Movie magazine IGN gave the film a 10/10 rating, while both the Guardian and Empire have given it 5 stars, with Empire writing "Bold, devastating and utterly handsome, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself".
Earlier today, Phoenix said he was drawn to the project because "we were going to approach it in our own way".
Joaquin Phoenix follows in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson, the late Heath Ledger and most recently Jared Leto to play Batman's nemesis in Joker, turning him from a vulnerable beaten down loner into the confident, makeup wearing baddie. He said he studied a book about political assassins for inspiration, but that he also didn't want a psychologist to be able to identity Arthur as a type.
Screen Daily's Tim Grierson said the film may not have the same massive box office success as other comic book movies, but it predicted "rave reviews for Phoenix's unnerving portrayal should entice viewers who are exhausted of superhero films but might be open to something a little more character-driven and psychologically complex".
But the star of Walk the Line and Her said he wanted to maintain the freedom of keeping the character's volatile personality in the realms of fiction. Now, this first wave of reactions from critics and festival-goers will give the rest of us a better idea of how to receive Joker. The reviews about Joker certainly seem to confirm it.
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It stopped Georgia Tech in several short-yardage situations that continued to keep momentum in the Tigers' favor. Lawrence opened things with a 6-yard rushing score and threw a ideal pass to Tee Higgins for a 62-yard touchdown.
Phoenix described the cackle he created for the character as "something that's nearly painful. I think there is already Oscar buzz around it". Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
"You really go mad when you lose that much weight in that amount of time", he said.
Asked if a lack of empathy was a key subject in the film, for which writing began in 2017, Phillips said: "It's a big part of what the movie's about".
Eric Eisenberg of CinemaBlend says that you may need a shower after seeing it, but it is a film that you'll "want to do nothing else but parse and dissect" after.
"His goal is genuinely to make people laugh and bring joy to the world and he made a few bad decisions along the way".