This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
SeparateWay’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I'm reminded very much of Christine (2016) after watching Joker. A story about a news reporter who can't make genuine connections with people, wants to achieve happiness and success without putting in the time or effort to do so, and generally feels like the world is against her. Her response to this is to shoot herself live on the news. Witnessing a mentally ill character who unfortunately didn't receive the help and attention they needed do something terrible is more compelling than Joker because even though it possesses the same story beats, the character is defined by a tragic backstory, the need to pontificate why he is the way he is, and essentially is boiled down to an angry man with a gun who is no different from any other person on the edge of sanity.
There's a difference between a character who falls from grace despite having a support system versus a character who is a product of the dysfunctional society and parenting that shaped them. The Joker has always felt like a vain, and chaotically confident villain whereas this version felt like an angry man with a gun who just happened to find themselves in a DC movie. It especially doesn't help when the main character summarizes the entire film in a thesis statement at the end when he's speaking to Robert De Niro.
To quote Jenny Nicholson, "A scene of a man dancing doesn't automatically become poignant just because you slow it down and put spooky violins over it. Especially when you do it more than once."