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: Deadpool 2 (2018)

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Summary: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.
So I’m not going to lie, I really liked the first one but I think I only saw it maybe once or twice in its entirety. I wasn’t really anticipating the second one, it wasn’t really one of those movies that I was like “I HAVE TO SEE” but I knew I wanted to since I had so much fun in the first one. Anyways, on to the review!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. 
  • Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool. He is a wise cracking mercenary with accelerated healing but severe scarring over his body after undergoing an experimental regenerative mutation. In this movie, he has been DP for a while now, and his life seems to be pretty good as he has his girl with him. But he is put on a path where he meets Russell and things aren’t going so well. Throughout the movie, he’s trying to find his place, trying to find out what the dream he had means and he goes on this discovery, while also causing trouble as he does. We get to see a little more emotional side of Wade, which I really like, since it shows balance with his larger than life personality. Ryan Reynolds was meant to play this character and it shows just how much he loves it because I’m sure he ad-libbed as much as he could. It got a little over the top sometimes but he’s great in the role.
  • Josh Brolin as Cable. A time-traveling cybernetic soldier who is very different from Deadpool in that he’s very serious and he has a set plan for what he wants. I think the character could have easily been that “narrow-minded soldier” very easily but I think Josh Brolin manages to add humanity to the character and he’s very likable. What he does in the end shows a lot of emotion and I can’t wait to see what happens with him in the future, especially since he came from the future and his parents are around.
  • Julian Dennison as Russell Collins / Firefist. He is the older version of Russell from Up. A young mutant with pyrokinesis who is being hunted by Cable due to something his future self does. I would consider him a kind of villain through most of the movie, but the whole point is to save him, well it takes a moment for Deadpool to get to that point, but yeah. He’s pretty funny himself throughout the movie.
  • Zazie Beetz as Domino. Easily the best part of the film. She is a mercenary with the mutant ability to manipulate luck, who joins Deadpool’s X-Force team. Domino is sassy, unbothered and she just goes through life-like nothing can faze her, which nothing does. Considering she’s lucky, no matter what happens, no matter how dangerous it is, she’s fine. However, she has a tragic past buts she can definitely kick butt and takes names. She’s funny as well. I’ve never seen Zazie Beetz in anything but she’s great here and I really want her to have her own movie since she was the clear standout in this film. Her back and forth banter with Ryan Reynolds was great, they had great chemistry and I would love to see them team up again. She also just looks physically awesome.
Supporting Characters.
  • T.J. Miller as Weasel. He is Wade’s best friend and owns the bar that apparently all of the mercenaries frequent. He doesn’t really do much but he’s funny and makes jokes and has great comedic chemistry with Ryan Reynolds.
  • Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. A teenage X-Man with the mutant power to detonate atomic bursts from her body. She seems to be more apart of the team now, she was more of a trainee in the first one. I loved her in the first one and I was excited to see her in this one. I was bummed she wasn’t in it that much. Her new relationship was cute, I liked her girlfriend, but we didn’t really get the chance to see much from either of them. The actress is still great in her unbothered persona as well, I think her and Domino would get along swimmingly.
The Opening Credits. It was hilarious and unique. I love how they used a song beautifully sang by Celine Dion and there were some crazy images going along with such a slow song. The picture at the top of the review is one such image from the opening credits. I also liked the fact that the credits pretty much tells you what’s going to happen in the movie lol very bold and it was funny foreshadowing joke.
The Action. It’s pretty nonstop for a good chunk of the film. The opening fight scene before he runs home to Vanessa is fantastic. My favorite is definitely the car chase scene, Domino fights Cable and she does this really cool move while in the truck AND she has great stunts period because she’s just so lucky. Plus, Cable is cool and we get to see him and DP go at it a few times and I thought the fight choreography was handled very well.
It’s Still Funny. Unfortunately, I’ll talk about this later too, but I still the movie was funny. Crude humor doesn’t bother me, if it’s funny it’s funny and if it’s not it’s not. Humor is subjective but I normally enjoy Deadpool’s antics, even in the comics, so there were a lot of times where he was still enjoyable to watch. The entire scene where he has to grow something back was probably the funniest of the movie. Also, Domino has some great humorous moments and lines, her banter with Deadpool when she’s “interviewing” for his superhero team was great. Also, the scene when his “X-Force” team does the skydiving. Hilarious. Oh and Russell was funny sometimes too.
The Heart/Emotion. It wasn’t like super emotional but it does have some sad stuff, especially in the beginning. However, the whole story with the kid and how Deadpool is reacting to him, especially the end, I thought it was sweet. Same with Cable’s story and why he’s there. I think there is a lot of heart in the movie, but it does get bogged down at times by the jokes.
Cameos. There are some great cameos in the film. There is one in the X-mansion when Deadpool is in there talking to Colossus. There is also an extended cameo in the end with a well known character that was pretty cool to see and to see them done correctly.
Cons:
Dead Horse. I felt about this movie the same way I felt about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. The first movie was so funny and different that they wanted to do the same thing here just bigger and better and I don’t think it was better. Not all of the jokes hit for me, and some of them went on for way to long. There was a scene at the end, where Wade just keeps going on and on and on and I’m like… if you just don’t GO! It got really old really fast a lot of times and it was kind of annoying.
Enjoy the moment. I know with a comedy, it’s hard to let moments just be moments but I wish that when there’s an emotional part, just let it be emotional. You don’t have to make jokes, just let it happen and more than likely, I’ll actually feel something other than annoyance.
Boring. It’s weird to say this in a Deadpool movie but I was kind of bored at various times throughout the movie. I think my friend even fell asleep at a point, but I was disappointed that it just didn’t keep me engaged like the first one did. It was trying to hard and I could tell and it didn’t do it for me. It had some minor pacing issues, where we were really high for a while and then it was like a deep plummet and I was like *sighs* okay.
Wasted Characters. There were some characters introduced in the movie just for laughs, which is fine, but I was expecting to see way more of the X-men characters we saw from the first movie. I was a little miffed that they were just glorified cameos.
Overall, I enjoyed Deadpool 2. I liked all of the characters, they were all fun and it was easy to tell that the actors had a good time as well. Ryan Reynolds still is great as Deadpool. He loves the character and it comes through in the film. I enjoyed the little arc that he got to have in the film, he’s ultimately the same person just a bit more mature in the end. Josh Brolin as Cable was great, he was intimidating but awesome, Julian Dennison as Russell was also great to watch, he clearly had fun in his role and I thought he was funny, most of the time. Lastly, Zazie Beetz as Domino was the standout in the film and I think she should get her own film. The action is handled very well, it’s well choreographed and it’s awesome seeing how some of the characters get through some pretty crazy situations. The opening credits was one of the best sequences of the film, especially coupled with that song. The emotional heart in the film was also pretty well-earned. It’s also funny. Now, with that said, I do think this movie suffers from the “trying to hard” syndrome. I think because the first did so well that they tried to capture that again and it didn’t always work for me. Crude humor is never a problem for me, but when you beat a dead horse, or you just don’t know when to let the moment be a moment, that gets annoying. Yes, I know that’s how Deadpool is but that doesn’t mean it has to come off forced. I also felt a bored in some areas of the film, I wasn’t so bored that I pulled out my phone or anything, but I was bored that I wanted to get back to other scenes and I don’t really do that when watching a movie. My friend even fell asleep and she was looking forward to this way more than I was. I left the movie disappointed and the more I thought about it, I was disappointed. I enjoyed it but it was fine.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Deadpool 2 yet? What did you think about it? Please comment and let me know your thoughts.
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