In this decade of comic book movies and DC and Marvel-based stories, it was only a matter of time before someone told Joker’s story. The character, after all, is one for the ages, having been played by such luminaries as Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. For those looking to take comic book films to the Oscars, Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn in The Dark Knight is a template proving it can be done. The current Joker ratings for Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Arthur Fleck before he becomes a villain suggest that the gamble will pay off.
Batman movies, in general, do well with critics. The original 1989 film with Michael Keaton scored a 72% fresh way back when, and the follow-up, Batman Returns, scored a 79%. Warner Brothers’ The Dark Knight Trilogy scored an impressive hat trick, starting with 84% for Batman Begins. That was followed by a 94% fresh rating for The Dark Knight and finally an 87% fresh rating for The Dark Knight Rises. Batman v Superman (28%) and the follow-up Justice League (40%) fared poorly. But Joker suggests a return to form after the disastrous appearance in Suicide Squad (27%). Joker rings in with 79% fresh rating with 159 reviews in.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says to ignore the negative hype.
Xan Brooks of The Guardian credits the Scorsese influence as the film’s secret weapon.
And David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter says Phoenix is the reason to see the film.
When it comes to box office numbers, comic book movies tend to pack them in. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, for instance, is currently on a hot streak with all three of the MCU entries for 2019 opening domestically with over $100 million on the first weekend. Joker, being a non-CGI take on the comic book world, may not quite reach such highs, but it’s still expected to perform admirably.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
Joker opens nationwide on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
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