Once more I broke my vow of not bothering with superhero movies, since this one was nominated for Best Picture. I guess the Joker isn’t a superhero, and technically, Batman isn’t either, he’s just a very rich, inventive, and athletic guy. Still, it’s a movie made from comic books, and though I know some good movies have resulted from “graphic novels,” I can’t recall any that were about Marvel comics that I thought were worth watching. So what was the big deal about this one?
Lee actually hated it. I won’t go that far, but I wasn’t impressed. It’s the story about a man gradually losing it over the injustices he sees all around him. It could have been the story of Bernard Goetz. Remember him? Four black young men surrounded him on the subway asking for five dollars. That was their story, anyway. They had screwdrivers, which counts as deadly weapons in my book. He plugged them with six shots from a .38. Goetz isn’t as colorful as the Joker, of course. (Goetz apparently spends his time nursing injured squirrels back to health these days. You can’t make this shit up. To date he hasn’t paid a penny of the $43,000,000 civil judgement against him. There probably isn’t a lot of money to be made rescuing squirrels.)
Then there is the widely hailed performance by Joaquin Phoenix, for which he won the Oscar. It is certainly flamboyant. He laughs, he cries, he dances, he shoots Robert De Niro on live TV. I liked that part. My vote would have gone to Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is also my choice for Best Picture. (I still haven’t seen Little Women, or 1917.) To sum up, it’s another strike-out for the wonderful folks at Marvel. I realize this is a minority opinion. Those of you who like stuff like this shouldn’t let me spoil your enjoyment.