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April 05, 2019 2 min read

"Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?"

If that question was presented to me, Arthur's new therapist, I would probably respond to Warner Bros.' new Taxi Driver-flavored proto-Joker with the following observation:

"Well, Arthur, I would say it's also getting crazier in here (**points to head**)."

So, you just saw the latest teaser trailer for JOKER, the upcoming WB film taking place in the newly malleable and relatively continuity-free DC film universe. What did you think? Glorious, right? 

Wait. You didn't see it? Well, it's been out for almost 3 days so I just assumed this was old news. Anyway, fine, you didn't see it. Watch it now, and we'll catch up later (and "later" as in, "right after you watch it so keep scrolling").


Watched it? Liked it? Good. Now let's talk.

Starring exemplary method actor Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER tells the story of almost naively happy Arthur Fleck. He loves his mother. He dresses like a clown. He's genuinely invested in the art of comedy for the sake of making people...happy. (**GASP!**)

But you know how people are. And you know how people are in Gotham City. They're mean. They're opportunistic. And they'll offer you a helping hand only to take yours, surgically remove it, hollow it out like a leathery glove, and wear it as part of their ghastly, "organically sourced" serial killer costume.

So Arthur, and his happiness, never stood a chance.

JOKER is shot with great reverence to director Michael Scorsese -- specifically, a Scorsese film starring Robert-freakin'-De Niro as some emotionally broken anti-hero employing hyper-violence to account for some great personal, or societal, injustice. 

I mean, just look at each and every scene in this exquisite teaser trailer. Go ahead -- pause it. Now look. Now pause it again. Are you seeing what I'm seeing? That's right -- each and every scene is positively breathtaking in its soft, concrete grays and grimy, sedated burgundy.

This is the story of a man who wanted to share smiles, balloons, and rainbows with a mostly dour metropolis, but Gotham gave him cruelty, kicks to the face, and more often than not, a succession of cracked ribs.

Although different -- and therefore, refreshing -- this is indeed the origin story (or perhaps one of them depending on who you ask) of Batman's dependable, extravagantly detached foil. Floundering amidst the colorless, glass-wrapped megaliths of Gotham City -- home of the beneficent Wayne family -- he slowly loses his childlike wonder at the end of every punch and on the point of every steel-tipped boot.

And when the city finishes shaping, carving, stomping, and scissor-kicking this once hopeful individual through acts of bitter, wooden violence, the completed work resumes its merrymaking, but finds blissful reverie in far deadlier props and more explosive punchlines.

JOKER, or Taxi Driver Goes to Gotham, or We Put Joaquin Phoenix In a Clown Suit and Filmed People Beating the Sh*t Out of Him for Six Hours, hits theaters on October 4th, 2019. Prepare to feel genuinely sorry for an incessantly cackling, clown-themed mass murder.