Joker Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film below. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version may be more negative

Making a movie with the villain as the main character is always a rather tricky thing to try and accomplish. You either go the route of trying to make the villain sympathetic so you can root for him or you go all in on just making him evil. It’s such a tough balance that it’s usually not even worth making the attempt. With the Joker of all characters you already know him as one of the most evil villains in the Batman series so this is certainly a very different portrayal. Ultimately it doesn’t work as the film just seems to be a never ending story of bad things happening to everyone.

The movie starts by introducing us to the Joker who is an aspiring comedian. Currently he works as a clowns but it’s a rough city and things don’t work out from the start. His sign is stolen and then he’s beaten up in an alley. The job threatens to fire him for losing the sign and then Joker makes the big mistake of taking a gun to a children’s hospital by mistake. It does come in handy when he is attacked on the subway as he murders the three attackers but now his life is in a tailspin. He begins to learn things about his origin that he never knew and funding is cut off for social services so he no longer has pills to keep his laughing condition in check. Now it’s time for him to become a full villain and take down the city.

Right away I can tell you the film’s biggest weakness is how hopeless it all is. The movie is really just about how bad a place Gotham is. Bad things happen to Joker and everyone else at pretty much all moments in the film. Joker, Thomas Wayne, Murray, Randall, Penny, two random detectives, everyone gets a bad hand in the film. There’s no one who walks away from this with a really happy ending except for Sophie and even then I wouldn’t say it’s super happy either since she’s probably going to have to move or may just feel terrified for a while assuming she made it out of the film.

Joker starts off as a sympathetic character since he is trying hard to be a comedian but it never works out for him. People mock him and his laughing condition makes it hard to hold a conversation at times since it can get triggered at any time. The first two people he murdered were certainly in self defense so I wouldn’t hold those against him at all. You definitely need to fight back in such a scenario and if anything it would have been nice if he had gotten up to defend the lady rather than the situation ultimately happening because he stayed back. The third guy who ran away is definitely more on the iffy side since he was no longer a threat and was running away. It makes sense to bump him off in case he could ID Joker later on but at that point it’s more to protect his own skin.

The rest of the murders in this film are completely on Joker and show how deranged he is. Joker definitely had a complete decent into being a psychotic villain by the end. You know it’s coming the whole time since this is a film about the Joker but the issue with having a villain who is so unrelentingly evil as the lead is that there is nobody to root for. If you look at some of the best villains out there like Eren Yeager, Light Yagami, Venom, or Thanos, they worked well as leads or co-leads because their goals at least made a lot of sense. In a way Light and Thanos even had good goals of saving people in a broad sense but went the wrong way about trying to improve the world and as such became complete villains.

You’re rooting for them to be stopped but at least you understand why they are doing all of this. With Joker he pretty much admits that he is just seeking out revenge against everyone who has wronged him and is just enjoys the insanity of it all. You’re not rooting for him to win at all here and his scenes can just be painful to watch. Ultimately while he blames all of the other characters for everything, some moments are his fault as well like bringing the gun to the hospital and letting Murray rile him up. The guy was clearly mocking him so Joker could have either decided not to go or to use that opportunity to prove himself anyway rather than trying to become a symbol and start a movement even if he claimed that is not what he wanted to do.

Joker was just an awful lead here and I don’t see this Joker being one of the better versions even down the road. I much prefer the classic Joker origin where he was a random bank robber who fell into the acid and became Joker. He just went from villain to super villain rather than it being Gotham which broke him down and sped up his descent into madness. As for the other characters, well Randall is a mean colleague who makes fun of his co-workers height and is generally a rather toxic person. He is quick to lie and manipulate others. You know he’s not going to make it out of this the instant that he appears.

Then you have Murray who loves making jokes at other people’s expense. He has created a whole career out of it. Joker was even a big fan of his until the jokes began to be about him. Again this is where Joker loses more sympathy points because of course he doesn’t mind others getting mocked but when it’s about him then it’s a whole lot different. Next on the list of characters is Thomas Wayne who wants to be mayor but has a complete disconnect with the people of Gotham.

