By odd coincidence, I watched the movie Joker on the plane this evening. I had marked it as a movie to see when it was free, and the stars aligned, so to speak.
I highly recommend this movie. I’ll do a spoilers treatment later, as I found it a deep movie well worth writing about. It was thought-provoking and better than even the positive reviews led me to believe it would be.
Apparently it won an Oscar for Joaquin Phoenix while I watched it (unbeknownst to me, the Oscars were tonight), so I got that going for me. His performance was Oscar-worthy in the old sense of the term.
As a comic book origin story, there was almost nothing comic-book about it. No superpowers, no science fiction, no magical nonsense. I think that this movie will only slowly become discovered for what it is over many years. I’m going to sniff around a bit and see if my impressions from the movie are not already well-covered — I did not avoid spoilers when I listened to various reviews of the movie, but I also did not seek the movie as a topic, so I don’t know how well my absorbed coverage of the movie represents the consensus, if there is one.
Kudos to American Airlines for not editing the movie at all. They gave a little disclaimer at the front, and that was that. So I forgive the damned advertisement for some hotel chain that popped up when I powered on my screen hoping to check our altitude as my ears kept popping in turbulence. Nothing too exciting, but I could tell that the pilot was hunting for calm air, and I wanted to know which way. As ti turned out, we climbed out of 32K for greener pastures and less-green passengers.
I didn’t realize that the beer ain’t free. I fly international almost exclusively, I have discovered. Sigh.
I don’t watch superhero movies. I have made some exceptions, but my track record is pretty secure — Spider-Man in 2002 or so, and the Iron Man trilogy. I recall being impressed that Spider-Man, which featured Kirsten Dunst and a bunch of other people, was about as good a comic movie as you could hope for. I only watched it to get out of the mid-day heat in Singapore, and wound up pleasantly surprised. Real effort had been put in to make a movie which worked well on plot, character, story, action, effects, and whatever else goes into such a thing. It was better than it had a right to be.
Joker similarly earns its place not as a comic movie, but as a real movie, and in the unqualified context, competing against all of the other real movies, it not only works, but impresses.
I now find it even more absurd that our government — the US ARMY, no less — saw fit to warn people about the risk of something it called “incel violence” around showings of the movie. I’m just more cheesed about that than I was at the time. First off, shut up, Army. Where do you get off even using a zeitgeisty little word like “incel.” Might as well warn that “asians have cooties” and that’s why they advise against visiting Wuhan right now. I am fairly certain that this sentence contains the only the third time I have typed the wordlet “incel.” Second, if this is the sort of thing that excites the Army enough to issue a warning, what does it say about the people making decisions, and the information sources that they find important? It says that the Army is full up with progressive victicrats.
Yet, in this, I am sure that the Army is just faithfully doing its master’s bidding. The forces of big government and political correctness will have their way, and no puny General is going to change that fact. Still, happily typing up the dispatches fished from the south end of a north-bound bureaucrat is no way to go through life, son.
Watch Joker if you have not. More on this score later.