This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Max’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
So I’m kinda split on this film as a whole. The more I think about it the more I don’t like it, but I’m trying to convince myself that I like it cause I’ve been looking forward to it for months.
To start off with the positives, Phoenix is really, really good. That’s kinda my main positive from this. The way he plays Arthur as quite a small and damaged man is impressive, even more so compared with how he transforms as Joker, becoming more confident, and even appearing more healthy than he was when he was medicated. The discussion that could be had about Arthur being a seemingly healthier and happier individual as Joker is extremely interesting. Some of the direction is solid, with some decent shots throughout and the score is great. The unreliable narrator aspect of the film is cool, but predictable, like I kinda knew they’d use that before I even saw the film. It feels me like a reference to ‘The Killing Joke’ comic. The uncertainty as to which parts of the film did and did not really happen will definitely fuel arguments on reddit for years to come.
I do however have a lot of issues with the film. The point of view that Arthur has towards the world are extremely cynical and negative. This is no surprise and of no issue to me, he is the Joker after all. My issue falls with the fact that the film itself feels as if it holds these viewpoints itself, never making much of a point to disagree with its protagonist, even more so as Arthur essentially succeeds in his goals and is the hero of his own story. This same idea is something I do love in other films however, such as Nightcrawler, so maybe this opinion will change on rewatches.
I feel like the film generally handles its themes of class, mental health and how society deals with these okay at best, but really drops the ball pretty heavily when Arthur essentially explains the social themes to Murray in an argument that feels like a discount version of Jokers conversation with Two Face in ‘The Dark Knight’ about ‘the plan’. Like thanks Todd, I didn’t realise the film was discussing society and its flaws until you explained it to me. You are obviously very smart, being the man responsible for the hangover trilogy.
Also, why the fuck is Thomas Wayne such a cunt in this? Yknow, Thomas Wayne, renowned good guy with Gotham’s well-being at heart. Also props to Todd Philips for killing the Wayne’s again, that’s something that we’re totally not bored of at this point. The second I saw the cinema with Zorro on the bill I found myself knowing exactly what was about to happen, thinking ‘oh for fuck sake, this again’. I think Hell for me might just be being made to watch remakes of the Wayne’s and Uncle Ben dying over and over.
Also I’m kinda sick of people acting as if this film is super unique when Logan has been out for years, handling dark and depressing themes in a comic book film, whilst actually offering something of substance.
Juggalo has bad week, so kills people with little reason, accidentally resulting in an uprising that he had no interest in starting. Uprising then crowds around said Juggalo as he stands on a police car for his subjects, like some sort of incel Jesus.