It’s no Joke, “Joker” is Bland

Bradley Hare, Centurion Staff

Well, I always was more of a Riddler fan.
It’s almost impossible to ignore the controversy this film sparked. From allegedly urging depressed men to rise up and to cause violence, to the theaters hiring police officers for added security.
The punchline is that this is all for a movie that is just forgettable.
“Joker” revolves around Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire living on a day by day basis. From being beaten on the job to his therapy sessions being stopped once the city ran out of money, life is
terrible for him.
After being beaten down by three workers for Thomas Wayne, Fleck shoots them down and flees. This in turn creates a movement in the process that leads to the lower class rioting against the rich. From there, events get worse and worse as Fleck has to choose to continue being a killer clown or to keep living a normal life.
Judging by the title of this film, the outcome is more or less obvious.
Let’s get the major elephant out of the room; the politics surrounding it. Critics said the movie was daring to make because the Joker was made sympathetic.
Why I do have my problems with the idea of the Joker being pitiable, those problems don’t revolve around people committing acts of violence being encouraged by the movie. While I do see the potential for why some may think the movie promotes violence. In the end, if the movie inspires someone to create heinous acts, it’s a problem in their mind, not the film’s fault. You don’t blame the Kool-Aid man for encouraging people to run through brick walls after all.
No, my problem is about the basic idea itself. “Joker” takes a similar approach to other films that center around a villain’s origin story. It’t the same type of deal that Maleficent had in her own movie, “Maleficent”, or that the Wicked Witch of the West in the broadway musical,“Wicked”; they weren’t always bad guys, and they deserve some sympathy.
Not only has this idea been done to death nowadays, but this film offers nothing new to the table. In fact, you can cut out about half of the film and be left with the exact same plot. I would even dare to say that three-fourths of the film is nothing but a pity party for Fleck.
While the idea of the Joker having some humanity in him is interesting. We see too much Arthur Fleck and little of the actual Joker.
That isn’t to say this film is shot badly; it’s actually rather well done. The camera angles are all impressive, the setting of the film and music gives it a vintage feel, and nothing in the environment feels out of place. Heck, when he’s allowed to fully give into the madness, Joaquinn Phoenix makes for an amazing Joker, one driven by madness and hatred for society.
The problem for this, and the biggest problem for the film, is that it just feels boring. Given that it’s an origin story for the Joker, Batman’s biggest adversary, you can easily tell where the story is going by the first frame.
While it may be true that the journey is better than the destination, when so much of the movie is dedicated to trying to make us feel pity for him, it’s hard to justify the run time and not think that it could be better trimmed down.
DC had a good thing going when they choose to make the superhero comedy “Shazam.” I’m sad they fell back on old habits.
Director, Todd Phillips claimed that he made the film a drama instead of a comedy to avoid angering people who are too sensitive, it ends up doing something worse; boring everyone instead.
Overall Score: 3/10