PORTLAND, Ore. — Joaquin Phoenix is taking up the role of the Joker in the new film debuting Fall 2019 titled "Joker". It dropped its first full-length trailer Wednesday.
In the trailer, Phoenix is seen as a man down on his luck with (shocker) mommy issues. That seems to be a favorite trope pulled from the real lives of infamous serial killers and used to give unstable men a reason to seem unhinged.
In the opening scene Arthur, as he is named in the film, is apparently already in therapy and making visits to the Gotham mental hospital. He cares for his mother and works as a clown-clad sign spinner.
Scene after scene shows Arthur being absolutely smacked down by life, by bullies, and sort of unraveling. A heartbreaking moment shows him in clown make up, crying, and trying to force a smile.
It's hard to feel bad for a man you know is going to turn into an actual mass murderer but here we are.
It looks like Phoenix has tapped into that weird social dissonance that Heath Ledger was able to embody in the same character as part of the Dark Knight trilogy.
And boy, did he get that Joker laugh down?
Depicting the Joker as a man with mental illness is a must, as every iteration of the character, including the original, seemed to be some form of sociopath. However, it gets dicey when we see Arthur's childlike handwriting and his seemingly inappropriate adoration for his mother. Will the Joker will be the cunning trickster madman he was meant to be if he is portrayed as developmentally disabled? Is that a good call? That may not be the path the film is taking but it is an assumption that could be made based off of the two-minute 24-second trailer.
The most unbelievable part of this entire trailer was that we were meant to believe that a woman as beautiful as Zazie Beetz, who is set to play a character named Sophie Dumond, is making eyes at Phoenix who is made to look pretty haggard.
Here's to hoping Sophie plays more of a role than denying Arthur's love and making him even more unstable because it's 2019 and we're not here for blaming women for the issues of men.
This movie looks a chilling study of a well-loved and equally well-hated character. It's yet to be determined where Phoenix's Joker will land.
"Joker" will premiere on October 4.