Movie Review: Joker (2019)

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Summary: In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: “The Joker”.
So y’all, I have had some weird movie theater experiences and I’m starting to wonder if it’s me… lol. My friend and I saw this movie and towards the end, when Arthur is talking to someone, he starts laughing. I heard laughing but it sounded like it was coming from somewhere else, not the screen. But I ignored it, thinking it was the speakers or something. Then, I hear it again and I realize it’s coming from the guy sitting in the row before us. There was only maybe 20 of us in the theater, an entire row towards the front was taken, there this one guy, me and my friend and then two girls behind us. So, I thought maybe there was a special needs person with someone, and their friend was trying to calm them down or something because they were laughing loudly. I realized this person was by themselves. I tentatively lean back but then I saw smoke start rising from that row. I lean forward again and notice this guy has something in his hands that’s burning, not sure but it might have been a blunt or a cigarette, but I don’t know. So, I looked at my friend and said, “We need to leave,” and I hopped up and went for the door. I was already a little nervous because you never know with movies like this, but everything was fine up until this point. She has a delayed reaction but followed me and we finished the last two minutes at the stairs. The guy was by himself though. When the credits started to roll, we left lol and the two girls from behind us had got up as well when we did lol. We all started laughing and they said they heard the weird laughter and then saw us get up, so they got up to leave too lol. I DON’T KNOW MAN! But super weird. I did inform a worker about the guy, don’t know what happened after but man.
Pros:
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur. Honestly, he is really the shining light of this movie. He is so good and so disturbing that I do understand the “Oscar buzz” around his performance. His character is sad too. So, Arthur Fleck is a mentally ill, impoverished stand-up comedian, disregarded by society with a history of abuse. He works as a clown in a business that loans out clowns, so he can feel “part of society” and of course “bring smiles to people around him” but life just doesn’t want to work out for him. I get it my dude, I do. He must deal with teenage hooligans stealing his twirling signs, getting beat up by them, his unstable mother, teasing coworkers, a super extra boss and with his uncontrollable laughter, which makes people uncomfortable but it’s also clearly a pain for him. It’s just so much he must deal with that you really feel bad for him. Life is just crapping all over him. He begins to spiral into darkness and he unintentionally started a movement and it just happens without him for a while. Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal. He does a physical transformation and the way he moves in the movie is very deliberate and interesting and weird a lot of times. I like his dance moves lol. I think he portrays each layer of Arthur very well. The fake happiness he tried to have, the moments of sadness or the moments when it seems like he’s with other people, but he’s just imagined it. This movie is such a character study so it’s so interesting to watch him just exist. It’s uncomfortable in a lot of ways but it’s so good.
  • I think if you go into this movie thinking you’re going to see a familiar Joker you’ve seen in other comic book movies or adaptations, I think you’re going to be disappointed and you’re mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, you can see the connection with mentions of Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) and of course it’s in Gotham but don’t go into this movie thinking you’re getting a true or definitive backstory.
Supporting Characters. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Francis Conroy play a large part in Arthur’s life in different ways. They’re very much supporting characters so I did not want to go into each of them like I would with other films, but everyone does a great job in their role. They all play parts in Arthur’s downfall but in different ways. Some less than others.
A Character Study. This movie is very much a character study for Arthur Fleck. I don’t think it’s an “origin story” or any kind of grand film. It has a very small and contained feeling to it and it very much focuses on Arthur and what he goes through, the choices he makes and how it affects him and the people around him. I think it works and is interesting that way because I can’t imagine it working any other way, with this version of Joker.
Great Musical Score. The music is so well utilized in the film. I mean wow. Especially towards the end. It worked in indications of moments where he’s imagining things in his head, or when he’s about to do something crazy, or anything along those lines, it really worked. I was pretty caught up in the score quite a few times throughout the film.
Cons:
Rushed Plot Information. So, a big problem I had with the movie was the information dump we got in the last act of the movie. Arthur learns something from letters his mother wrote Thomas Wayne, they talk, he believes her, even though she clearly is unreliable with her own mental illnesses. He makes some questionable choices that continue to push him further down a path. Then, we find out more stuff about his mother that is just given to us in some quick flashbacks, some information read from files and it’s just a whole lot of unconfirmed and horrible stuff. Not to mention, it just feels like the movie gives it to you but does nothing with it. I didn’t like that we get a section of an information dump and then that’s it. It gets glossed over and I think that’s a problem. I feel like this stuff should have been introduced earlier on and been part of his story as well.
