Phoenix brings fans a new Joker


Aurora Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Joaquin Phoenix blew fans away with his approach of the infamous DC villain in Joker when it came to theaters on Oct. 4.

The film earned $93.5 million it’s opening weekend at the box office. It only continued to grow, now having earned $279.7 million; that’s only in the U.S. alone.

The Joker takes place in crime ridden Gotham, with Arthur Fleck working as a beat up clown for parties and advertisements alike. Fleck shows the charm and mannerisms of a child, with lots of laughter, shy body language and vulnerability. This nonetheless reveals his mental state. Fleck is shown being picked on throughout his day to day life as he struggles to take care of his mother. However, enough becomes enough when he decides to stand up for himself.

The film is heavily in Fleck’s perception, leaving the story line distorted between reality and insanity. As Fleck finds more joy in his life, he delves into his past, or what may be his past, and brings about more violent crimes and falls deeper into the pit of his own insanity. The ending is left to the audience to speculate in perfect Joker fashion.

Despite the violent actions in Joker and the lack of sanity, the storytelling allows the audience to feel sympathy for Fleck. He’s repeatedly shown to be tormented along with the other people around him that are struggling with their day to day lives, while others who are seen to be powerful do nothing to help. On the latter, they sit and make fun of the less fortunate. However, his way of trying to bring about change, isn’t necessarily the way to go about it.

Joker provides a new version of the infamous villain. Phoenix’ approach to the Joker is pure insanity; the battle he has within himself that slowly brings him to his own self destruction. He does an excellent job portraying a man gone mad. While many fans speculate and argue among themselves on who exactly the “best Joker” is, it’s be noted that every Joker brought to fans has been a new interpretation. The late Heath Ledger’s approach of the Joker was a perfect blurred line between genius and insanity, a realistic Joker. Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad that debuted in Aug. 2016 was a comic deprived approach of the Joker’s gangster identity that didn’t quite add up to fan’s expectations. The list of actors go on, but they each bring something unique to the screen.

Joker was met with concern as well as criticism when it was initially announced that the film was in production. After the mass shooting that occurred outside a theater showing The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, the victims and many others were concerned that a similar incident could occur. According to CNN, the victims were able to ban the movie from showing at the exact theater the shooting took place at. Other movie theaters have took precautions as well. At the AMC theater in Rockford, there were signs posted stating that no costumes were permitted at the theater due to Joker. Despite the negative attention, that clearly did not take away from the film’s success.

Whether fans want to argue over who the best Joker is, it’s best to set aside those ideals and enjoy the film for what it is, a great one. So, put on a smile and see Joker in theaters at AMC Showplace 16 in Rockford. Make sure to check to see movie times.