Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beets, Robert De Niro, Francis Conroy
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Being a big Batman fan, I’ve seen a lot of takes on the Dark Knight. That also means I’ve seen a lot of takes on his arch nemesis, the Joker. From Heath Ledger’s scarred anarchist to Jared Leto’s tattooed thug, The Joker has had arguably the most interpretations of any comic book character in history, and since he’s my all-time favorite villain in fiction, I’m pretty protective of him. Which is why I was going into Todd Phillips’ Joker with some pretty heavy skepticism. On the one hand, you have Joaquin Phoenix, arguably the best actor of our generation, in the lead. On the other hand, this is a Joker origin movie (strike one) that doesn’t feature Batman (strike two), and is from the director of The Hangover and Due Date (movies that I find funny, but strike three). Add in the fact that it seems to be more influenced by early Martin Scorsese films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy than anything from the Clown Prince of Crime’s myriad comic book appearances, and I was starting to get a feeling of confusion over what the point of even calling this film “Joker” was . With the storm of controversy and furor surrounding the film’s release, including winning the Golden Lion at Cannes and increased police presence at showings (plus Todd Phillips’ increasingly stupid comments on the state of comedy), and it was getting to a point where I was looking forward to seeing the film less out excitement and curiosity, and more out of a feeling of “let’s just get this over with”. The end result has me falling somewhere squarely in the middle on Joker, a film that has many flaws, but an undeniably great lead performance in Joaquin Phoenix. Read the rest of this entry
The other night I watched ABC’s Marvel: Assembling A Universe special, and was taken aback at how far we’ve come since that fateful day on May 2nd, 2008 when Iron Man first hit theaters. Back then, The Avengers was nothing more than a rumor, a pipe dream that we comic book nerds wished would happen, but tempered our expectations because it would probably never happen, and most undoubtedly suck.