There has been a lot of buzz about Warner Bros.' upcoming Joker film in the past few weeks. While a lot of that buzz has centered around how the Todd Phillips-directed, Joaquin Phoenix-starring film fits into a larger conversation about violence -- particularly mass shootings -- in our society and current cultural climate, there have also been conversations about the quality of the film. Now, just a few days ahead of the film's theatrical release, Rotten Tomatoes has given Joker a Certified Fresh status.
The movie review-aggregation website took to Twitter on Wednesday to share the news, noting that at the time of the announcement, Joker was sitting at 79% on the Tomatometer with 161 reviews logged for the film. You can check out the official tweet below.
Since that initial tweet, however, Joker's Tomatometer has slipped a bit, dropping down to 74% at the time of this article's publication with a total of 209 reviews logged. That number is significant. In order to be Certified Fresh, films have to have a score of at least 75% or higher with at least 80 critics reviewing it, five of which have to be "Top Critics". Once Certified Fresh, a film retains the seal and designation until the score drops below 70%. With reviews still coming in for Joker, it seems possible that could happen with this film.
While most of the reviews of Joker tend to agree that Phoenix's performance is top-notch, the reviews that are negative are scathingly so, with those negative reviews focusing on the film's grim tone and lack of depth.
"In a year of mass culture that gave us HBO's excellent Chernobyl, Joker can claim the grimmest depiction of a meltdown," Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips wrote.
"Joker is resoundingly one-note throughout the majority of its running time, Phillips mistaking 'unrelentingly grim' for 'profound' which just renders the film punishingly dull," Tribune News Service's Katie Walsh wrote.
That said, not all reviews of the film have been harsh. ComicBook.com's own Brandon Davis had high praise for the film.
"There has never been a movie like this in the genre," he wrote. "The conversation has long been whether or not a comic book movie can top The Dark Knight as the renowned "best" in genre. Like The Dark Knight, Joker transcends being simply a film based on any superheroes or villains. It becomes a piece of art loaded with raw beats and stirs up internal and external conversations for its audience."
Fans will get to decide for themselves if Joker is a masterpiece or a grim failure soon. Joker opens in theaters on Friday, October 4.