Review: ‘Joker’ Delivers a Villain That Gotham Deserves

‘Joker’ does the unthinkable by giving us a standalone Batman film that more than holds its own.

There has been so much intrigue about this film ever since it was announced that DC, in an effort to kind of branch away from their horrendous film offerings thus far (minus Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Man of Steel, with hindsight), would be looking into alternative ways to bring some of their characters to the big screen while yet keeping them separate from their main cinematic universe, so that they wouldn’t muddy those waters even more. And in a unique twist, they decided to go against the grain here and make a film about Batman’s most popular arch-nemesis, if not the most popular nemesis in all of comic land. The Joker.

Now it’s not really a surprise on why they decided to go with the Joker, with him being almost as popular as Batman at times. But everyone was questioning and wondering how DC could pull this off since there are so many variations of the character in film already. Especially with Heath Ledger’s epic Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight barely being 8 years old. And Jared Leto’s DC’s cinematic counterpart being barely 5 years old himself.

And that’s one of the reasons why this film is so great is that they pulled it off! They actually pulled it off to the point where you wouldn’t even know that Joker was a Batman character if you weren’t already familiar with the mythos.

Another brilliant thing about this movie is that the filmmakers turned Gotham City into a character of its own.  Gotham is known to be a downtrodden place. That’s what it’s known for and Batman’s quest to clean it up. We may not get Batman in this film (other than a pubescent Bruce Wayne appearance) but we get this city and all of its infamous glory.

Throughout the film, it felt like Gotham kept attacking Arthur Fleck. Kept attacking him over and over again to the point where Fleck felt the need to fight back which ultimately finishes off his evolution into him becoming the Joker.  It was evidenced from the start that Gotham was a dirty place. Too dirty for Fleck to fit in so he created the change within himself so that he could become one with the city, which goes hand in hand, although on the opposite spectrum for when Bruce Wayne makes his transformation to become one with the city as Batman.

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