First Joker Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix Is Here To Freak You Out

DC comics contains some seriously iconic characters, beloved by generations of fans on the page and screen. As such, the DC live-action universe has a ton of hype around it, as moviegoers delight in seeing their favorites in theaters. Warner Bros.' massive franchise is on the upswing right now, with the massive success of Aquaman and anticipation for Shazam! But there's also some decidedly darker projects coming down the pipeline, chief of which being Todd Phillips' Joker movie.

Joker will provide an origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime, and will be disconnected from the greater DCEU. Todd Phillips assembled an impressive cast, and now the first peak into the project has finally arrived. Check it out below.

Does anyone else have chills? Todd Phillips has promised a comic book movie unlike anything we've seen before in the genre, and this first trailer certainly hammers that home. Now let's break down exactly what we're being shown.

The Joker trailer opens on Joaquin Phoenix's protagonist Arthur Fleck during his time at Arkham Asylum. Except, the mental health facility is called Arkham State Hospital in this version of the story. His character is a mentally ill man struggling in Gotham City, and watching as both the iconic setting and his own mental health deteriorate in front of him. And at some point, he's going to break and transform into the titular villain.

This first footage establishes the tone Todd Phillips' project will have, which is decidedly pulled back compared to other comic book adaptations. The movie was made on a modest $55 million, and it will be more dialogue driven and dramatic than full of superpowered action sequences and over the top costumes. Instead, audiences will follow as Joker gives birth to an over the top character, in a far more realistic world.

Arthur Fleck might not be robbing a bank or battling The Bat, but there's plenty of iconic Joker moments in film's first trailer. The birth of his iconic laugh can be seen, and it'll even get Arthur in trouble in the subway. He's also seen with the strange chuckle in a comedy club, presumably one that he plays as a failed comic. Joaquin Phoenix's character wears a variety of hats throughout the trailer, trying to scrape by and take care of his mother (Frances Conroy) in the process.

Robert De Niro makes a brief appearance in the Joker trailer, as Todd Phillips shows off his impressive cast. De Niro is playing a talk show host in the origin story, although it's unclear how he connects with Arthur's descent into madness. The clips show the character transforming little by little, eventually becoming the chaotic and joyful figure we know and love. And it looks like it's going to be a wild and creepy run to the finish line.

Joker will arrive in theaters on October 4th, just in time for Halloween. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.