JOKER: Not a superhero movie, nor a supervillain. It’s a Human movie.

I watched it for the first time on 4th October and I wasn’t sure about how it felt. All it felt was strange. I did not want to say anything about it as I saw contradictory reviews from different persons. And I was also not sure if the movie really was what I thought it was or it was just my emotional preference towards such an iconic character. The next day I watched The Killing Joke (again) and the following day I watched the Dark Knight (again). Then yesterday I watched Joker for the second time.

To put it to the simplest of words, Joker is a Cinematic Masterpiece. However, there is a “but”. It’s not a movie for everyone. Everyone would not be able to digest its intensity because people have not seen anything like this in decades. It’s the “Taxi Driver” of the 21stcentury. In an era when movies are re-released only to topple another movie, when it’s all about taking the box office with a storm, Joker walks in a much different path. A path of artistic insanity. It’s psychologically dreadful, emotionally befuddling and morally questionable.

People who think it’s DCEU’s reply to MCU are not going to enjoy it because there is no action, no CGI. People who think it will be as exciting as The Dark Night are not going to enjoy it, because there are no such major plot twists. There’s no Batman. There’s no Harley Quinn. It’s not a superhero movie. It’s not even a supervillain movie. As Todd clarified, it’s a character study. It’s about what makes Arthur Fleck become the Joker. And by the time the movie reaches its end, he turns into The Clown Prince of Chaos.

It’s simple. It’s plain. Yet strikes you in the most subtle way possible and strikes hard enough to leave bruises in your mind. The cinematography is as top-notch as the direction. And you should watch it in theater at least for the sake of its original score. The music composition intensifies the meaning of the situations and gets under your skin. Hildur Guðnadóttir, who just won an EMMY for her music composition for Chernobyl at least deserves an Oscar nomination for her artistic composition for Joker.

Don’t relate it to any of the previous versions of Joker, you will love it. It is an independent standalone character study on the person who eventually turns out to be Joker. It Belongs to a different timeline. And it’s okay to have an alternate version. You can exemplify this with “Elseworlds”. (Elseworlds is the publication imprint for American comic books produced by DC Comics for stories that took place outside the DC Universe canon. The Gotham by Gaslight graphic novel, featuring Batman, is considered to be the first official Elseworldsstory.)

It’s been almost 80 years since the character was originated in 1940 and nobody, not even Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson, the comic book writers who created the character, has taken a blatant shot at a definitive origin story of Joker. The closest we ever got to a Joker origin plot was a comic release of “Batman: The Killing Joke” in 1988 and later the animated adaptation of the same plot in 2016 (You must watch it if you haven’t yet). But even then, they intentionally appeased the claim by having Joker in “The Killing Joke” say, “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another … if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

It’s quite easy to play with such a pre-cooked lunatic character because it gives you the freedom to do a lot of crazy things and people love crazy things, it sells. But to portray what makes a man reach such level of lunacy is a different take. It’s a way much more difficult task. Todd Phillips took the ballsy attempt that nobody has taken before and he portrayed it to absolute perfection!

Apart from all the brilliant actors who played the character on screen, I personally wanted to see Willem Dafoe playing the role for at least once in the lifetime. But after watching Joaquin Phoenix on the role, it will be hard to imagine someone else as Joker for quite a long time. Joaquin was good, everybody will say that. And you most probably know it already even before going to watch the movie. But how good he was! He was “knowing-already-he-was-good-doesn’t-save-you-from-the-shock” kind of good. Something you got to see to believe it. Todd Phillips’ Joker was made for Joaquin. After his performances in movies like “Gladiator”,” Walk the line”, “The Master” and “Her”, an Oscar is long due to him. And he’s most likely to finally bag one this time. Joaquin’s show off of acting skills in Joker is one of the bests of all time and surely the best in the 21stcentury.

In all the stories or books or movies you have come across so far, whenever there is a character at the point of ultimate breakdown, something emerges to save it either in the form of hope or love or compassion or at least vengeance. But what would happen if there’d been nothing to save it! You look at Arthur Fleck and it subconsciously makes you plead that something saves him before he loses his sanity and goes bizarre. Todd’s Joker clarifies why revenge is never a thing for Joker. Who you take revenge from when everybody surrounding you is the reason, one way or another? Joaquin’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck is going to be remembered for a lifetime. It’s so intense that it makes you feel sorry for being a part of this society. It subconsciously makes your mind justify his murders for fun. And the next minute it makes you question your own sanity.

Joaquin lived the character. He has his own unique laughter of Joker. A burst of laughter that’s almost painful. And the last Joker smile that he makes standing on top of the taxi is mind-boggling.

To play this role, Joaquin had to come with a lot of guts as the world already had their Joker (Heath Ledger). To climb this colossal mountain of expectations, he had to fit in that legendary shoes. And Joaquin not just did fit in those shoes, he walked in it, danced in it and ran in it so far he eventually surpassed the landmark of Heath. Yes, he did!

A socially neglected loner, struggling stand-up comedian, disregarded by society, predominantly suffering from “Pseudobulbar Affect”, stricken by the reality baffling blows one after another, finally loses it and goes bonkers. Keeps reminding me of the Joker from The Killing Joke saying to Batman, “Let me ask you something! What does it matter if you send me back to the asylum if it doesn’t matter to me? I have proven my point. Gordon has been driven mad. I’ve demonstrated there’s no difference between me and everyone else. All it takes is one bad day. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day!”

Joker is probably only the second movie based on DC characters that feel truly like DC, after 2009’s “Watchmen” by Zack Snyder. Such a pity that both the movies are outside of DCEU.

Arthur struggles to establish his existence in society, slowly drowns in his own misery and pain and then dies. But what he leaves behind is a cocoon of insanity that grows up to be a caterpillar after the subway incident and later turns into a butterfly on Murray’s show.

You have probably read a lot of books which you could visualize in your mind. Quite the contrary, Joker is a movie that feels a lot like reading a book. There’s a lot going on but hardly any saying. You can read a lot from Joaquin’s expressions and postures and visualize in your mind a lunatic stuck inside him, stomping him from the inside, impatiently waiting to burst out of his skins. And everyone surrounding him just acts as catalysts to that process.

The bathroom dance scene after the subway incident is one of the most darkly poetic and artistically intense scenes ever made, yet one of the most beautiful too. This scene is a miracle! Just like the movie itself is.