’t for everyone. I know it received a lot of negative reviews and a bunch of criticism for the amount of violence. However, it I feel that it also deserved some praise – both for the writing and the acting. I think the risks taken by writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver were great. Before seeing the film, I was a bit concerned. I had heard that there was talk about extreme unnecessary violence. I had no idea what to expect. However, after seeing the film, I can honestly say that wasn’t the case at all. After watching the John Wick movies, which are just riddled with violence to the point that it is hard to remember a scene without violence, this film is more drama than violence. In fact, the first time Arthur Fleck ever kills anyone, it is in self-defense. Sure, it is clear in that moment you can tell he is enjoying it… and that is where you start to see the typical evil of The Joker come through.  

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

WOW! The origin story for The Joker has always been a bit confusing for me. I never really understood it and it has always seemed a bit unrealistic and contrived. However, writers Todd Phillips and Scott Silver really developed a believable, heart wrenching backstory that allows the audience not only to understand why and how Arthur Fleck becomes The Joker, but to also sympathize with his situation and even root for him at times.

This film really forces the audience to think about mental illness, how we as a society often fail to give the appropriate care, attention, and medical treatment to those that really need it. Arthur Fleck is functioning in society, it’s a struggle but he is doing it. Then, when the funding for his state funded therapy is cancelled and he can no longer talk to his therapist and get his medications he spirals downhill.

Cinematography ★★★★★

The camera angles used during some of the scenes were truly beautiful and helped to pull the right emotional strings of the audience. One scene in particular was when Arthur was dancing down the steps and the camera is lower down, staring up at him. The joy he is portraying is both frightening and delightful at the same time.

Another case would be when Arthur has been beaten down and the camera is low on the ground with him. As an audience member, being down there on the ground with him, you feel his pain, his fear, his anger, and just a complete rush of helplessness.

The way this movie was filmed really made me feel like I was watching a Martin Scorsese film, such as Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, or even Raging Bull. After seeing the film, I read some reviews that said this same thing. However, were other people complained about this, I really liked it. I’ve always really liked Martin Scorsese’s film style.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Joaquin Phoenix was brilliant in this film. I can’t think of another actor that could have played this role in quiet the same way or with the same amount of emotional connection. There are so many moments throughout the film where I was just swept away emotionally, and brought to tears even, because of what Arthur was going through. It isn’t because I agree with the violence and the killing, but its in the moments, such as the first time he attempts standup comedy, or when he is beaten down in the street (more than once) where as an audience member feel his fear, his pain, and his torment.

In an interview, Phoenix stated that perfecting the Joker’s laugh was the toughest part of playing the character and I can completely see why. Laughter is usually associated with joy and delight and comedy, however, when he laughs you see his struggle with pain, depression, and anxiety. It is in complete conflict with the act of laughing. He stated that he watched videos of people who suffered from pathological laughter in order to get it just right.

Joaquin Phoenix stated that he had been “interested in the light of Arthur for lack of a better word. It wasn’t just the torment, it was the joy, his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected. To have warmth and love. I don’t think of a character as tormented.” Ultimately, I feel that Phoenix was able to bring out all of Arthur’s deepest emotions and make him a character that audience members can both related to and sympathize with.

FUN FACT:

Robert De Niro‘s role as Murray Franklin, the talk-show host who gives Arthur Fleck his big break, and even the name The Joker, is an ironic role reversal from De Niro’s role in The King of Comedy (1982). In that film, De Niro played Rupert Pupkin, an unsuccessful, mentally-unstable comedian who stalked and kidnapped his favorite talk-show host, Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis).

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”

“I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a comedy.”

TO SUM IT UP:

This film is a dark, terrifying, gritty, raw, and often uncomfortable character study of a man who has been mistreated, abused (both emotionally and physically), and overlooked by everyone in his life. This film dives into how the circumstances of life and long-term abuse have affected Arthur Fleck physically, emotionally, and mentally. I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen so you can get the full effect of the amazing camera angles and larger than life closeups.

Have you seen JOKER? If not, you should. If you have, let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. As always, I recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

JOKER (2019) Trailer:


BATMAN: Metahuman or Not?

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QUESTION: Is Batman just a rich man with toys or is he a metahuman?

About a week ago, I got into a discussion about Batman with some friends. I stated that he is just a rich man with toys and they got visually offended and argued that he is in fact a metahuman. Not wanting to speak out of turn, I did a little research to figure out what the heck they were talking about.

