WARNING: Don't read this post or its comments section until you have seen Joker.
At long last, Todd Phillips' Joker has landed in theaters. It arrives accompanied by a great whirlwind of online chatter, much of which has been devoted to Joaquin Phoenix's stellar performance as Arthur Fleck (the man who would...become Joker), its potential to impact the superhero genre going forward, and the film's undeniably gorgeous cinematography - for a movie filled with so much unpleasantness, it's pretty goddamn beautiful.
There has, of course, also been a fair amount of hand-wringing over the film's brutality (which I honestly didn't think was that bad), its capacity to incite violence (theaters across the country have added security to prevent shootings), and the sometimes questionable comments director Todd Phillips has made to the press over the past few weeks (see also; the death of comedy at the hands of "woke culture"), but let's set all of the above aside for a moment and instead talk spoilers. Joker's got a few whoppers, like the idea that Arthur Fleck's crime spree ultimately leads to the death of Bruce Wayne's parents, or the mid-movie fakeout suggesting Thomas Wayne might be the Joker's father.
There is also the matter of its ending to consider: Joker builds to a moment wherein Arthur Fleck - now fully invested in his new persona as the Clown Prince of Crime - shoots Robert De Niro in the head on live television (there's also a nod to a certain Frank Miller Dark Knight comic in that sequence, which we're sure you caught). He's then arrested, then escapes, then institutionalized. We've been told time and time again that this movie is meant to function as a standalone character study, not the foundation for a new franchise built around Phoenix's Joker, but are you buying that? If Joker somehow went on to make a billion dollars worldwide, do you think WB wouldn't try to keep this party going? Would any amount of money convince Phoenix to return? I'm not so sure.
Also: Is Joker a good movie? Phoenix is certainly excellent, possibly even nomination-worthy, and on a technical level it's very well crafted (I'll take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Hildur Gudnadóttir's score), but on the whole - how'd you feel about it? Is this the Joker movie you wanted, or would you have preferred something a bit different, perhaps something a little less beholden to the films that quite obviously inspired it? Responses to Phillips' film are all over the damn map, so we're very curious to hear where the BMD readership landed on it. Sound off below, and please remember to be chill with one another: at the end of the day, it's only a movie.