Political Aspect. I might be in the minority here among casual movie watchers but there was a lot of this movie that I just found super boring and cliché. The entire subplot that dealt with Thomas Wayne and the train incident and everything that was grouped with that, I found to be silly. Or at least heavy handed. I mean, I get it, and being that our main character turns out to be a villain, it’s not surprising that things go in his favor when it comes to political and world views, but it was happening and because he wasn’t involved or even interested in it, any time it was brought up, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes or wonder why the movie was even spending so much time trying to showcase it. It just felt like a paper-thin reason and I just couldn’t get with it.
A Better Ending. So, there is a part of the film where Arthur has access to a camera after he just did something horrible and said some crazy things on television. He grabs the camera and he start to speak, and the camera cuts out. I thought that was a great ending. I wish it ended right there because it leaves way more mystery and leaves the insanity there but nooo we had to get more political stuff. I don’t care about any of that. I understood the point, I knew what they were trying to do, I respect all of that. I just think, the movie would have benefited from being shorter and ending right when that camera cut out. Man, it would have been beautiful. Then the stuff with the news reporters, put it in the credits so we see the world has unraveled.
Overall, it’s hard to say where I stand with this one. I think Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic and the reason to see the movie. The supporting cast is good, and their characters have a lot of interesting relationships and connections to Arthur. The musical score is great and works alongside the movie well. If anything, this movie is a character study of a man who feels forgotten by society and decides to stop trying to be part of it. Now, I do think the movie has an issue with how it presents information, especially stuff that appears to be important but it’s unreliable and that didn’t work for me. I didn’t care for the political aspect, it felt unimportant and extra stuff I didn’t need. Then, as a personal preference, I wish the ending was at a different spot. It would have been perfect. I think the movie is okay. It’s worth the watch for Phoenix’s performance alone.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Joker yet? What are your thoughts on the film? Let me know in the comments below!
By the way, this is like the 25,000 time I have seen Bruce Wayne lose his parents.

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Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

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Summary: A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Will Arnett as Bruce Wayne / Batman. My Batman will always be Michael Keaton (even if he owns it as The Vulture), but Will Arnett does a great job with this character and it surprised me in The Lego Movie and its great still. We spend way more time with Batman than Bruce, but he’s arrogant, vain, a bit of an diot and mean. The things he says just shock people due to the absurdity but with the voice Arnett uses, you just have to laugh at it. I think he has a good grasp on this character, in this universe at least. This is a Batman that has fun. I’ve never seen Batman smile as much as he does in this movie lol.
  • Zach Galifianakis as The Joker. Of course way more toned down than how this character usually is, but while I never really thought The Joker was a “funny” person, he is in this movie. He has a sincere voice, which is so weird, and he’s so emotional because he doesn’t think Batman takes him seriously, or acknowledges him to be his great villain. It’s pretty funny and Galifianakis’ delivery with him helps because even though we know he’s evil, the voice just doesn’t make him intimidating at all. It just makes him feel like this little kid trying to scare his older brother who won’t give him attention any other way.
  • Michael Cera as Richard “Dick” Grayson / Robin. So Dick Grayson is like my favorite, I love him, he’s my favorite Robin, as Nightwing he is awesome and I do like his outings as Batman. So of course I know they’re poking fun at his original incarnation with the underwear (and no pants) for his costume. RIP! *sound effect* but he’s so earnest, happy-go-lucky, optimistic and looking for a family himself. There are times where he is annoying, which I know his character can be made annoying, he is a little kid, but I never disliked him (I might be biased though) and he’s a sweet kid. His acceptance of Batman, and his want to be involved is so sweet. Michael Cera has really good comedic timing, I don’t always find him funny, but he should do more voice acting because I thought he did really great in the movie.
