As we were reminded this week, director Todd Phillips has come a long way from the days of making movies about horny college students mailing each other VHS sex tapes. In October, he's set to release a little film called Joker that has been garnering a lot of award season buzz for star Joaquin Phoenix. We got a first look at the origin story for the classic comic villain a few months ago, and today comes the final trailer, which sees Phoenix really ramping up the intensity.

In an interview with Total Film, director and co-writer Phillips stressed that the film "is not meant to be political, but it is meant to be provocative." He said: "I think there will be some 21-year-olds that go and watch it who just think it’s a version of a Joker story. And that’s fine, too. I don’t want to define it as this message movie, because it’s not. But it definitely is, the same way that The Dark Knight was not a message movie, but it definitely was a post-9/11 terrorist sort of ‘Oh shit…’ thing."

They also asked Phoenix if he turned to the news to help shape his portrayal: "There were times when I would go, like, ‘Look at this fucking world, and how we lack empathy and real compassion and care.' I felt like there were things that odd and [co-writer] Scott [Silver] were touching on that were relevant to what we may be experiencing now. But I also felt like they weren’t being didactic, and they weren’t steering you towards one particular way of watching the movie, and saying, ‘This is the cause.’"

In other Joker news: the film will make its premiere at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. Marc Maron, who seems to be playing an assistant to Robert De Niro's TV host character in the movie, has been pissing off Marvel movie fans ("grown male nerdchilds") left and right.

Previously we saw glimpses of Phoenix as the Joker around town, where areas of DUMBO and the subway system were transformed into an even, yes, grittier Gotham.

The movie hits the big screen on October 4th... right in time for lots of Halloween costumes.