Let me start by saying, Batman is NOT my favorite superhero. I like his origin story. As a young boy, Bruce Wayne, witnesses his parents being murdered by a mugger. That experience drives him to fight crime in Gotham City, he does so by taking on the identity of Batman.  Pretty cool, but just wanting to fight crime doesn’t make him a metahuman.

Batman, from what I know of him… through movies alone – I admit I have not read the comics… but what I know of him, Bruce Wayne, or rather Batman has no inherent superhuman abilities. He simply relies on his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic abilities. He is smart… very smart, but the last time I checked being intelligent doesn’t make you a metahuman. If it did, wouldn’t geniuses like Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Von Goethe all be considered metahumans?

The thing is, the appeal for me, and so many others, is that Bruce Wayne is in fact NOT a metahuman. It’s a huge redeeming factor for him. Batman, like the Green Arrow are just really good at what they do, but they aren’t metahumans. They don’t have any special skills or powers.

Sure, Batman is the worlds greatest detective… So was Sherlock Holmes, but no one ever called him a metahuman! The cool thing about Batman is that he doesn’t need powers. He is the only superhero in the trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman) who doesn’t have special powers. He is one of the only members of the current Justice League lineup who doesn’t have metahuman abilities and that is awesome! The appeal of Batman has always been that he is simply a rich man with toys who wants to make Gotham City a better place and rid it of crime. His super power is his money and he uses his money for good.

Now, with that said, with the introduction of the Dark Knights: Metal comic book in 2017… which dealt with the weird metals in the DC universe… it seems that we’re being told that Batman was actually exposed to Dionysian, one of these dark metals, which has given him metahuman like powers. Basically, metahumans are created by these dark metals and since Batman was exposed to the metals, he is now being called a metahuman. What does being a metahuman allow Batman to do that he couldn’t do before when he was merely human? Well, he now has the ability to overcoming his injuries and he is stronger and more powerful than he has ever been.

I guess, technically he is a metahuman because this dark metal now runs through his veins… but I still just see him as a rich man with toys. What do you think, is Batman a rich man with toys or a metahuman?

MY FAVORITE BATMAN:

Michael Keaton will always be my batman. However, the list of actors who’ve played batman is pretty amazing. from the very first batman; Lewis Wilson in 1943 to Ben Affleck in 2017. Not to mention Dante Pereira-Olson who will be playing Batman in the soon to be released Joker on October 4, 2019 or Robert Pattinson who will be playing Batman in The Batman which is set to be released some time in June of 2021.

COMMENT BELOW AND TELL ME WHAT ACTOR PLAYED YOUR FAVORITE BATMAN!


Batman (Throughout History):

FILM U.S. RELEASE DATE ACTOR DIRECTOR
Batman 7/16/1943 Lewis Wilson Lambert Hillyer
Batman and Robin 6/26/1949 Robert Lowery Spencer Gordon Bennet
Batman: The Movie 7/30/1966 Adam West Leslie H. Martinson
Batman 6/23/1989 Michael Keaton Tim Burton
Batman Returns 6/19/1992 Michael Keaton Tim Burton
Batman Forever 6/16/1995 Val Kilmer Joel Schumacher
Batman & Robin 6/20/1997 George Clooney Joel Schumacher
Batman Begins 6/25/2005 Christian Bale Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight 7/18/2008 Christian Bale Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight Rises 7/20/2012 Christian Bale Christopher Nolan
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 3/25/2016 Ben Affleck Zack Snyder
Suicide Squad 8/5/2016 Ben Affleck David Ayer
Justice League 11/17/2017 Ben Affleck Zack Snyder
*Joker October 2, 2019 Dante Pereira-Olson Todd Phillips
*The Batman 6/25/2021 Robert Pattison Matt Reeves

MY FAVORITE BATMAN QUOTES:

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” ~ Bruce Wayne / Batman

“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.” ~ Batman

“I wear a mask. And that mask, it’s not to hide who I am, but to create what I am.” ~ Batman

What do you think?

I want to know what you think… Where do you fall in the Batman: Human Vs. Metahuman debate? Comment below and let me know. I still believe he is human, but I’d love for someone to convince me otherwise!

Check out the video on my YouTube channel below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

BONUS… Joker (Release Date: Oct. 2, 2019) Trailer: