Todd Phillips's Joker, a movie I'm still not entirely certain exists, is only a month or so away from being released. With that, we've now been given the final (and biggest) trailer yet for the movie today, showcasing a truly gritty, 1981-set origin story for Batman and Gotham's greatest nemesis. Will this movie be ridiculous? Without a doubt. Will it be good? Maybe! Does it matter? Only you can decide.
The Joker has been done and re-done again and again in the Batman movies/TV shows/comics, with Phillips's version looking like a much more psychological deep-dive than any other backstory for the character that has come before. The world that turns Arthur Fleck (played here by the esteemed Joaquin Phoenix) embittered and insane looks truly grim, if also... a little heavy-handed. He's snapped at for playing with a kid on the bus, his therapist fucking hates him, and Robert fucking DeNiro is making fun of him on TV. It's enough to drive anyone nuts. Thusly, on goes the clown paint (or mask) and chaos comes to Gotham once again.
I'm not so sure about any of this, especially in the hands of Phillips (The Hangover, The Hangover 2, The Hangover 3). What do he and Phoenix have to give to a character that's already, frankly, overexposed? What can the brilliant Phoenix wring out of himself to make this the decisive version of the icon after Heath Ledger managed to transcend the genre's awards lockout and pick up an Oscar for his interpretation in 2009?
At the very least, this movie will seemingly force Jared Leto out of any more "twisted" turns as the guy, so maybe I should be thankful for small mercies.
Joker premieres at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, and will be in theaters on October 4.
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Originally Appeared on GQ