75 thoughts on “Joker (2019) Movie Review

  1. What an awesome and powerful review Lashaan, very much enjoyed your take on Joker. It’s certainly a laudable piece of filmmaking and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is surely a memorable one and it’ll be a crime if he isn’t recognised with at the very least, an Oscar nomination.

    Joker functions successfully as a standalone character study and I applaud the way it managed to tie into the overall DC comics mythology. Alas, it’s not quite a 10/10 for me (more of an 8/8.5), as good as the film is I do feel the Joker is best defined in his conflict with Batman and whereas I’ll forever return to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight I can’t see revisiting Joker in the same way. I do of course get that this was not meant to be a “Joker” film in the traditional sense and, again, praise Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix for what they achieved.

    As for the depiction of violence, I don’t really get the controversy, there are far more violent films out there (many of which are simply gratuitous) and what we do see feels integral to what is going on. Likewise, the treatment of mental illness is truthful in the context of Fleck’s situation and the world he is trapped in.

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    1. Thanks, Chris! I was very pleased that such a movie was released amongst all of the superhero content that DC and Marvel has been offering us for the past couple of years. It must’ve helped that the tone of the movie fit with what I want more from DC and that it had the qualities of a Nolan movie instead of something more family-friendly and less introspection and thought-provoking ideas.

      I definitely understand your stance on a Batman-less Joker and I definitely agree with you. Deep down, I too believe that Batman and Joker are yin and yang. And it’s Joker’s unexpected understanding of what he is to Batman that makes them so special together. The Dark Knight remains another of my special 10/10 movies for accomplishing just that. I just very much enjoyed Phillips’ and Phoenix’s interpretation of the character in this stand-alone movie.

      I’m also with you on the controversies around mental illness/violence for this movie. Phillips’ counter-argument about John Wick is perfect too. I just think people are stuck with the idea that movies/video games are a source and the cause of countless heinous acts around the world. I think they need to understand that these pieces of entertainment are not the problem. It’s the people who view/play that need to be looked into….

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  2. Great job. This movie gives you so much to talk about and it was tough for me to review it without giving away anything. This was quite a surprise and a movie that is still stuck in my head.

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  3. Thank you so much for doing this review potentially sooner than you initially planned.
    It sounds like a great movie, and I might see it next weekend.
    You mentioned two things that made me pause.
    1. Everything was left open-ended for interpretation. Since you scored the movie 10/10, I’m assuming it was done in the right way. I’d hate to see some crucial questions go unanswered.
    2. Social commentary. It can be a quick turn-off for me. Hopefully, they will not bother me too much.

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    1. I really couldn’t contain it all in me for any longer. Stayed up all night to just vomit it all out and I’m glad I did. Now I feel much more lighter and hope that it will be a review enticing enough to get people to try the movie for themselves.

      Honestly, the open-ended aspect of the movie is up to the viewer. If they go back and think about how the movie was told, they can decide that everything is open-ended or they can just embrace the final act without second-guessing anything. It’s why it’s that good.

      The social commentary is very much sown into the narrative. It’s not slapping you with it since everyone sort of knows what kind of “person” the Joker is but because the movie tries to portray his character, some questions are raised as to what we do as a society about certain issues.

      Do let me know if you ever do get the chance to see it. I’m curious to see if I raised your expectations too high or this will be one of those rare “good recommendations” that you often dread hahah 😀

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  4. Glad to hear another voice praising the movie, I hope to see it in two days and I can’t wait 🙂 DC seems to be doing good films, when they don’t try to imitate MCU 😉

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      1. I liked it a lot! Great performance, and a very good movie that really fits our troubled times. A bit too rational an explanation of how Joker got where he is, thus missing a bit of chaos and mystery that are so important for this character… so, perhaps not my perfect Joker, but a movie I greatly appreciate.

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        1. I’m so glad to hear that, Pio!!! I know what you mean and something tells me that the chaos and mystery you seek is what you found in Ledger’s Joker. I think it’s indeed an important part of the character but also told myself that Phoenix’s Joker is only the beginning of a Joker that isn’t yet fully-formed or with all the experience of Ledger’s Joker. The “evil plans” that aren’t “planned” would totally be an angle I would have explored in a sequel… a sequel I pray won’t happen honestly. This movie needs to be a stand-alone hahah

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  5. Well… WOW 🙂
    I was not sure I would go to see this movie once it arrived in my part of the world, since there has been an overabundance of stories drawn from graphic novel characters and/or superhero figures lately, and I’ve reached some sort of “fatigue” of the genre, but after reading your review I know I could not let this movie pass me by. It promises to be both difficult and intense, and the kind of experience that leaves a mark.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I totally understand your superhero fatigue especially when the comic book market exploded over the past few years with all the shows and movies. I do think that this movie can be appreciated even by non-superhero fans with timely and relevant subjects, a phenomenal performance by Joaquin Phoenix and dazzling cinematography. I do hope you get the chance to see it. Do let me know if you enjoyed it, Maddalena! I’m curious to see if you’ll be as impressed as I was by the end of it. 😀 Thank YOU for reading!

