The DC comic book universe is regarded as one of the most diverse across the spectrum. However, the studio hasn't been able to capitalise on this success in movies as most of the DCEU films have failed critically, and sometimes, commercially. The studio is taking yet another shot at it, with DC Black. The first movie from the DC Black banner is Joker, a Todd Phillips directorial that tells us the origin story of Batman's most dreaded villain. We managed to catch a screening of Joker over the weekend and here is our review of the same.
Joker India Review
PS: Spoilers ahead
If you are going in to watch Joker expecting some crazy superhero VFX action, you are going to be massively disappointed. Joker is a neo-noir, character-driven movie that attempts to show us the reasons behind Joker's ultimate fall into becoming a psychopathic villain who kneels before no one.
Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of Joker so convincingly, even Heath Ledger would have been impressed. Right from the start of the movie, where a gang of boys beat up his character, to his eery laughing disorder and his dance moves, Phoenix convinces us that he is the madman himself.
Joker attempts to show the story of Arthur Fleck, a guy from the city who hasn't seen happiness in years. He lives all alone with his mother in a small apartment, and makes do by acting like a clown at birthday parties. His life is miserable, and his laughing disorder makes it even more troublesome for him.
However, the point of the movie isn't in how sad his life is or how he somehow manages to land up on a popular TV talk show. It is actually how convincingly he blends truth with falsities to bend reality. In one sequence, he musters the courage to go out with his crush, only to make us realise that those are just his made-up thoughts.
Even his ailing mother is shown to be delusional. She writes letters everyday to billionaire Thomas Wayne, claiming Arthur is his son. Arthur, in pursuit of truth, confronts Wayne only to be hit with harsh facts that suggest that the story might just be completely made up.
The reality of Joker is distorted. He doesn't know what is true and false anymore. Which is exactly what the character tries to portray to the audience. About 1 hour 30 minutes into the movie, the audience, you, do not know what part of the story is real.
That said, the story is too linear for most moviegoers. It isn't quite artitstic, despite director Todd Phillips suggesting that his work is majorly inspired from directors like Martin Scorsese. You don't expect the regular superhero fare with Joker, but you also leave disappointed, wanting more.
Joker is a good movie, nothing great. Obviously, Joaquin Phoenix becomes a top contender for the Best Actor Oscar next year, and the movie also scores well on direction, cinematography, and sound. However, the overall package just seems incomplete as you wonder where the story came from and where it went.
The introduction of dark, psychological thrillers to the DC cinematic universe seems like a great addition. DC Black, although currently branded as independent story-based movies, is off to a great start and could develop into a full-fledged superhero movie franchise in the next few years. The Batman, we are looking at you.
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Priyamani, Gul Panag, Sharib Hashmi, Dalip Tahil
Director: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.
Producers: D2R Films, Prime Video
Joker has been released across the globe and is now running in movie theaters (as of October 7, 2019).