I have to assume that he is planning to buy the election because otherwise he is doing absolutely nothing to win new votes. He makes fun of these guys and calls them clowns as well as goes out of his way to antagonize them at every corner. The movie presents him as a rather arrogant man who is so full of himself that he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him. I forgot we were going to squeeze in the origin here so that was unexpected. This version of Thomas appears quite unsympathetic compared to most but of course as we’re only seeing some instances from Joker’s perspective here, it’s likely not the full story.

Joker’s mother Penny also gets a decent sized role. Like Joker she has her own issues which seem to due with memory loss at first but later on we see that she is also quite crazy. Joker doesn’t see the complete irony of trying to get revenge on her later on since she likely doesn’t even remember the past and seems to believe her own delusions here. Also, she is completely powerless when they have their final confrontation and it’s got to be the worst scene in the movie. Her backstory is really gritty of course as the film continues to pile on.

The only decent character in the whole movie outside of quick cameos is Sophie. She’s Joker’s neighbor and they have a brief meeting in the elevator where she tries to be friendly but Joker doesn’t talk back at all. I guess he was worried about the laughing starting up so he kept his distance but she gave him the benefit of the doubt on a second occasion when she noticed him following her. Considering we’re in Gotham that’s a scary feeling but she didn’t immediately call the cops or get people to beat him up. She really did her best and so I’m glad she at least made it out of this. I would have interpreted her as losing her life to be honest but I remember it was a huge deal when the film came out and the director or writer had to come out and confirm she was okay. I don’t see the point of having the ambulance whizz by after the scene though. It’s only purpose is to hint at that but I’m guessing they may want her around for the sequel if we get one.

Either way it’s a good decision because the film is mainly about Joker getting revenge on everyone and she would not be deserving of that considering that she was in his corner. Not as often as he thought given how his delusions work but in her real scenes she was on point. There’s not much to say about effects as this is a more down to Earth film but I did enjoy the jingle from the game show that Murray’s on. It had a catchy beat and the happy tone really made for a great contrast to the rest of the depressing scenes.

Otherwise, prepare for the film to really drag on. There’s no real happy scenes here as the film sets the tone early. From the kids beating Joker up in the intro to the asylum in the end, there is never a scene for you to smile. There’s always something bad happening or about to happen. It’s almost impressive how unrelenting the film is with this approach as you would expect things to start working out even for a little while before the next fall but that’s really never the case. The closest is when Joker’s act starts to succeed and then this is taken away in the next scene.

The film keeps trying to balance whether it’s Gotham that turned an innocent person into the world’s greatest criminal or if he was just unstable and psychotic from the start. It’s hard to say since we’ve just got a small picture into his life but by the end it seems to be leaning towards the latter. His excessive punishment towards everyone who wronged him backs that up at least even if the crime was a long time ago. The city didn’t help of course as Gotham will be Gotham and keeps on sinking. I don’t even see how the custody angle would have worked out after everything in the file to be honest. If there is a Metropolis in this continuity then you should definitely try to get out. Being homeless in Metropolis is likely better than trying to survive in Gotham.

Overall, Joker is really an awful movie that’s extremely mean spirited. This is exactly the kind of scenario you try to avoid when doing a film based on a villain. In fact, this can be the poster film for what I’m talking about when I say how risky it is. You end up having a main character you can’t root for and so you’re rooting for him to be taken down already but since the film is about this villain, you know that’s not happening until the very end if you’re lucky. We see that the Joker is evil throughout but with no real goals or big ideas. He has an awful speech at the end where he blames society and this and that, but at the end of the day it’s all excuses on his part. This was just the origin for Batman’s villain but unfortunately in a world where they are unlikely to do battle. There were no silver linings I could find in this film so I’d definitely say to skip this one.

Overall 0/10

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 Review


You always know a story has to be big when it gets adapted into a 2 part movie event. Not just any story can pull that off. Well, The Long Halloween is a story that just about every Batman fan has heard of so it’s pretty fitting. This one takes the franchise back to its detective roots and works pretty well. Definitely a strong Batman story you could recommend to anyone.

