There's a long history of The Joker pissing people off on the big screen. First, Cesar Romero's was too camp, then Jack Nicholson's killed Bruce Wayne's parents, then Heath Ledger was cast out of nowhere, then Jared Leto was... a lot. And now Joaquin Phoenix's iteration looks set to join the party.
Not least because this movie seeks to offer an origin to one of the most provocatively mysterious characters in cultural history, his upcoming Joker is set to be a major departure for the character. In fact, that's part of why it exists in the first place, at least according to director Todd Phillips, who says it was part of the intention for the film.
Somewhat worryingly, he also says that some people might not be overly impressed with the approach to the character. The director revealed to Empire that it's not tied closely to the comics:
"We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about... We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
This also fits in with Jeff Wells' assessment of a 2018 draft of the script that he posted a very brief review of.
"Last night I read a 2018 draft of Todd Phillips‘ Joker, written by Phillips and Scott Silver. It’s Scorsese-ish, all right — set in 1981 “Gotham,” tingling with echoes of Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy with a little touch of Death Wish. The basic philosophy is “the world’s a venal, plundering place so who can blame Joaquin Pheonix for becoming a killer clown?” It’s a stand-alone but at the same time it definitely feeds into the Batman legend."
Sounds a lot like a Rorschach movie, to be honest.
It's an interesting one, this, and it shouldn't be all that surprising. Remember, this movie was ALWAYS marketed as set apart from the Batman movie universe and there's very much an Elseworlds vibe to it. Unfortunately, the confirmation probably makes it unlikely we're going to get to see Phoenix's Joker and Robert Pattinson's Batman together on screen, unless Warner Bros pull a Sony and allow a perfectly cast character to survive jumping across reboot boundaries...?
Are you excited for Joker? Share your opinions below in the comments thread.