Put on a happy face: a new trailer for Todd Phillips’ Joker has dropped.
The film, which will see Joaquin Phoenix take on the Crown Prince of Crime, is set to be a dark, twisted look into the classic Batman foe’s origins.
Directed by Phillips, the man behind The Hangover trilogy and War Dogs, this isn’t one for the kids – it’s rated R in the US for ‘strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images’.
Check out the trailer below:
The official synopsis for Joker is:
Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen.
The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
The film is part of Warner Bros’ revamped outlook on DC movies: they’re basically ditching the MCU-esque focus on a larger narrative and concentrating on making solid, individual films.
The role has seen many a famous face over the years: Jack Nicholson’s portrayal in Tim Burton’s Batman is chaotically and blackly comic, while Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning turn is, for my money, the greatest performance the world has ever seen.
Check out the first trailer below:
Joker is set to kick off its Oscar trail at the Venice Film Festival, with the event’s artistic director Alberto Barbera telling Variety: ‘It’s the most surprising film we’ve got this year… this one’s going straight to the Oscars, even though it’s gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope.’
The prospect of a solo Joker movie is an intriguing one: the character’s literary history has purposely avoided pinning down a specific origin.
As a villain, his greatest strength is his presence as an agent of chaos. As Michael Caine’s Alfred says in The Dark Knight: ‘Some men just want to watch the world burn.’
One particularly high-profile origin story – which Phillips appears to have taken some inspiration from – comes from The Killing Joke, a globally-acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore.
In that version, a failed stand up comedian who was pressured into robbing a chemical plant by the mob takes a tumble into acid when confronted by Batman – and therefore, is transformed.
Although Phillips says his vision is singular, straying away from the character’s comicbook history.
In an interview with Empire, Phillips said:
We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.
Starring alongside Phoenix is Robert De Niro – in a grin-inducing nod to Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy – and Zazie Beetz.
There’s no word on the UK BBFC rating yet, but expect it to be a 15 (if not higher). From what we’ve seen so far, it looks to be a tragedy, a comedy, and a triumph.
Joker hits cinemas on October 4.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.