The movie starts with one of Carmine’s nephews being murdered on Halloween. The culprit left a jack-o lantern at the scene of the crime seemingly to taunt Carmine about this. Interestingly, this works out in Carmine’s favor since the guy was about to spill the beans on the whole mafia enterprise. Gordon calls in DA Harvey Dent as well as the Batman so the three of them can team up on this. They need to find the murderer but they also have to put the crime family away for good. This won’t be an easy mission but between the 3 of them they have a lot of energy. Batman is still in his younger days at this point and Harvey just became the DA. They all want to get some kind of win under their belt.

This isn’t going to be an overnight case though. This villain who has been dubbed Holiday has been murdering a different member of Carmine’s family or gang members on every big holiday. Unfortunately Batman and co. are never in time to stop him. Batman’s going to have to do some detective work to figure out who is behind this but the issue is that there are quite a lot of suspects. Sure, Holiday is murdering these suspects one by one but ideally Batman would like to catch him before they’re all dead. Will he be able to pull this off or is this one case that even the Dark Knight is not ready for?

First off, I definitely like the mystery vibe here. It feels like a reason long time since a mystery was the main plot of one of these films. I dare say that the last time may have been Under The Red Hood. You could make a case for Hush as well but I want to say that’s more on the action side. Although you could make that case for the Red Hood as well in which case we go back to Mystery of the Batwomen which did have the classic “Pick the right suspect” structure which makes sense as a mystery. Gotham is always a mysterious place where you would never want to live and the movie shows that off pretty well.

Batman also looks good here even if it is not one of his stronger appearances. A lot of the characters insult him like one of the mobsters who says he isn’t much of a detective and even Gordon criticizes him. At the end of the day he still makes a lot more progress than they do even if it’s with extensive help from Catwoman. Batman does well in narrowing down the suspects either way and he explores every avenue to stop the villains. He even meets up with the Calendar Man briefly. (That’s one guy I thought would have a much bigger role in the film)

Really Batman doesn’t let his guard down until the climax where he ends up getting punked twice but beyond that he did well here. At the end of the day he’s just a likable character as always and made sure not to do business with the mobsters. He makes it clear from the start that he’s going to do things by the book as Bruce Wayne and doesn’t cut any corners there. Gordon is one of the other big heroes here and he looks good. He is constrained a bit since he has to follow the rules more than Dent or Batman but he was the one to get the team together so he gets full credit for that. He’s always a very loyal ally for Batman and that’s important in a city like Gotham.

Harvey Dent gets a big role here and it’s always fun to see him in his career prior to becoming the famous Two Face. In basically every continuity including this one we see that he really was a great DA. Unfortunately you’re always just waiting for some acid to show up at some point for his origin. In Part 1 at least you feel bad for him though because the justice system in Gotham is just as corrupt as every other part of it. It seems like for every arrest that sticks, another few don’t. The gang have more connections than the super villains after all so nobody will testify against them. Still, he does his best each day.

His wife Gilda seems a lot more depressing in comparison. The film hints at a dark past here as she is permanently depressed and it doesn’t help that Harvey always has to run off on police business so they can’t be together for very long. It’s put a big strain on their relationship without a doubt. Speaking of relationships that aren’t working, Catwoman has a rather big role in this film. It seems like in this continuity she either began her career before Batman or just got good at it a bit quicker. She just knows more about the city and helps him out quite a bit but their careers are so different that they have to settle for just being allies. That’s always made the most sense anyway though.

Fans should certainly appreciate her role here. It’s got to be one of Catwoman’s most impressive appearances as she is strong and smart, a deadly combination for her adversaries. It’s also always fun to have more supervillains running around. It’s a bit of a loose term for her, but she is presumably still robbing people so she should count. The film is very grounded for the most part and that works well within the story but every time you see a costumed fighter it’s always a good thing.