  • Rosario Dawson as Commissioner Barbara Gordon / Batgirl. She’s no-nonsense, she takes over for her father and tries to be what Gotham needs, and even tries to appeal to Batman, to work together. She knows the importance of teamwork and tries to get Batman to understand that. Babs spends a lot of her time in this movie, trying to appeal to Batman. When she’s kicking butt though, it’s awesome. Plus, I like how she doesn’t fall to any of his “charm” or insults. Rosario Dawson has great delivery for this character, her voice has that sarcastic tone that you’re not sure if she’s serious or not, which I think fits this character.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth. The entire movie, I knew I knew this voice but I could not figure it out. At one point, I did think it was Ralph Fiennes but I wasn’t sure, I also think it’s funny that Lord Voldemort is in this movie but Ralph Fiennes is playing Alfred lol. But he’s Alfred, he’s the backbone for Bruce/Batman. He is family, his father, (even though Batman says some rude stuff to him about family) but he never gives up on him. That’s why Alfred will always be the MVP. Ralph Fiennes’ delivery is great, he kind of reminded me of J.A.R.V.I.S sometimes but that’s not a bad thing. His role is to keep Batman honest, but to always appeal to him too.
The Story. So the story is pretty basic. Batman is still the hero of Gotham, but The Joker feels like he’s not important in Batman’s life, so he basically comes up with a plan for ultimate revenge. So almost a scorned lover type of deal lol, and then you have Batman’s whole thing with family. We all know Bruce is scarred for life due to his parents dying (MARTHA!) which keeps him from admitting he can’t do everything on his own (Ya know, the Batfamily is legit huge lol) so Alfred tries to get him to move on and welcome people in his life but he refuses. So, these two stories collide and we have a big mixture of a great time while Batman tries to learn what it means to have a family. Plus, the Joker talking to him like they were together, makes for some funny dialogue.
The Humor. I think the first half is much stronger than the second half, that’s with the story and the humor. I laughed way more in the first half than I did the second, and I think that’s because one, the superhero genre, being as big as it is, needs a little fun poked at it, but at the same time, this movie isn’t trying to take itself too seriously. It knows what it is and I think helps some of the ridiculous bits of the film. Batman in his bat cave with Alfred was some great moments, or even when he first meets Barbara, and Dick’s introduction all that I quite enjoyed.
The Visuals/Effects. Just like in The Lego Movie, the visual effects really cool. I love how everything is a lego, the lava, the fire, the gun/laser shots, it’s all part of the lego family. It’s amazing how these animators are able to create this world with digital legos. It’s amazing to me and that deserves all of the praise.
Entertaining. I think more than anything, a person will have fun watching this movie. It’s super bright, and fast paced, most of the time, and it’s fun! I think even if you don’t like the story, it could be a fun ride and I think that’s what’s more important here for this movie is to have fun with the characters.
Cons:
The Message. It wants to talk about family, and learning how to not try to do everything on your own, something that Batman has to learn, and while I get that, it really hammers it in and I didn’t care about it because they kept trying to be like “Okay this is the message!” “Hey, did you know this is the message?” “Don’t forget this is the message” and I know it’s a kids movie but adults will watch and we’re not dumb and kids don’t need things hammered in like that either. Relax. We know it’s about family. Be more subtle. I mean Barbara spends a lot of the movie trying to appeal to Batman, I like her, but jeez, she’s like a poster telling you encouraging things and you just want to tell it to shut up.
The Heart. So, I liked The Lego Movie, I saw it way after everyone else did, but I quite enjoyed it and I liked what it was trying to do. I don’t think this is better than that movie, even though it seems like it’s trying to be, it’s not, and I don’t think movie quite captures the heart that the first one did. Maybe it has something to do with that whole message problem, from my first point but I think this movie lacks heart behind all of the humor.
The Humor. This is here because not all of the humor is funny. Sometimes it does that little thing where it pauses like where the laughter track would be and I’m like it’s not funny. It’s funny, but I think the first half is probably more funny than the last half. I think the first half is better in general.
Overall, I very much enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie. I think it’s really fun and a great ride. The characters are fun and great, the voice acting, I think really helps elevate the movie, you can tell the actors are having fun with their characters. I think the visuals and the effects deserve extreme praise, because it’s amazing seeing this world of LEGO come to life the way it does. The story is good, it’s a basic one, but it’s good and it’s unique in ways how this movie approaches that storyline. It’s also funny, I laughed quite a bit in the beginning. However, humor is subjective and the second half wasn’t nearly as funny as the first, nor did I think every joke landed, sometimes they felt really childish, while trying to sound super mature. I think the message is hammered over our heads, we know what you’re trying to say, you don’t have to tell us every five seconds, it’s sad when characters are kind of just there to constantly say “we’re a team!” “We have to work together!” I KNOW!!!!!!! I also think this movie tries to have heart and while it’s kind of there, it’s not enough to make the points it wants to make stick. But I still like the movie. It’s really fun.
Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Lego Batman Movie? What did you think about it? I mean, it did come out earlier in the year, I’m probably one of the few people who just now saw it lol.
Which one do you think is better: The LEGO Movie, or The LEGO Batman Movie?
Tell me your thoughts and picks in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more movie reviews!

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Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

I’m going to be real, I was really looking forward to this movie only for Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jared Leto (Joker) and to see what Viola Davis would do with Amanda Waller.
Pros:
Cast/Characters. I’m not going to name everyone but the people who stood out.
  • Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn). This was good casting and she owns this role. Considering how insane Harley is, Robbie does such a good job keeping her humorous, sexy, and out of her mind but self-aware. At the same time, there are times when she’s emotional or appears vulnerable and Robbie gives another side of Harley Quinn that’s not always shown. She also comes off like she’s the only one who enjoys doing what she does. Everyone may have had their reasons but she loves doing it. She’s unpredictable and Robbie portrays all of that (there’s a great flashback scene between her and Batman and a bunch of water). A lot of the humor in the film comes from her.
  • Will Smith (Floyd Lawton/Deadshot). I was curious to see how he’d do since he’s usually always playing a hero type and to be honest, he still plays that here. His character is probably the one with the most humanity out of the Squad, he falls easily into the “leader” just toeing the “hero” line. He’s given a backstory enough to the point that we know his character more than anyone else’s. He does well in playing someone who’s mean, awesome with a gun and who will knock you out if you piss him off. But he still makes that face where he looks like he’s about to cry lol.
  • Jared Leto (The Joker). I already love Jared Leto, so I tried to make sure I wasn’t just biased. It wasn’t enough to have a full judgement personally, but with his role (small, don’t expect a large role) I enjoyed him. You hardly see the tattoos which is what most people were upset about, he’s wearing clothes and the camera isn’t panned so much on him that you can see the “damaged” tattoo on his forehead. I like the fact that he was like a mob boss and that he irrevocably loved his girl. I can’t wait to see more.
  • Jay Hernandez (El Diablo). I wish there was more of him in this film. He has these really cool fire powers, he’s a metahuman, he was born with his power and before he used it to his advantage and now after being personally affected by it, he’s trying to change his ways. He was great in how he tries to remain in control of himself and how he refuses to get involved because he’s afraid of himself. When he does let loose, it’s pretty awesome.
  • Viola Davis (Amanda Waller). I love me some Viola Davis and Amanda Waller is ruthless and it reminds me of her character in How To Get Away With Murder just with a bit more darkness in her. She will do whatever it takes to reach her objective and the interesting thing I find about Davis, is that she doesn’t physically look intimidating but she puts all of that into her eyes and she does this little pursed smirk that makes you take a step back. So the fact that she comes off unsuspecting but then turns around and loads off some bullets… oh yeah.
The Chemistry/Camaraderie. It’s really easy to have an ensemble cast like this and focus only on a few characters and everyone else is just there… which this does happen and I’ll talk about that more later but overall, the team has some great chemistry with each other. This isn’t Smith and Robbie’s first movie together and they just have a natural companionship between them and Harley and Floyd are the main ones who gravitate towards each other. I’m not sure if it’s because he feels kinship in her, or because she’s so insane that he for some reason feels protective of her. I’d want to argue a bit of both. They all recognize that each has their own thing and they’re really good at it but they crack jokes at each other, exchange looks and understand each other. That part I think, is one of the better parts of the film.
The Soundtrack. Man, the music is awesome. The songs chosen to fit certain scenes, to introduce certain characters was handled so well that it becomes it’s own life instead of just being part of the movie. It is a soundtrack that I would listen to it on it’s own due to the fact that the songs were great choices and the pieces created for the action scenes, emotional scenes or more “somber” parts were also great. The song playing when the Squad is walking together towards the end was a great theme for the team itself.
Costumes. There’s not much to say being as no one is really wearing a “costume”… kind of but I liked everyone’s unique look. The time that had to go into developing Killer Croc’s look had to be long because he looked awesome! Watching him swim in the water… wow, the care in his appearance is obvious. Enchantress’s first appearance is definitely creepy, I liked the whole look she had going on when she’s all decrepit, dirty and looking like she’s disintegrating. It was a really interesting take on her look and I liked it. She has another look later that is a result of her obtaining something (trying not to spoil lol) which was fine but I preferred the other look. I liked a lot of the Joker’s mob boss outfits, business man like looks, same with Harley, I liked her outfit, yeah it was skimpy and her shorts could have been longer but she’s worn stuff like that in the comics.
Cons:
The Villain. Meh. The idea was nice, I guess, and the design behind the character was also really cool but I don’t particularly care for that character being the villain because their motivations were rocky at best. I mean I get it, it was definitely stated but it was stupid and cliche. Considering what the villain wanted, I think they could have done something else than the typical “beam of light” in the sky thing. Unfortunately, there are very few comic book movies with compelling and interesting villains so it’s not surprising really.
The story. This movie definitely seems to be more character driven than actual story driven because stuff is just happening and the characters are involved. Sure, the story is about this group of villains who are forced into working for the government, or they’ll die, and they have to work together. Yeah, I get that because that’s basic. However, while that’s fine, because that’s all it is, the movie just becomes flashy and action packed. It falls flat because when the team actually comes up to face the villain, the whole matchup seems mismatched. Why couldn’t this team fight something else? Or maybe it would have been fine if the script had a bit of fine tuning.
Other characters’ development. Now I mentioned the ones who were standouts, everyone was more or less good but like I said, it’s obvious that even in this ensemble cast, Will Smith’s character comes off as the lead, as well as Margot Robbie so it was hard to get the other characters interesting because outside of being curious about them, they’re not interesting. Katana was awesome in action but she doesn’t add anything, while Diablo was great, his backstory is rushed and condensed to him narrating it and a quick flashback, Rick Flagg is their “official leader” but outside of being kind of a plot device, he’s fine. I liked Boomerang because he was funny and seemed interesting but there’s nothing really there for him, same with Killer Croc, or why was Slipknot (or whoever Adam Beach’s character was) brought as well outside of “he can climb anything” because that’s lame. I know that in movies like this it’s hard when there isn’t films before to set up the characters but there needs to be a balance and there wasn’t one.
The Overall Look/Lighting/Editing/Transitions. These are together because the issues kind of go hand and hand.
Fortunately, this film isn’t washed out like Zack Synder’s DC films, because the colors are there however, during fight scenes, the lighting is really dark where it’s hard to see what’s going on. There are two major fight scenes and they both suffer from this. I think it’s easy to tell there is a lot cut from the theatrical release. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another BvS thing where the theatrical cut was mediocre but everyone says the Unlimited Edition is so much better because if I didn’t care much for the theatrical release, why in the world would I pay more money to buy what should have been the theatrical version? Some transitions were cut quick where it was almost jarring to go from that to that and it’s like what….? When it comes to the fighting, while some parts were really cool, it was mostly because the camera wasn’t moving or it was in slow motion that it was actually easy to see who was kicking butt and who was getting their butts kicked.
Overall, I enjoyed Suicide Squad for what it was. I do think it’s much better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and I do think it gives hope for the DCEU but it’s not like “Ohhhh yeah! We got more to come!” I think we can save that for when Wonder Woman and Justice League comes out. I think this movie has some interesting characters, mainly in the standouts of Floyd Lawton, Harley Quinn, The Joker and Amanda Waller, they are easily the better parts of the film and Lawton and Quinn help carry it for the most part, with their easy companionship and chemistry. The music is amazing and helps build the atmosphere of the movie and it’s good enough that it can stand on it’s own enough to listen to without the film. While the Joker isn’t a main character, his scenes are great and I believe in Jared Leto’s portrayal of him in the future. On the other hand, the movie does suffer from a weak villain and the motivations for a climax, the film fails to truly give the other characters enough to make them interesting outside of being plot devices or a funny “sidekick” and it has technical issues in the weak story, dull lighting, choppy editing and obvious cuts.
Rating: 2.90 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Suicide Squad? What did you think?