A doozy of a first trailer has arrived for Joker, an upcoming DC film starring Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary comic book villain.
Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy, Old School, War Dogs) is clearly taking the character away from the “superhero movie” vein here, going the dark psychological drama route like something akin to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Indeed, the parallels between the two films are obvious, as Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck spirals into madness, pushed further by a crime-ridden city and cold society, as was Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle. De Niro, by the way, also stars here.
The trailer is great, showing off a moody, pitch-black character study with what looks like an all-in performance from Phoenix. This is said to be a one-off piece, not connected to the overall DC movie universe that’s been unfolding with the likes of Wonder Woman and Superman. If all goes well, we could have something special and different, perhaps a winning change of pace like Logan was from the X-Men franchise.
Joker, also starring Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brian Tyree Henry, Marc Maron, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Shea Whigham, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge and Josh Pais, releases in Australia on October 3 and in the US on October 4.
“Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.