Frankly, everything that has to be said about the movie has been said on the scoreboard.
While Joker might easily be the best shot DC film since The Dark Knight, it also highlights the necessity of superhero films being, well, about the hero.
The character’s roots and drive take a very different direction because being the protagonist of the film necessitates it. After all, as much as people love the Joker as a villain, his origin story has always been either intentionally murky, or straight up unnecessary–a line beautifully walked between Batman (1989) and, 19 years later, in The Dark Knight.
I prefer to see Joker as a movie about a man whose descent into madness just happens to reflect the aesthetics of a character from a comic book. Short of recurring mentions of occurring in Gotham, and a background plot involving a Thomas Wayne, there is nothing specifically tied to the Batman myth.
Which is great. But it also makes you wonder, why call this Joker even? But, hell, at least it’s more of a Joker movie than Man of Steel was a Superman movie.
As much as I liked the movie and would score its elements well, the reality remains that there is nothing quite outstanding about it, save for the concept. Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck, as well as the Joker, was amazing, but nothing that wasn’t already expected of him.
Todd Phillips’ directing was certainly a pleasant surprise given he’s best remembered for directing The Hangover. Three times. I’d still nitpick at certain directorial choices, like the necessity to clarify a late movie revelation… which ends on an ambiguous note anyways.