-->

– by Nick Doll

Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column where uber-geek Nick Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever else he wants), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! This issue is our latest “Breaking Geek Discussion” with input from LRM contributors Cam and Kyle. 

Most of us at LRM haven’t been crazy about the Joker origin film from Todd Phillips, starring Joaquin Phoenix. As comics fans as well as fans of The Dark Knight, we recognize the less you know about Joker’s origin, the more effective the character is. BUT… that test footage we were given last Friday, as well as pictures and video we have seen since then, has created a new enthusiasm for the film at LRM… or has it? Cam, Kyle, and I discuss, rating the Joker’s new look, and if we are more or less enthusiastic on the film.

Most of us rated it on a scale of 1-10… It’s my fault, apparently I didn’t get everything Cam wrote by the deadline due to technical difficulties. But, Kyle and I wrote plenty, I assure you.

Thoughts On Joker’s New Look!

Doll: I LOVE the new Joker look for this project that I absolutely HATED… until we received that video from Todd Phillips last Friday.

Wow. This is the most original thing DC has tried since hiring Christopher Nolan to direct Batman Begins, and his eventual take on Joker. Nolan made Batman feel real for the first time ever. Hell, one could say he made “superheroes” feel real for the first time (though Batman and his villains have no superpowers) with an incredibly bold take that payed homage to the darker Batman we saw in the comics in the ‘80s, using inspirations like Batman: Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween.

This new image/video tells me DC is actually trying their own thing again. They’re no longer copying Marvel (completely) and are throwing out the comics, which normally frustrates me, but looks mighty refreshing after the rest of the films in the DCEU (or Worlds of DC). Sure, Jared Leto looked fairly original… and an odd/misguided take on the Joker, but it really just fed into the austetic of what DC was trying — and failing at — at the time.

I am excited that DC has shaken up the Joker’s look so much with the extra clown make-up, while still being terrifying and reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s make-up job.

I give the look a 10 out of 10! I love it!

Cam: Regarding the aesthetics and the ‘look’ of the movie I’m sitting at around a 7 out of 10. Initially when I saw the look of Heath Ledger’s Joker I was blown away and immediately on board. Whereas I was the total opposite when I first saw the look of Jared Leto’s Joker; without seeing him perform I was already not happy with the look they went for. As said I am somewhere in between with Phoenix’s version of Joker. There’s nothing that immediately turns me off, but at the same time I’m not sure I truly like this very traditional clown approach as opposed to the more classic design. DC have constantly evolved the look of Joker and that’s necessary to separate the roles, but it can also be hit and miss. For me Ledger’s design is the gold standard and this one does fall short of that. However, if the movie works, I won’t be too concerned about how Phoenix looks.

Kyle: Let me start by saying I am not a big DC fan. I’m not a hater in the sense I want DC to fail in sales and movies, but their properties don’t speak to me and their recent movies have been atrocious in my mind. That being said, I really want DC/WB to succeed because I like good stories no matter who it’s about.

It’s been a whirlwind of news since the solo Joker movie was announced and it’s perhaps the fastest moving comic book movie ever. We’ve gone from announcement to casting to principal photography all in the last year. On top of that we got our first look at Phoenix in his Joker makeup in a very cool video, and shortly thereafter we got a look at him in costume, on set, and terrorizing a subway station. The look is very different than any joker in the past, and reactions have been mixed. I am actually intrigued by the look and I wonder if it’s how he looks at the beginning of his transformation or the end. I like that WB is taking a bold approach in this, more bold than the Leto look which I think was just dumb, and think they may play on the horror edge of things given the more traditional clown makeup. Clowns are creepy. I also really appreciate the throwback costume which reminds me of 1966 Batman: The Movie and Cesar Romero’s run as the Joker. After thinking about this collaborative piece overnight I have gone from thinking this look as a 6.5 out of 10 to a solid 8. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

New Outlook On The Project Overall

Kyle: As for the story, I am less optimistic. We actually do not know a lot other than it will draw some inspiration from the Killing Joke and focuses on crime. I also think it’s wholly unnecessary to have a Joker origin film. I think it’s as bad an idea to not have Batman in it as having Venom with no Wall Crawler. I also don’t like that the Joker is so much older. If they did want to do a Batman/Joker sequel, it’ll be hard to reconcile ages and time between origin and interaction. Not impossible, but I think it could hurt the story. I do hope they add a horror element to it. I know “crime” is the big story, but having the Joker be more deranged, and in his creepy clown makeup, can make for some scary moments. I’ll need to see a trailer to be more certain of how I feel, but right now I’m thinking of a 6 out of 10 score. I hope I’m wrong in a good way.

Cam: “Footage” not found. 

Doll: I was at a 0 out of 10 before this image. Now that I know they are really going off the rails with the look, I more look forward to the story being as weird as possible. I never needed or wanted a Joker origin film, but I’d rather see it be wacky and completely original — with elements of Killing Joke — but with more of that King of Comedy feel. After this bold picture, I give my outlook on the film as a 6 out of 10, because I still need to see more to be truly excited, though for the first time, I’m not completely against this movie. Hopefully it is original and fun… and R rated.


How do you feel about Joker’s new look? Love it? Hate it? Did it change your enthusiasm for the film? Let’s discuss!