A new take on the Batman villain’s origin story
The first comic book movie to win an Oscar? The hype surrounding Joker, featuring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s arch foe, is reaching new levels, especially with the release of its final trailer:
A new take on the villain’s origin story, the movie has already bagged screenings at the prestigious Venice and Toronto film festivals ahead of its official release, and has Robert De Niro in its supporting cast. Director Todd Phillips has also cited Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and The King of Comedy among his influences.
Just to be clear, this is a standalone film, and not connected in any way to previous Batman instalments – nor is it a reboot intended to kickstart its own universe. Phillips has described it as a character study and a cautionary tale, following a series of events that could turn a vulnerable person into a crazed, violent criminal.
Set in the 1980s, Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck – a name created just for this movie (the Joker has only ever been given a name on one other occasion, when Tim Burton called him Jack Napier for his 1989 Batman movie). He is a humble, simple man, who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, the world has other plans, with De Niro’s mocking talk show host a contributor to his eventual downfall.
A new poster was also released at the same time as the trailer:
The US release date for Joker is October 4. Bruce Wayne does appear as a young boy, along with his butler, Alfred, and his father, who is running for mayor. Central to the plot with be Phoenix, however.