The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating life in theaters, full of peaks and valleys. Despite the success of Wonder Woman, the DCEU seemed in jeopardy after the poor reception of Batman v Superman and Justice League. But Warner Bros. seems to have pivoted away from serialized storytelling and ensemble projects, instead allowing filmmakers to work on a project unencumbered by crossovers.
Perhaps the biggest example of this is Todd Phillips' Joker, which will give the Clown Prince of Crime an origin story. The upcoming spinoff will be disconnected from the rest of the DCEU, and will star Joaquin Phoenix as the title character instead of Jared Leto. Phillips recently debuted the film's first poster, while also revealing that a trailer is (finally) coming shortly. Check it out.
Does anyone else have the chills? The Joker has always been a beloved and scary aspect of Batman lore, and this first Joker poster shows what an intimate look we'll get at the villain. And the teaser trailer is coming in just one day.
The above Joker poster has the title character largely absent, with this painted face taking up only the last quarter of the space. But it's a powerful image, that teases the emotionality and violence we'll be privy to when the film arrives in theaters this coming October. Joaquin Phoenix is shown in full makeup, although it looks like he's got some blood smeared on his face as well. There are tears in the characters' eyes, while his makeup keeps a grin painted on his face. That's what the tagline references, saying "Put on a happy face."
Joker will follow the title character, and watch as he eventually starts a life of chaos and destruction as the Clown Prince of Crime. But Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck won't start off as a violent anarchist. Instead, he'll be a failing standup comic, and a clown. Audiences will watch as he descends into madness, and eventually becomes the villain we know and love. The project will also reportedly focus quite a bit on Arthur's mental illness, explaining how he ends up becoming Batman's biggest foe.
The entire concept of a Joker origin story is somewhat counterintuitive, as part of the character's appeal is his mysterious background. Just look at Heath Ledger's characterization in The Dark Knight. His scars had a different story every time he told it, and his mysterious unknown only makes him more terrified and unhinged. As such, Joker will be in stark juxtaposition to that version, as the audience is privy to the psychological and emotional traumas that result in the title character's birth.
Todd Phillips has assembled an impressive cast to join Joaquin Phoenix in this unique take on a comic book movie. Robert De Niro has a role, as well as GLOW's Marc Maron and Deadpool 2 standout Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy. The movie will also be connected to the Batman lore by including Thomas Wayne as a major character.
Joker will arrive in theaters on October 4th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.