Katie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Todd Phillips is trying to tell you that he's not trying to tell you anything. He snickers and nods behind the camera of his attempt at the movie version of "We Live In A Society", where female characters are props and violence isn't justified, but rather are excuses for a wimpy, poorly written character. Todd Phillips and his awareness of his apparent "unawareness" is why Joker fails.
An audience can make excuses for a filmmaker for as long as possible, but nothing can change the final product a director puts out. Causing scared moviegoers in theaters to look at emergency exits, the writers of Joker use guns, mental health, and a mass-shooting scared people to make its audience say, "Wow, this Todd Phillips guy is really onto something!". The bad part is, as an audience, we are expected to view this movie in a different light than most of its kind, and take away something morally. The way Todd Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver write their cocky, analytical incel tale begs its audience to notice it. Too bad the joke is on them when their movie says absolutely nothing about the content it produces, and somehow leaves more themes and meaning in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.
The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about Joker is not that it doesn't use its asked questions and themes to its advantage, but rather that it answers them idiotically and with no backbone or drive. Instead, Phillips calls it a day by giving us pretty images with pretty colors and uses every Frank Sinatra song ever made to make you believe he knows what he's doing. In reality, his final product has no plot, no flow, no buildup to its "grand finale", and no use of the interesting characters it introduces us to (Zazie Beetz in particular). The film goes back and forth on what it wants its views to take away from it, and it's emotionally and mentally exhausting.
Todd Phillips knew exactly what he was making when this movie came out in theaters, and his poor excuse for a comic book adaptation gone art house is the reason I cringe when I see an R-Rating on a big studio movie. This film can pretend it's not trying to be deep or critical, but the final product says it all. Joker screams "PLEASE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!!!". And we all did.