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  6. Wow, wow, wow!!! My daughter also told me she wanted to watch the movie so now I am convinced! And you are telling me that they earned more than the budget used in the opening weekend! Jackpot!

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  7. Loved your review, Lashaan, your passion really gives it another dimension! 😀

    I’m glad that the movie fulfills and even transcends your, admittedly high already, expectations. Phoenix is a true, rare master of the art, and when he was confirmed as the Joker I was pretty sure he’d be phenomenal and that the story must have a lot of merit to get him engaged. I’m glad I won’t be dissapointed 🙂 I will definitely see it at some point, and now can’t really wait to see it as soon as possible 😀

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    1. Thanks, Ola! And yes, I believe in Phoenix’ acting skills and this is yet another one of his phenomenal performances. He remains on my list of those rare actors that I can call “actors” and not just people who are their usual selves on screen heheh I do hope you’ll have a good time with it when you get the chance to see it. I reallly want to know if you’ll enjoy this DC movie though hahahaha Do let me know if it met your expectations, even a little! 😛

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    1. I like to think that the character’s transformation was the story. Where every incident culminates until the climactic sequence that shows him externalizing his feelings through violence. I liked the close-ups that allowed such an intimate look at a character’s struggle to be “normal”, to fit in, to control his impulses (laughing or killing).

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      1. If Scorsese were the director of this movie, it would have been much better (I am aware he is the produce here). What experience Todd Phillips has of directing drama? Not much if at all. The movie succeeded despite not having a viable story or a film content and 100 percent thanks to Phoenix and his performance. Remove Phoenix from there and what you end up with? Absolutely nothing. A star vehicle through and through.

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        1. I was indeed skeptical when I saw Todd Phillips resume after he was picked up to direct this movie. It was, however, interesting that his experience lied in brain-dead comedy movies, which are usually movies that I avoid. It was nice that Joker was a much grimmer take on comedy. I still believe that the story you seek and didn’t find in this movie is one that I found and loved within Joaquin Phoenix’s character. The whole narrative structure (introduction, rising action, climax, resolution, etc.) can be identified within him instead of outside of him. I won’t lie that anything by Scorsese would have been better, as a die-hard fan of his movies. I do hope your next cinematic experience will be much more rewarding than this was for you.

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          1. Well, you are very generous to the movie when you say the narrative structure can be identified within Joker. I am sure the director would love your reply. I can only say I am thankful that most movies do not follow that “narrative structure” (we do have plenty of TV advertisements with this component already) 🙂

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  8. SUCH AN AMAZING, DETAILED REVIEW, Lashaan! 😍😍 I loved how you described from the very beginning! Needless to say it just made me want to watch the movie ASAP! And I WILLLLLL!! 😍😍

    PS – I LOOVED Taxi Driver! 😍😍

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  9. Joaquin Phoenix is such a obsessive actor!!! Hahaha which is totally what this role needs. I can tell from the trailer that this is totally your movie Lashaan! Of course mental illness plays a part in who Joker becomes. That seems obvious to me. It also seems they set it in the past a bit? I agree that some interpretation of long enduring characters is so shallow and poor, that when a really great reimagining comes around its bound to blow you away. It’s great that Joker was that for you. 😀

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    1. Absolutely! One of those actors who puts in 200% into every performance. Love that about him! And yes, it was set in the past, way before Batman ever existed, which is why it’s a bit odd for hardcore fans to accept such a premise. Then again, it’s a fantastic interpretation of the character that can’t be ignored like the one Jared Leto was 😬😂

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  10. Finally I’m reading your review about this movie 😍 I was dying to read it since we watched it 😄 It’s probably one of my favourite review from you, even if I already knew how much you liked the movie, I loved how passionate you are and I loved feeling your excitement through your words 🥰

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  11. Loved your review. Did you feel like the movie worsened the stigma against mental illness? Saw some critiques of that aspect, but i actly thought the movie lessened the stigma! Saw his descent into violence as a product of social factors (like institutional discrimination and callousness of society) instead

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! I totally agree with you. I think people need to see the movie to the 2nd and 3rd degree. They need to understand that this isn’t about tagging people with the mental illness label and associating them to violence, it’s about understanding what they need from the society they live in to try and live with what they’re afflicted with. To ignore it will give us what we least desire from everyone and that’s where the message of the movie is at.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I appreciated the movie more than I expected. Really well done. Your review is on point. I especially liked where emphasis was placed on society’s capacity to be really mean to others and treatment of mental health issues. Sad reality that we have to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate the kind words and I’m really glad that you had a very positive experience with the movie, like me. It’s nice that a movie on one of the worse villains of all time manages to sneak in a subtle message on how society plays just as big a role on an individual’s mental health than the individual himself.

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  13. This was an excellent breakdown and review! You examined the themes perfectly without sounding like you were “supporting” his behavior. And you highlighted the score!

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