Todd Phillips’ Joker is over a month away from its release, but a lucky few members of the press attended the film’s first screening. The film debuted at the Venice International Film Festival this weekend and early reactions for the drama are more than stellar. Oscar buzz has begun to surround the film’s star Joaquin Phoenix, and it looks like moviegoers can expect a dark and gritty tale.
Joker is separate from the DC extended universe (DCEU) and no crossover should be expected between this film and the characters and events within the DCEU. Phoenix’s Joker is a completely different character than Jared Leto’s Clown Prince that starred in Suicide Squad. And judging by the glowing first reactions to the film on Twitter, it’s obvious that Joker and the DCEU aren’t connected, as DCEU films have notoriously been slammed by critics for years.
“There will be before Joker. And there will be after Joker. I don’t know if the world is ready for this movie. Or maybe it is? It is GNARLY. It is crazy. It is audacious. It doesn’t hold back. Wow. I can’t believe it exists. But it does. And it’s coming,” Alex Billington of First Showing wrote.
“I can’t quite believe how good Joker is. It’s a masterpiece. Funny, dark, beautiful, full of rage, and really f***king cool. Joaquin Phoenix is masterful and every shot is sublime,” documentarian James Jones tweeted.
Bragging on Phoenix’s performance was a common theme among the reviews, while many critics opted for the word “dark” when describing the overall feel and tone of the film. Another review paid homage to Heath Ledger’s Joker from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Ledger’s portrayal of the titular villain is hailed as one of the best performances in movie history, and it looks like Phoenix did just as great a job.
International Film Critique said Ledger “redefined” the Joker in cinema, and that Phoenix cemented the character as “one of the greatest, darkest villains in cinematic history.”
Of course, all the reviews were spoiler-free. Many are wondering about the direction the film is going to take, focusing on how it will end. It’s known that the movie is the background story of the Joker and how he became the villain he is today, but where the movie decides to cut off remains to be seen. There have been no rumors about Bruce Wayne or Batman making an appearance in the movie, but it’s possible the character could be alluded to. Director Todd Phillips might have opted to ignore Gotham’s savior altogether.
Joker releases on October 4.