JOKER Receives 8-Minute Standing Ovation After Venice Screening As First Reviews Hit

JOKER Receives 8-Minute Standing Ovation After Venice Screening As First Reviews Hit

The review embargo for Todd Philips' Joker movie has now lifted, and, for the most part, critics were bowled over by the unique origin story for one of the greatest villains in comic book history...

Todd Philips' standalone Joker movie had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival yesterday, and it's been the talk of the event since.

The movie reportedly received an 8-minute standing ovation after it screened, and that's reflected in the reviews (its current RT score is 88%, but that's expected to change soon). The majority of critics were very impressed overall, and the word "masterpiece" pops up several times. Some weren't quite so taken with this origin story for the iconic DC Comics character, however, and it sounds like Joaquin Phoenix's performance, much like the film itself, will prove to be divisive.

Check out some excerpts from the first wave of reviews below, and let us know if you plan on seeing Joker in theaters when its released next month.

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This is a truly nightmarish vision of late-era capitalism – arguably the best social horror film since ‘Get Out’ – and Phoenix is magnetic in it. He runs Heath Ledger cigarette-paper close as the finest screen Joker.

SOURCE: Time Out

Having brazenly plundered the films of Scorsese, Phillips fashions stolen ingredients into something new, so that what began as a gleeful cosplay session turns progressively more dangerous – and somehow more relevant, too. Gotham City is aflame and they’re rioting on the streets. And a rough beast is slouching towards the TV studio to be born.

SOURCE: Guardian

It will be tempting for some to declare this the first art film based on a DC or Marvel property, but while it certainly represents a bit of a departure and something of a risk, “Joker” is ultimately grim-and-gritty comic book nihilism jacked up to the nth degree, wrapped up in a convincing but ultimately hollow simulacra of better, smarter movies.

SOURCE: The Wrap
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In Joker — playing in competition here at the Venice Film Festival — Phoenix is acting so hard you can feel the desperation throbbing in his veins. He leaves you wanting to start him a GoFundMe, so he won’t have to pour so much sweat into his job again. But the aggressive terribleness of his performance isn’t completely his fault. (He has often been, and generally remains, a superb actor. Just not here.)


As social commentary, “Joker” is pernicious garbage. But besides the wacky pleasures of Phoenix’s performance, it also displays some major movie studio core competencies, in a not dissimilar way to what “A Star Is Born” presented last year. (Bradley Cooper is a producer.) The supporting players, including Glenn Fleshler and Brian Tyree Henry, bring added value to their scenes, and the whole thing feels like a movie.

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"Joker" achieves two contradictory goals simultaneously, delivering a blockbuster that highlights what is eternally captivating about the character, while at the same time offering a sobering critique of the nihilism that has long been the Joker's M.O.

SOURCE: Screen International

Phoenix is all in and then some, a performance so dazzling risky and original you might as well start engraving his name on the Oscar right now. No joke, this is a movie — premiering today at the Venice Film Festival — unlike any other from the DC universe, and you will find it impossible to shake off. At least I did.

SOURCE: Deadline

In amongst “Joker’s” fire and blood and chaos and its blackest of blackhearted laughter, there is the sense of a grotesque, green-haired genie being let out of a bottle, and whether it wreaks havoc or not, we’re not going to be able to put it back in.

SOURCE: The Playlist

With the combination of talented actors, a well fleshed out script, and excellent direction, the audience doesn’t quite know who to root for. It’s traumatizing in a way because it causes a kind of morality battle. That sort of intensity weighs in on you once the film is over. It makes you think. The “funny” moments of the film are so strategic that they cause uncomfortable laughter.

SOURCE: Black Girl Nerds

In fact, that sympathy is where much of the film’s fear comes from. This is the Joker. We should not like this person. And yet, the movie tricks us into doing that time and time again. We frequently see things happening that aren’t actually happening. Information is given that isn’t quite accurate. Arthur’s point of view is mostly unreliable. And so the film swings you between sympathy and pity or humor and awkwardness, sometimes in a single shot. Not knowing what to believe and how to feel is one of the film’s most interesting and strongest assets.


As the film goes on, it becomes increasingly a horror movie and the violence – although limited to a very few incidents – is portrayed as shockingly real. There are also moments of humour – as you’d expect from the director of The Hangover – but the “funny ha-ha” is definitely mixed in with funny peculiar so it’s impossible to say where one ends and the other begins. What it doesn’t feel like is a comic book movie.

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The first big problem is that the film cannot decide whether it wants to keep its powder dry in terms of its relationship to the wider world of superhero lore. It opens on a classic 1970s Warner Bros logo in a misguided attempt to connect itself to one of cinema’s golden eras – making it appear even worse by comparison. It tries desperately hard to come across as edgy, but coldly refuses to swerve from the hard-painted lanes of templated Hollywood filmmaking. It ends up resembling nothing more than a Suicide Squad spin-off movie. Yet it’s ambitions are certainly more lofty.

SOURCE: Little White Lies

Superhero blockbuster this is not: a playful fireman's-pole-based homage to the old Batman television series is one of a very few lighthearted moments in an otherwise oppressively downbeat and reality-grounded urban thriller.

SOURCE: Telegraph UK
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Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself.

SOURCE: Empire

Joaquin Phoenix's fully committed performance and Todd Phillips' masterful albeit loose reinvention of the DC source material make Joker a film that should leave comic book fans and non-fans alike disturbed and moved in all the right ways.

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