The most random addition to the film is Solomon Grundy though. He feels extremely out of place and it’s not the kind of thing that would hurt the film or anything like that. You just wonder why he is here, you could take him out of both parts and nothing would really change to be honest. Then you have the Joker show up for the climax. He’s as crazy as ever and certainly elevates the threat to the next level. If you want to see the danger transition from being a street level threat to the whole city under fire, well Joker’s the guy for the job.

He’s clearly more dangerous than the mob so it’s good to see him getting his respect. Honestly the mob is only doing so well because every super villain is in jail at the moment. Otherwise it’s hard to see Carmine and his crew lasting very long at all. I may touch on this more in the part 2 review but it’s crazy to see how successful the mob is here. It sort of shows that if super villains weren’t around they would easily own the city without any real opposition.

As for Carmine himself, well he’s a fun mobster. I liked him as one of the big villains, he has an old school vibe to him. Picture any mobster/gangster from an old film and that’s the kind of guy he is. Carmine has absolute confidence in himself at all times and makes sure that the world doesn’t doubt how tough he is. Each of his scenes are interesting and it’s a good reflection of the film’s writing since whether it’s the heroes or villains on screen, you can always be sure of an entertaining scene.

When it comes to the animation style, this definitely doesn’t look as good as most of the older DC animated films like the New 52 ones or the films that came before that era. It’s definitely going for a different look but it just isn’t as colorful or detailed if you ask me. By the end of the film you’ll probably be used to it more or less but I would definitely be on board with a style that’s more eye catching. The one credit I’ll give the animation is that since it looks so much older than some of the other DC films, it does work to bring back that whole mob vibe.

The movie really flies by and has good pacing throughout. This is definitely a must for a mystery film and this movie nails it. There’s even a scene after the credits start which really leads in well to the next film. Lets just say one characters lets his guard down and then things go crazy. Now that’s a good way to build up hype for part 2. I’ve already seen Part 2 so you can bet that review will be up shortly.

Overall, Batman The Long Halloween may have a title that doesn’t really encompass the whole film but it does set the stage well (Would have called it Batman: The Long Year) since I saw this around Halloween. I don’t really have any negatives to say about the film aside from the animation not really being my style. It’s a strong adventure from start to finish and it maintains that pacing for the sequel. A whole show set with gangsters roaming the streets along with the villains would certainly be fun.

Overall 7/10

Blaze Fielding vs Joker




Suggested by iKnowledge Blaze is a solid fighter. She can even shoot quick energy blast out like Chun Li which is always handy. That being said, it won’t be quite enough to take the Joker out. He’s pretty good in hand to hand as well in some continuities and also got vampire enhanced abilities when he became the King in one comic. Blaze is strong but she’s just not going to be taking Joker out of this fight. He’s also got a lot of crazy gadgets at the ready to keep her off balance the whole time. Joker wins.

One Operation Joker


I’ve finally read the first chapter of Joker and it’s certainly got a lot of potential here. The art is pretty solid, definitely going for a dramatic vibe with the irony of Joker being a nice caretaker now. We’ll see where the series goes from here but definitely a lot of things the series can have fun with. Joker effectively being Batman’s father now is not something many people will have seen coming. I’ll have a review for the series up when I finish it. We’ll see if time travel ends up becoming a factor and Batman has to step in to save his baby self.

Overall 6/10

Jonathan Teatime vs Joker




Suggested by iKnowledge It’s time to look at a battle of crazy fighters. Joker has a ton of gadgets at his disposal and has been around for ages. Despite that he surprisingly hasn’t gotten many big powers ups. He’s got Emperor Joker I suppose. Meanwhile Jonathan’s pretty good at hitting only what he wants to hit. It’s an interesting power but one he won’t need to use much here since he’s just gunning to win. His speed isn’t bad and it’s his best chance at victory here, but ultimately I don’t believe his stats are quite good enough to win. Joker just has too many gizmos on his side to slow Jonathan down and allow him to claim victory. Joker wins.

