Warner Brothers has officially screened their upcoming Joker movie based on the DC Comics character. The film has received rave reviews, including a perfect score in ComicBook.com's official review.
"Joker is loaded with mystery on top of its numerous twists. By the time it ends, viewers will be left with several questions about the experience, some of which might be scarily directed at themselves," the review reads. "Phoenix's Arthur laughs his way through terrible scenarios. For this, the actor demands an Oscar nomination it might not be the only nod this DC Comics movie earns. The cinematography, score, and direction create something unlike anything before it - -and it’s terrifying, thrilling, and moving."
Speaking of that mystery, we're ready to help settle some of it by answering the biggest spoiler-free questions ahead of the film's release...
Are there any end credit scenes?— Max Long (@Max_Long13) September 2, 2019
Let's start at the end... is there a post-credits scene? Such a stamp has become a tradition with comic book movies, often teasing something to come in the future for the universe on screen or other characters who might be introduced down the line. However, Joker hardly acts as a comic book movie, focusing more on being a character study with impressive world building in its own right.
As a result, Joker did not have a post-credits scene during the pre-release screening.
There is always a chance a scene could be added further down the line with it being held as a means to preserve spoilers. Still, Joker does not seem to have any interest in becoming part of a larger universe or spawning any sequels, so such a move is unlikely.
LEDGER or PHOENIX 😏— Brad Lambert (@bradrlambert_) September 2, 2019
The most popular question I've gotten since seeing Joker has been which actor was better in the role between Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix. Ledger's iconic performance in 2008's The Dark Knight has gone down in cinematic history as one of the best and instantly became a staple for comic book movies going forward.
So, which actor is better as the Joker?
It's a question so difficult to answer that it's nearly impossible. The two portrayals are drastically different. Ledger's Joker was a maniac with a plan while Phoenix's is mentally ill and descending into madness. They're written and performed very differently. Phoenix's version is a scary reflection of real world issues while Ledger's reflects the character from comics a bit more.
Phoenix is given more time to develop the role which might give him an advantage, having an entire movie dedicated to his masterful performance while Ledgers was a supporting role acting opposite Christian Bale's Batman.
For now, we're going to have to leave this one up for debate, and see where audiences land after a couple of viewings of the intense thriller in October. One thing is for sure: the Oscar talk for Phoenix is warranted.
How many references to Gotham lore?— Ryan Wolfe (@RyanWolfe9) September 2, 2019
It's been made very clear that Joker is intended to exist in its own world, independent of any other heroes or villains established on the big screen. Still, it is not completely without its DC Comics ties.
"How many references to Gotham lore?" Ryan asked on Twitter.
As a means to keep things spoiler-free, we won't get into any specifics here, but there are certainly references to locations, moments, and characters fans of DC Comics are familiar with. Phoenix's Joker continuing into a future endeavor to face off with Batman would be tremendously exciting but it's not something anybody should be holding their breath to see.
any times did you find that the film slowed down? 1st act, 2nd act or 3rd act?!?— Derek de Castro (@twdecastro) September 2, 2019
Joker is a slow burn, prompting a perfect question -- "Any times did you find that the film slowed down?" Derek de Castro asks. "1st act, 2nd act, or 3rd act?"
The movie starts slowly. It does little to establish exactly what direction it is going to head. It takes a while for the character and those around him to be truly understood by the audience. By the time the movie is over, some of them still won't be understood, which seemed to be the movie's well-accomplished goal. Mystery is aplenty. Some moviegoers might love this, some moviegoers might get frustrated.
Back to the question, the movie starts slowly but the artistic cinematography and performance from Phoenix are enough to command the attention of the audience.
Debating on taking my 12 year old, not really okay with Nudity in an R movie, having said that I’d be okay otherwise. Anything that’d keep you from taking a 12 year old?— Daniel Lee (@Droncz87) September 2, 2019
"Debating taking my 12 year old," Daniel said of Joker. "Not really okay with Nudity in an R movie, having said that, I'd be okay otherwise. Anything that'd keep you from taking a 12 year old?"
Nudity wise, there isn't much of a problem in Joker. Still, there are plenty of other problems with bringing a kid to the movie. This is a decision for each parent to make but the movie features intimate, visceral violence along with intense themes of mental illness and its effects. The movie doesn't seem suitable for young audiences.
Is it of any good? And what makes this different from the other dceu movies?— Angelo Paras (@arparas46) September 2, 2019
"Is it any good?" Angelo Paras asked. "And what makes this different from the other DCEU movies?"
For the first one, this movie is better than good.
As for what makes this different from other DCEU movies -- it's the same thing that makes it different from all comic book films. The movie transcends being a comic book film. Yes, it is focused on telling the origin story (of sorts) for the most iconic comic book villain of all time. However, it transcends the genre with a raw sense of gritty realism. The look of the movie is realistic. The dialogue of the movie is understandable. The acting in the film raises the bar not just for comic book movies but for all cinema.
Sure, it fits the social media (and Deadpool 2 joke) stereotypes of being another dark DC Comics movie. That said, it crosses the line of darkness and becomes a twisted, thrilling, terrifying character study. Joker isn't scary because of loud noises and clowns jumping out of a corner. It's scary because of how real it seems and how it makes the audience feel.
Would you prefer more one-offs after seeing Joker?— Archit Gupta (@imarchit19) September 2, 2019
With Joker acting on its own, this is a somewhat bitter, mostly sweet win for DC Comics on the big screen -- because it's a one-time thing despite being so tremendous.
"Would you prefer more one-offs after seeing Joker?" Archit asks.
Yes. It's conflicting, as the desire to wish for all of the DC Comics characters to exist on screen together with potential for crossovers and event films has been driven into my mind. It would be epic to see Batman exist in this world and to see that world branch in Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and other territories. Regardless of opinions of recent DC Comics movies, Joker is superior to all of them -- which isn't a jab, it is superior to most movies in general from recent years.
But yes. One-off movies similar to the Elseworlds comics printed by DC can be where the characters really find their stride in movies. Kingdom Come, for example, could bring together a slew of DC Comics heroes for a one-time movie. Other individual stories can tell one-off tales and if they're of the quality of Joker, I'll absolutely buy a ticket.
What do you feel of Joker if seen from Box Office perspective???— 𝙎 𝙍 𝙆 ᴬᵀᴸᴱᴱ (@Insane_Suraj) September 2, 2019
The box office is a difficult one top predict for Joker -- it's a one-off, R-rated, thriller -- but it's based on an iconic character. It's going to sell tickets.
The word of mouth is going to boost this one. The name Joker will sell itself. Kids can't see it. So, where will it land? Look at previous movies from Martin Scorsese which came with an R-rating. Recently, The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street took in $291 million and $392 million worldwide, respectively. The difference here is those titles, though similarly violent and full of R-rated content, were independent titles. Joker is going to draw larger audiences, especially in its opening weekend.
Joker will certainly surpass those movies and, it's early, but the movie is unlike anything before it. It could be in the ballpark of doubling the box office of Leonardo DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort run.