Brandy Porter’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’m trying my best to articulate exactly how I feel about this movie because a curse-filled rant doesn’t even begin to convey the bewilderment and anger I felt at watching this film.
First, the garbage strike motif was very heavy handed. I enjoy subtle, powerful settings, I like it when movies sneak up on me with a motif or theme or narrative. This movie lacks all of that, and fails in multiple ways to have any nuance. The garbage strike is an example of how artless this movie can be.
Another way this movie fails is the lack of ethical backbone. I have no idea what the purpose is of this story. I’m not saying I have to walk away from this with some new perspective on life, but I have to understand the motives. Am I to sympathize with the Joker? Mock him? Want him institutionalized? How do I feel about rich people? They didn’t seem to be any better or worse than the disenfranchised, so who’s morally superior? And don’t feed me some line about ambiguity...this movie doesn’t have what it takes to be ambiguous. Case in point: his phantom girlfriend which was unnecessary and obvious. The lack of basic framework made me feel like I was watching a stranger’s wedding video. Stuff is happening that seems important, but I’m not emotionally involved.
Third, this doesn’t do the Batman story any favors. Not only am I weary of seeing Bruce’s parents get gunned down, but Batman would instantly wipe the floor with this candy-ass Joker. He literally poses no threat, and doesn’t have the cunning, high-functioning psychosis that makes the Joker be able to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Batman. Also, what makes Batman endearing as a superhero is that his father was a genuinely nice guy — philanthropist, kind, charming. Thomas Wayne in this film is mildly irritating by comparison.
I think actual movie buffs would say that this movie is supposed to make me uncomfortable with its portrayal of a man’s descent into madness, but all I saw was a guy with an Iggy Pop-esque physique lashing out at a world that is cartoonish in its violence and senseless acts.
My husband said this film functions like Taxi Driver and I’m like nope, because that film actually made me feel sorry for a human while this film made me feel nothing. I think this movie thinks it’s like Taxi Driver but falls short because it has no idea what it’s supposed to do. What’s worse, apparently they made this movie on a peanuts budget and it’s made like a billion dollars, so now they have the financial encouragement to make more of these films.