jokerPhoto courtesy of Warner Bros

Opinion| The Joker Proves to Be No Joke

Film differs from original comic

 

Aaron Smith
Contributing Reporter
asmith27@uab.edu
Aaron

 

Everyone seems to praise and love Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the joker. They even say that his performance may be superior to that of Heath Ledger.

 

To compare Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix, who is better? Honestly, it can feel like making a comparison is a mistake because the way the two actors play the character and the way the character was written for the two films is almost entirely different, and it really depends more on what you might be looking for. 

 

In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger fills a supporting role and functions as the film’s antagonist. In Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is our leading man. If you want a character study giving a realistic portrayal of a man living with mental illness, then the winner is Joaquin Phoenix. If you want the nemesis of Batman and who somewhat represents the comics, then the winner is Heath Ledger.

 

While it is set in the late 70sor early 80s, it doesn’t feel like a movie from that time period, it feels like a movie that came out in 2019.I could argue that this is a good thing since at the time, people living with mental disorders had much bigger problems, and the film does address this.

 

Many people will be disappointed that Batman really isn’t in this film. Overall, as a comic book fan who knows Batman and the Joker from the comics, this film does feel like it could move in that direction, but it is very far removed from it. Really, it feels like you could change the names of all the DC comics characters, and it wouldn’t change anything plot-wise.

 

Though outside of deviations from the comics there are other problems. I admire the dark tone since it is still technically a comic book movie, but I don’t feel like it needed to be quite as dark as it was.

 

There are some problems with the plot and characters. Outside of Arthur, there aren’t any other characters that seem very interesting. And the way they act doesn’t seem very believable at times either. That and the plot seems like it was made to fit around Arthur.

 

Overall,the film has many double-edged swords. If you want a good representation of Batman and Joker this is horrible place to look

 

If you’re a comic book fan you might be disappointed by the deviations the film takes from the source material. Still while it is debatable whether it could be called better, it is certainly different from any other film you will find in the comic book and superhero genre.

 

 And while I really didn’t want to see an origin story for the Joker, I will say I do think it was very well done. So, it definitely makes for a memorable film, and a beautifully handled character study. 

 

 

 

 

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