Spider-Man comic writer Dan Slott took to Twitter to explain why he believes Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is a bad film.
After director Todd Phillips’ Joker debuted at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, the Joaquin Phoenix film received near-unanimous praise and even earned the former event’s prestigious Golden Lion Award. However, general audiences have been more divided in their reception towards Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, with many criticizing the film for its questionable messages and being too reminiscent of previous films such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.
Now, Spider-Man comic writer Dan Slott has taken to social media to explain why he believes Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is not a good film. In a series of lengthy Twitter posts, the Spider-Man writer explained that his opinion is not an “anti-DC thing” and acknowledged that Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker was good, but noted that he was frustrated by many elements of the film and advised fans to watch The King of Comedy instead:
“Saw the JOKER tonight. Loved DARK KNIGHT & WONDER WOMAN. Thought AQUAMAN & SHAZAM were FUN. Can’t wait for HARLEY QUINN. This isn’t an Anti-DC thing. JOKER was bad. Real bad. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance was a GOOD thing… in a BAD movie. Also, JOKER was a bad Joker movie. Instead of watching the JOKER, just go and watch THE KING OF COMEDY instead. It’s a better movie. Trust me. The most frustrating thing about the JOKER movie… There are so many EXCELLENT DC Comics that dance around the Joker’s origins. ANY of those– just using the comic pages as storyboards– would have made a far better movie than what they put up on the screen. Just when you think the JOKER movie can’t get any worse, they found a way to incorporate a scene we’ve already seen way too many times in… super hero movies. (If you saw JOKER, you know what I’m talking about.) That was the rancid little cherry on top of this god awful sundae.
In an additional series of Tweets, Spider-Man writer Dan Slott elaborated on his criticism by comparing Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker to other projects involving anti-heroes, including Breaking Bad and The Shield. The Spider-Man writer continued by criticizing Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker for evoking superior films to convey Arthur Fleck’s’s descent into madness and poor character development while noting that the technical achievements of the movie do not add to an excellent product overall:
“Watching a dark story about an anti-hero can be captivating (See Breaking Bad, The Shield, many of the character arcs in The Wire.) How it’s paced, why they make their choices, how much you’re willing to empathize w/ them– and for how long, these can all be exciting things. But it has to be earned. You can’t shorthand it by imitating other/better films (Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Falling Down, Fight Club, etc.) If it’s not paced out well, if the character goes too far, too quickly, why should we continue to be invested in them? Stacking the deck against the character isn’t character development. That’s just Job. Being dark for dark’s sake isn’t a theme. Rich = bad, poor = good isn’t a hot take. Good cinematography, score, and even an excellent performance doesn’t fix the meal if the recipe is bad.”
Here is the official synopsis for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker:
Director Todd Phillips “Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fracturedsociety. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.
Directed by Todd Phillips from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham.
Joker will be released in theaters on October 4, 2019.