Why Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ Just Might Work

I have been the loudest voice against this movie. I have said time and time again that Warner/DC should be focusing it’s efforts on building up their heroes along with villains, set in a modern setting where crossovers can happen, and that creating a Joker movie without Batman would be against the very identity of the character.

After seeing the trailer for the film last week I have to say-I may have to eat my words.

The Joker himself has said it himself, he exists because of the Batman. He is completed because of the Batman. If there were no Batman it would be no fun to do the things he does. They are both products of madness. They are both products of a corrupt and fucked up world. Where one chose to do evil the other chose to defend good. They cancel each other out. Heath Ledger’s Joker said it at the end of the Nolan film- Batman will never kill the Joker because that’s a line he cannot cross and the Joker will never kill Batman because he’s too damn fun!

When this film was announced I was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to do this character justice without his other half. The trailer has given me reason to believe they may have something worthwhile…

1: Reflections on Today:– Though the film will be set in the early 80’s, the trailer hints at things that are extremely relevant today. The thing that most caught my eye was Joker writing in his notebook, “the thing about having a mental illness is that people want you to act like you don’t have one.” This stigma of mental illness is still extremely relevant. I’m hoping this film will not only shed some light on the issue but will  be unapologetic in showing a person pushed too far into madness.

2: 1981 vs 1990s: As mentioned, my biggest complaint about this movie has been that it’s Joker without Batman. How could they do that?! Yet, we know that the film takes place in 1981 and it was also announced the Reeves’ Batman film will take place in the 90’s. At this point it is just speculation but I have a feeling that it will be set specifically in 1992, the year the iconic animated series premiered.

This would allow Phoenix to continue as the Joker should they wish to use him. Matt Reeves has confirmed that the movie will feature a few of the rogues so this leads me to believe that the Joker stands a good chance of making an appearance.

3: a Foundation for the Gotham to Come:  More than anything, it seems this film will relieve Reeves of a responsibility. He will not need to set-up and build a decaying Gotham. This film seems to already be introducing a Gotham sinking into the madness that Batman will eventually dedicate his life to save.

I am actually on-board for this approach. To see the hopeless city as the Joker rises could give more weight to the new Bruce Wayne’s journey in 2020.

Overall, I eat my words. I am going to give this film the chance it deserves. Warner/DC seems to be on a roll and I am excited to see what Todd Phillips will deliver.

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