Young and old, gather ’round. The party man Prince warned us about returns with a new (and final) trailer, and it holds no punches regarding the nightmare landscape that spawned him. Joker looks to be a sad as it is mean kinda movie, and we’re upping our therapy sessions to prepare us for the October 4th release date. Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are not interested in your comic book nostalgia or Batman merchandise. They’re making a descent into madness, and there is nary a flying rodent in sight … or is there? Click and watch, and be on the lookout for the Arthurian legend that connects Joker to Zack Snyder‘s caped crusader.
Oof. Did Todd Phillips just have us empathizing with the most maniacal villain in comic book land? Yarp. I think he did. The first trailer sold us on the visuals and dragged us into a depressive gutter, but this second trailer taps into the rage of the protagonist. Vengeance wears a smile. As a means of double-checking our emotions, let’s dig into this final trailer and go shot by shot with one of the most anticipated films of the year.
Gotham City, the pit. A train cuts through the city carrying citizens from one miserable end to the other. Buildings stacked like Legos with no room to breathe and nowhere to flee. This is a recognizable hive of scum and villainy; not the goth fantasyland of Tim Burton or the grand metropolitan amalgam of Christopher Nolan. We could live here. We do live here.
Trapped aboard public transit, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) passes the time entertaining the quizzical kid in front of him. Stern faced, the boy is unimpressed. Cracking a smile is a challenge in the bowels of Gotham.
Arthur is a clown of a basic skill set. His toolbox is not very large, but what’s within are proven staples of the trade.
Peekaboo is a classic because it works.
As proven by the boy’s frown altered upside down.
But the adults of Gotham carry no trust for those that surround them. A man playing peekaboo with a child cannot possibly be a loveable jokester. The mother scorns Arthur, “Can you please stop bothering my kid?” The city kills trust. The city kills joy. Arthur utters a “Sorry” as an apology and returns his face to the blank middle distance of the drab world around him.
As a social worker (Sharon Washington) begins to explain her departure from his life, Arthur gives his laugh a good practice. As a clown, the laugh is essential to the character. If you can’t get that right, then your entire persona falls apart. His cackle is getting there, but it still needs some work.
Arthur glares at the social worker across from him. “You don’t listen, do you,” he says. Their arrangement feels mandatory and possibly state-sanctioned. What brought these two together? Nothing good.