First trailer for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker mines comedy from tragedy to colorful results: Watch

Todd Phillips' dramatic origin story offers a completely new spin on the iconic Batman villain

Joaquin Phoenix, Batman, Joker, Warner Bros., New Trailer, Todd Phillips
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (Warner Bros.)

    There are a ton of comic book movies due out this year, but few have the intrigue of Todd Phillips’ Joker. The standalone one-off starring Joaquin Phoenix has been turning heads ever since it was first announced by Warner Bros., and its trailer only fans those flames.

    As promised, the flick appears to be a deep character study in the vein of Taxi Driver, and while one might argue the character works best without any elaborate origin story, it appears Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver are offering a brilliant compromise.

    “My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face,” Phoenix as Arthur Fleck says in a voiceover. “She told me I had a purpose, to bring laughter and joy to the world.” Yikes!


    Phoenix just eats up the screen, especially as he tries on different outfits. Some might frown at the green afro, but fortunately, he opts for the trademark slick, green hair, concluding, “I used to think my life was a tragedy. But now I realize, it’s a comedy.”

    Watch below and start dreaming of a world where two Jokers have Oscars.

    Update – August 28th: Watch a new trailer for Joker.

    The trailer originally debuted yesterday at CinemaCon, where Phillips admitted (via The Hollywood Reporter), “I don’t have a lot to say about the film, as it’s still taking shape, but also because I want it to be a surprise. That said, there’s been a lot of chatter about what this film is and what it isn’t and most of it hasn’t been accurate.

    “When the marketing department at Warners asked me the other day to describe the movie, I said ‘I can’t,'” he continued, adding, “They said at least tell me the genre and I thought about it for a minute and said ‘it’s a tragedy.'” Oof. Chills.


    Joker hits theaters on October 4th. In addition to Phoenix, the film stars Robert De NiroZazie BeetzBill CampFrances ConroyBrett CullenGlenn FleshlerDouglas HodgeMarc MaronJosh Pais, and Shea Whigham.