Our first look at Todd Phillips's Joker movie is finally here, and it will deliver a Clown Prince that we've never seen before. Played by Joaquin Phoenix, this on-screen incarnation of the character is separate from the DC Universe films (which have featured Jared Leto), as Phillips aims to bring Arthur Fleck to life as the Joker through an entirely new origin story. The log line provided on IMDB has been: "A failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer." Outside of that, little has been revealed.
The director spoke recently of ongoing speculation around the film, noting, "most of it hasn’t been very accurate... I guess that’s what happens when you set out to do an origin story about a character that doesn’t have a definitive origin.” Phillips tale is set in Gotham in the 1980s, so you're going to see the word "gritty" a lot when reading about it.
While the trailer has the Joker saying, "I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize it’s a comedy," at CinemaCon, Phillips called the movie itself "a tragedy." And the trailer is dark, almost vibrantly so—the whole things looks like it was shot through a blinking, faded 1970s Times Square neon sign. And, unsurprisingly, Phoenix seems to have embodied the role quite spectacularly. Thankfully, this is much more on the Heath Ledger end of the spectrum than it is Leto.
As io9 notes, "we still don’t know much, like how the film’s take on the Wayne family will factor into Arthur’s downfall, although we do get some brief glimpses, as well as a very fleeting look at Zazie Beetz’s mysterious character. But this trailer is more about establishing a tone for Joker than it is really delving into plot—about how an increasingly degrading Gotham city warps one man into one of its most infamous villains." The trailer also shows Robert De Niro very briefly. (Some have noted that Phillips seems to have taken a page from Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy.)
The movie hits the big screen on October 4th.