Batman: Hush Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Batman film to come out. It’s adapting what I consider to be one of the most well known Batman arcs out there. I’m still waiting for Battle for the Cowl, but it’s always nice to have more adaptions at the ready. I haven’t read Hush yet so it was interesting to go into it fresh. (Of course I already knew about the Superman fight though) It’s a good story although some parts of it were a bit weak which keeps this from being one of the best Batman films. It definitely gets obliterated by Bad Blood which is quickly becoming one of the definitive Batman titles.

The movie starts with Catwoman being back in town and back to her thieving ways. Batman is disappointed but he goes in to stop her only to be shot from behind and knocked out. A new villain named Hush is around and he has been following Batman for quite a while. Somehow he is getting a lot of the villains in Gotham to make a move so Batman is busier than he has ever been before. He still believes that Catwoman can be changed and so one part of the plot is that he’s hanging out with her both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile you have Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Joker, Bane, and a bunch of other Batman villains running around. Batman does have his support staff of Nightwing, Batgirl, Damian, and others but will they be enough to stop this new threat?

Well, let’s look at the good things first. As always the animation is great. Regardless of how the films have been in other areas at times, the animation has been consistently great for all of the main-line DC films. It’s quite top notch and the closest thing you’ll see to the classic DCAU animation. It’s really come into its own and all of the fight scenes are very good. The wind effects after each blow is swung are handled very well and the choreography is great. The character designs are all really good and same goes for the backgrounds.

The story is engaging as always. You’ll be eager to see what’s next at all times. This movie also feels like a crossover of sorts as you see guys like Superman and Lex Luthor show up as well as Nightwing, Batgirl, and Damian. While the latter 3 are Batman characters you still don’t see everyone show up like that all too often. Batgirl in particular feels like a bit of a guest star character as she shows up for one quick fight scene and then leaves again. Personally I feel like she should be able to defeat Catwoman, but typically that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Now I think where the film is at its weakest is with the romance here. Batman is borderline out of character for a good chunk of the movie. As always he lets his interest in Catwoman get personal but to a greater degree than usual. There’s quite a lot of romance in this film and it’s not like Batman to let such things distract him during such a dangerous time. He knows Hush is around so he has no time to be with Catwoman right now. Taking up time as both Bruce and Batman is also time he could be using to solve the case. He was even awfully close to letting her convince him to leave the city for a while even with the villain at large.

Batman also loses control of himself in the scene with Joker awfully quick. I get that it was a big moment, but I don’t see how it hit him quite so hard. Surely it’s not quite as traumatic as what happened to Jason Todd and Batman was able to control himself a lot better there. You could make the case that it’s how these situations keep piling up which pushed him over the edge, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. Batman is portrayed as extremely emotional in this film compared to the others and I don’t think this was a good idea. He just doesn’t feel like Batman at times. Damian is the voice of reason instead and it’s too bad that he only got a cameo here.

Meanwhile Catwoman also looks pretty bad here. She does do a good job of trying to get past her thieving ways to an extent although it’s hard to really buy into it since she’s said this many times before. (Albeit, not in this continuity) The way her character arc ends doesn’t make any sense though. The way she acts at the end doesn’t make any sense because what happened shouldn’t have been new information for her. I’d understand if we saw something more drastic, but Batman didn’t do anything that you wouldn’t expect him to do. It makes Catwoman appear a bit shallow. She’s never been one of my favorite characters anyway but it’s still not great for her.

Then we’ve got Joker who looks downright terrible here. The guy is usually not a bit player that everyone has their way with, but you wouldn’t know that from this film. He’s completely overwhelmed and out of his depth from the start. He doesn’t even realize that he is walking into a trap. Usually the Joker is able to match wits with Batman so this was odd. I was expecting him to look more like how he did in Phantasm where he turned the tables pretty quick. Here all he did was get wrecked for a while and do a terrible job of trying to explain what was going on. Harley Quinn did better as she was at least doing something about the situation.

