When I walked out of the theater after watching Eyes Wide Shut, I was buzzing with energy. It was almost a disassociative experience, where I had been taken out of my body for a period of time and thrust back into it. I’m a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, and Eyes was the only one of his I got to see in the theater.
The second time I had that out-of-body experience was when I saw Joker this Saturday. It’s a divisive movie, so I was debating whether to wait for it to come out on Netflix or somesuch. However, Joaquin Phoenix will elevate a mediocre movie into a watchable one every time, so I bought that ticket. I’m quite glad I didn’t wait.
I loved this Joker incarnation. When I watched Arthur Fleck’s problems overwhelm him, I saw myself reflected in him and was transported outside myself at the same time. There are those who gave it negative reviews, saying it wasn’t really about anything. Honestly, I feel kinda sorry for these people that compare the tropes of preceding movies and declare, “It was unoriginal!” All stories are mash-ups of the stories that came before. That’s how story-telling works.
Some people aren’t going to identify with Arthur Fleck, and that’s all good. I’m not going to say they’re wrong. Not everyone has to like what I like, but I feel that the negative reviews surrounding Joker have been mostly undeserved. Once time has pulled this movie away from the mire that has surrounded it, it’ll take its place among one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.
I have been wrong before though.
Alas, that is a tale for another time.
This Week’s Question
What did you think of Joker?
We’d love to hear from you at the reading group.