Screenings With Migs: Joker (Spoiler Free)

What do you do when the city you live in is becoming explosively chaotic at the same time your mental stability is rapidly declining? You become Joker of course!

This past Tuesday night I attended an early screening of Joker, and I can’t say I was blown away by what I saw. Even though Joker is one of my favorites among the DC Universe Rogues, I wasn’t jumping for joy when I saw the trailer the first time. I was interested without being overly intrigued. Although I didn’t have that “WOW” feeling once the credits started rolling, there were aspects of the film that I appreciated. Joaquin Phoenix gives a stand-out performance as Arthur Fleck, the man that would eventually become the titled character. I read about his dedication to becoming the Joker, and how Phoenix submersed himself into the role. He didn’t study Joker material from the comics or even look at other actors who previously played the character. Instead he read up about serial killers and political assassins in order to get himself into another mindset. He put his body through a rough time as well. He lost a lot of weight in order to have that emaciated look for his character, and that took a toll on him physically and mentally. It’s crazy to even think about starving yourself for a role! I was also impressed with the setting and overall cinematography. The movie presents a sordid view of Gotham City, which is nothing new to Batman fans, but it was bold and eye popping. Some scenes even felt art house! This movie was shot in New York City, so it was fun to see some familiar locations. I’ve been asked is this movie just like Taxi Driver. I watched Taxi Driver this past Sunday because I hadn’t seen it in a while, and I was seeing other film critics make the comparison between it and Joker, but I wouldn’t say it was exactly the same. Some elements are shared between the films, but Todd Phillips (director and screenplay co-writer of Joker) said he was inspired by multiple Scorsese films and other crime dramas. I was encouraged to do a comparison of Joker and The King of Comedy, which is a Scorsese film I haven’t watched yet, so that will happen soon. For the comic book fans out there…this movie is not The Killing Joke. Phillips used a few bits and pieces of storyline from that novel, but the screenplay is not a direct adaptation. Joker is presented as a standalone re-imagined origin tale, so if you are going to watch it’s better to go in with an open mind. It’s like how Robin Hood and King Arthur have had different big screen takes over the years. The screening I went to was in IMAX, but I don’t recommend spending the extra money for premium format unless you are hardcore marking out to see this film. If you have a theater subscription service then of course use it, however watching Joker in regular format is not an injustice to the eyes. I took 3 other friends with me to the screening, and it was funny because we all felt the same about the film being “okay”. Other people in the theater did cheer. It wasn’t Endgame level cheers, but a good amount of people really really liked the movie. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts, so if you are reading this and you do plan on seeing Joker, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram (search for Movies With Migs) and tell me how you liked or didn’t like the movie.

Check out my live video review here:

Migs Rodriguez


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