You’ve seen several actors portray Batman’s arch-nemesis in live-action. The first time was in 1966 on the Adam West-led Batman, TV show. We then got Jack Nicholson in 1989, Heath Ledger in 2008, and Jared Leto in 2016. All of these roles have their own, distinct look and feel from one another. They’ve all had varying degrees of success with comic book fans. Now we’re getting a new depiction with Joaquin Pheonix this October.
My immediate reaction after watching the trailer was not so much, “Oh man! I have to see this!” It was a much more subtle feeling. I felt sad. You’re seeing this guy who seems to mean well, taking care of his mom, and as the trailer progresses, you’re seeing his life start to fall apart. The connection to the character was what moved this to my must-see list.
I assume you know the character of the Joker. He’s crazy. He’ll kill anyone at any time for anything. Yet here we’re seeing a different take. He may have a mental disorder of some kind, but it doesn’t really seem to take form in this particular trailer until he’s been pushed too far. He gets hit in the face with a sign, he gets beat up on a train, and I have a pretty good feeling that something happens to his mom and that pushes him over the edge. Depending on your mental state, how could it not?
At one point, he’s visiting Arkham State Hospital and I thought to myself, “Is this a regular trip for himself or is he visiting someone there?” Regardless of the reason, there’s a sort of sympathy for him throughout the trailer. Again, potentially getting a peek behind the curtain of who the Joker was is very interesting.
I’m eager to see the movie this October just from this trailer. I’d really like to hear your thoughts. Visit geekthispodcast.com for all of the social media links and to leave a comment.
It’s hard not to compare each version of the Joker. As I said at the top of the show, they’ve all had their distinct style and portrayal.
While so many people will hands-down say that Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight is the best, I have to say my favorite is Jack Nicholson. That may very well be solely based on nostalgia and how much I watched that movie growing up. Still, it’s the one that stands out the most for me. And that isn’t to say Heath’s Joker was bad. He was great and really captured a depiction we hadn’t seen to that point. He wasn’t running around being crazy for crazy’s sake. He was methodical in what he did.
So far I like Joaquin Pheonix’s Joker. There’s something sad and heartbreaking about what we see in the trailer. We haven’t seen that before and that’s appealing. I’m also a fan of Joaquin. When he’s on screen, he has my attention and makes me believe that he is whom he says he is.
And one more thing: according to some sources online, there’s a definite tie between Joker and two Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Did I mention that Scorsese co-produced Joker and Robert DeNiro – who starred in Taxi Driver and King of Comedy – has a role in the movie as well? I’m going to say those are coincidences. Looks like I have some homework to do.