We get other villains but they don’t get as big of a role. Poison Ivy kept some of her hype here since Hush was worried enough about her abilities to have a bomb at the ready. Poison Ivy may not be one of the biggest Batman enemies, but she is definitely one of the most dangerous. Her plants are just really handy to have around. Bane and Clayface are just here for cameos but they are cool to see as well. Superman is the biggest guest appearance, but he looks pretty terrible as well. There’s no conceivable way that Poison Ivy should have been able to get the drop on him. I don’t care if she had Kryptonite make-up and a green suit, he should have been ready. The instant she got close he would have detected it but not been weak enough to faint. That’s when it’s time to dash out of there. I also wish he had more will power since he tends to get mind controlled in every other film. Lex looked good at least and he has a point that Batman should treat him with more respect since he is now a League member. Without him Batman would have been in trouble.

How about Hush? Well, he’s definitely a solid villain. It’s always nice to have a villain that can really test Batman’s deductive abilities. Hush does a good job of keeping everyone wary and he has a good design/voice. The guy is an intimidating villain and you’ll be interested in seeing who his true identity was. The movie did a good job of giving you a fair chance to make the connection without making it obvious. I wasn’t able to figure out who it was before the film ended so the movie did good there. He also gives us a solid fight scene at the end of the film.

Batman movies usually have some kind of mystery in it and that’s part of the draw. So having a solid mystery with Hush in it does help this movie stay interesting. Then you’ve also got a solid array of fight scenes which help support the movie. The pacing is solid and something is always happening here. It’s really just the romance and some of the characters being out of character that holds this film back. Put it this way, I’d put this movie above Son of Batman, Batman vs Robin, Batman Year One, Gotham Knights, and Mystery of the Batwomen, but I’d put it under Sub-Zero, Mask of the Phantasm, Bad Blood, Return of the Joker, and Red Hood. I’m probably missing a Batman film or two, but these are the ones I knew off the top of my head. It’s a reasonable ranking and that puts this movie around the middle of the pack which is pretty good.

Overall, While I had my issues with Batman Hush it is still a very good movie. It’s the kind of title where even if you know the outcome of the mystery it still works pretty well for re-watches. There is a lot of replay value to be found here and any Batman fan can quickly get into the film and enjoy it. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should definitely check it out. I can see why the arc is pretty well known as one of the big Batman arcs. Now I hope we can get a Battle for the Cowl arc soon. We’ve got all of the necessary characters introduced into the series already so it would definitely work and we’re running out of Batman arcs to use anyway. I think it’s the next logical step.

Overall 7/10

Revy vs Joker




Suggested by iKnowledge Joker is a skilled villain who surprisingly hasn’t gotten many power ups over the years, but he is consistently deadly. What makes Joker so tough to deal with is his seemingly endless array of gadgets and tricks. He is never running on empty. Revy is quick and precise with her shots so there is a reasonable chance that she could tag Joker. That being said, I don’t believe she will be able to stop the Crown Prince of Crime. She would need a little more speed and strength to overcome him. Joker wins.

Joker vs Rock




Suggested by iKnowledge Rock isn’t particularly good with guns and other weapons. He’s reasonably strong to be sure, but that’s not quite good enough to deal with the Joker. Joker is Batman’s most dangerous adversary so he’s definitely not someone that you can take lightly. He’ll quickly take the edge in this fight and also does know some good hand to hand combat abilities. Rock would need some real steel to win this battle. Joker wins.

Joker vs Dutch




Suggested by iKnowledge Dutch is a pretty tough guy and certainly a dangerous marksman with a gun. That being said, he’s not quite ready to handle Joker. Sure, he would possibly have the edge in a 1 on 1 gunfight with standard weapons, but that’s not enough to overcome the Joker. Joker has a lot of fancy gadgets at his disposal like his explosive marbles and acid blasters. Dutch will quickly be overwhelmed here and can’t deal with Joker’s unpredictable nature. Joker wins.

Jack Reacher vs Joker




Suggested by iKnowledge Jack Reacher is an exceptional field agent, but at the end of the day he’s basically just a normal guy. There isn’t much that he can do against a foe as formidable as the Joker. Joker has his own array of guns and even some good hand to hand experience over the years. Throw in his array of crazy gadgets and he’ll manage to stay on step ahead of Jack during their entire fight. That’s check mate. Joker wins.