Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Joker's Wrath!

For me, Joker, much like the most recent Batman trilogy, approached the material not as if it were a comic book movie, but rather that it was  merely a movie that drew upon literary material as a source, just as movies have done with novels forever and day. Comic book fans get disgruntled with movies not made just for them, those filled with the little details that all of us love to look for and giggle gleefully over when we find them. That's fun -- but not every film need follow that limiting model. Joker doesn't as far as I can tell. Sure the details are here, the characters are present, but shuffled up to make a complex and compelling movie.

Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal is stunning in its detail and sheer unrelenting force. He is almost literally in your face throughout this film and the power comes from the fact we cannot look away. I don't give  a monkey's behind how close to this or that earlier incarnation this Joker is, I just want the movie to hold together and work on its own merits. Joker does that in spades. His performance shimmers like a diamond, despite the fact the setting is the very essence of bleak. The heartbreak of the revelations in the story we know so well but learn more about and is felt by the moviegoer, who is clubbed with an emotional blast that only ever builds upon itself.

The Joker here is a dangerous and brutal man, but a man wanting only what we all want -- acceptance, respect and love. But he is denied those things and in fact learns that possibly he might be incapable of ever having these things, and the vengeance he wreaks on a world in which his true face is shunned is deadly and dark and never ending. Society could've have saved itself from the Joker's limitless wrath, but chose not to do so for reasons we see in our real world everyday. We just don't care enough.

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