Joker Review: 9 Ups & 3 Downs

Put on a happy face, because Joker is really bloody good!

Joker Joaquin Phoenix
Warner Bros.

2019 hasn't been a great year for films in general. Sure, we got a great Avengers movie and a great Spider-Man movie and there were some really great surprises like Hustlers and Toy Story 4and lots of solid things like John Wick 3, but there have been way too few revelations.

The biggest is about to play in cinemas around the world, lighting fires, kicking off lots of debate and reaffirming Joaquin Phoenix as an utterly incredible gift to the world of acting. Because Todd Phillips Joker - the movie that "didn't need to exist" - is a triumph. It is blisteringly intense, provocative, subversive and challenging and it might well be Phoenix's best work to date.

It's not a completely flawless movie (and you get the sense that some people might hate it or what it becomes in other people's minds and hearts), but even a balanced analysis comes down firmly on the side of being a true masterpiece.

First the positives, and BOY are they positives...

Ups

9. It Throws In Genuine Surprises

Joker Joaquin Phoenix
Warner Bros.

Thanks to a smart marketing campaign, it never felt like we were being force-fed too much of this movie's story by teasers. There was a lot of story in there and a very obvious framework in there, but the best thing about the campaign is that it played some clever tricks.

What you might perceive to have guessed from those trailers won't necessarily all be accurate and in a marketplace saturated by way too many teasers that seem not to know what teasing really means, it's a hugely admirable achievement.

And in truth, even when you know things are coming, it's so well executed that that doesn't even spoil anything. Because it's not a movie tied to cheap revelations as its most valuable currency.

Executive Editor
Executive Editor

Executive Editor, chief Gunter and the most read writer on WhatCulture. Like ever.