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Before it ever opened, Joker was the most talked about movies on the way. It was a topic of controversy, and to be honest, fear. Nobody was quite sure what to expect from the film. While the majority of critical reviews have been positive, there have also been those who thought the movie was terrible. Now that the movie has opened to the general public, we now know what the larger audience thinks, and it falls more or less in line with the critical response.
While Joker isn't the first comic book movie to attempt a realistic portrayal of its character, it may be the one that has gone the furthest in that direction. There are no superpowers or utility belts here. Instead this is a character study of a man as he spirals downward. The lack of comic book sensibilities makes the darkness of Joaquin Phoenix's character all the more real, and while the audience largely feels it's done well, that's not the same thing as saying anything about Joker is "enjoyable."
It's a refrain that we hear often from some corners of pop culture that most comic book movies are not "dark and gritty" enough. There are those that prefer, as an example, a Batman that's a bit more Christopher Nolan or Tim Burton than Joel Schumacher. Clearly, Joker bears more resemblance to Nolan's Batman than anything Adam West ever did, but as one fan suggests, this isn't so much a dark comic book movie as it is a story of depression.
However, while the response to Joker does seem to be largely positive, there are, as always, those who don't agree. While the negative response, just based on Twitter volume, appears to be in the minority, there are those who didn't just dislike the film, but outright hated it.
There have been comparisons made between Joker and films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, and while those comparisons certainly make sense when it comes to discussing plot and themes, not everybody who saw Joker believes that it belongs in the same conversation when it comes to quality.
These two extremes are basically what you find right now when it comes to the social media response to Joker. There aren't many who simply have a middle of the road feeling about the movie. Although, I did find one.
It should be pointed out that these are all people who went to see some of the earliest possible screenings of Joker. Basically everybody who goes to any movie in the theater is going to see something that they are at least hoping to enjoy, and anybody who goes on opening night is certainly somebody with high expectations that they will like what they see. As such, it will probably be some time before we get a really broad view of what the world thinks of Joker.
If you've seen Joker, come join our conversation on the film's ending and let us know what you think.