Joker official poster released on 19 July 2019
Joker- The teaser trailer review, origin story & comic book connection- Joker 2019 film DC
DC films have strictly got nothing to do with how Marvel builds its ‘MCU’. The ‘Joker’ teaser trailer which is 145 seconds long is evidence to that. It looks gorgeous; it has a touch of noir to it and may end up becoming a cult film. Afterall, ‘Joker’ the villain is a cult character.
Watch the trailer here:
Todd Phillips, whose Hangover Part II was an attempt on his part to make a comedy film that looked like a blockbuster is playing a similar game with the most famous fictional bad guy of all time. He has gone on to create an old school Hollywood character, something on the lines of Scorcese’s ‘Taxi Driver meets Gotham City’. This film is reportedly inspired by the ‘Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy’ both were Martin Scorsese films and he is also a producer in this one.
I don’t know if this is the right way for Warner Bros. to go, considering they have failed miserably when they tried to ape the MCU and create their own DCEU. Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ worked well, but then WB’s attempt at tying together that universe with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and now Shazam hasn’t really worked. On their own though Wonder Woman and Aquaman are exceptionally well made movies though there is an interconnected universe. Warner Bros. chose to abandon the MCU style in favour of a more standalone origin stories back in 2017 and the latest releases though interwoven have relied less on the cinematic universe concept.
Now, coming back to the Joker, the ‘clown-prince of Gotham’, there are so many things to talk about in that trailer. Let’s start with the most important question – the origin story? The Joker debuted in 1940’s Batman No. 1, his origin story remained under wraps for more than a decade, only coming to light in 1951’s Detective Comics No. 168, in the story “The Man Behind the Red Hood!”
In that story, written by Joker creator Bill Finger, the Joker clearly lays out how he came to be: He was, he explains, “a lab worker, until I decided to steal $1,000,000 and retire!” The robbery, which he carried out under the guise of super villain the Red Hood, was successful; he stole the money from a playing card company and swam to freedom through what is casually described as “the pool of chemical wastes.” It wasn’t the best plan.
“The chemical vapour — it turned my hair green, my lips rouge-red, my skin chalk-white! I look like an evil clown! What a joke on me!” he exclaims, upon seeing his reflection for the first time. In narration, he continues, “I realized my new face could terrify people! And because the playing card company made my new face, I named myself after the card with the face of a clown — the Joker!”
To some extent, this version of events has remained comic book canon ever since, although details get blurry with successive reboots of the Batman mythology. 1988’s Batman: The Killing Joke suggests that the Joker was actually a former lab assistant who had quit to become a comedian before being convinced to turn to crime out of desperation; after seeing what the chemicals had done to him, he suffered a psychotic break, rather than imagining a new criminal identity for himself. The movie somewhat seems to follow this storyline as the trailer would suggest.
Perhaps most famously, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has a Joker who actively lies about his origin, giving multiple contradictory versions to different people. That in itself is a comic book callback; in The Killing Joke, the Joker explains during a monologue, “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”
This teaser though gives a glimpse into the origin of the Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix, doesn’t go into the usual clichés we associate with the famous villain (no Batman, no murder sprees, no poisonous gas devices). That in itself is a promising sign, even though the movie is sure to be R-rated and not so kid friendly like the MCU movies. DC seems to have moved into a separate genre of its own with the R-rated ‘Birds of Prey’ coming out in February 2020. That will be the origin story of Joker’s long time love interest Harley Quinn.
Also, just to explain a few questions that might have popped during the trailer-like Brett Cullen? He is not playing anything associated with his politician character from The Dark Knight Rises. He plays Thomas Wayne, and I believe that his brief inclusion is the only reference to the Batman mythos in this otherwise standalone teaser. So, it would be wise not to expect any Batman scenes yet in this
Joker story, but remember that kid who Joaquin Phoenix was trying to put a smile on in the trailer? The one behind the big gates, I have a theory that it could be a young Bruce Wayne at the Wayne estates. But, that’s just a theory, even though the comic books have shown that Joker has met with Bruce Wayne when he was a kid.
Batman or not, I will be very interested in watching this origin story when the ‘Joker’ drops in the theatres on October 4th 2019.