Joker ★★★½

There are aspects of this I liked quite a bit. It’s pretty, it’s well-directed, the production design is exceptional, and I think Joaquin Phoenix knocks it out of the park. It’s a little thing, but I appreciate that the movie has the conviction to have him kill his mom. There’s a version of this movie where that doesn’t happen and I’m glad they made this one instead. It's kind of a dumb decision, but it is nice to see this movie actually commit to something, even if it's only for a second. Also I’m a sucker for over the shoulder, shallow depth of field shots, and there were lots of those in here. It’s not half bad to look at!

Here are some things I did not like

The “can you call me joker” thing. Ugh god.

The Wayne murder was completely unnecessary

I loved the score for Chernobyl but the composer’s work just did not vibe with me here. I get that it’s supposed to be oppressive and upsetting, but I just found it annoying

The script doesn’t really give us a ton to work with, and I think is carried by the actors, rather than the other way around.

The dwarf gag can go fuck itself

What the hell is that Bruce Wayne thing nope uh no not a fan stop

Thought a lot about Ebert's review of Battlefield Earth. "The director has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why."

Glenn Fleshler is punching so far below his weight with these people

More broadly -
I don’t necessarily think Todd Phillips has the chops he thinks he does, and maybe some of my enjoyment is more relief for it not steering into full twisted intel mode, but again, this movie doesn’t make a lot of choices and I’m glad that it made that one. The reason this seems like the faintest possible praise is because it is.

At the end of the day, I just don’t think this movie is interesting enough to incite all the controversy it did. It’s an alright movie, and I’m glad I watched it, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s an important one, and really don't see what could change my mind.