The first footage of Todd Phillips’ origin story of the Joker has been unveiled at the CinemaCon event in Las Vegas, and critics are already drawing some pretty lofty comparisons.
Phillips introduced the clip of the movie to conference-goers yesterday, with the trailer set to be unveiled to the public later on today.
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It finds Joaquin Phoenix playing Arthur Fleck, a failed showbiz hopeful and stand-up comedian in 80s Gotham, who spirals into the city’s criminal underworld.
Arkham, the asylum for the criminally insane, makes an appearance from the DC Comics canon, while Robert De Niro, who plays a talk show host, also features.
As such, comparisons to De Niro and Scorsese’s satire on celebrity culture King of Comedy have been drawn too, in which De Niro’s tragically untalented comedian slowly becomes unravelled.
Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, however, but we do know that the supporting cast includes Atlanta star Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, who plays Arthur Fleck’s ailing mother, and GLOW star Marc Maron.
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Brett Cullen, meanwhile, plays the billionaire philanthropist Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce Wayne, who will one day become Batman.
The reception has been pretty wild thus far, with Jason Geurrasio of Business Insider comparing the footage to Taxi Driver.
Shots in the JOKER trailer evoke REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, KING OF COMEDY, much more. Very weird, very well cut, you do get to hear Phoenix’s Joker laugh. I fucking loved it.
— Scott Wampler™ @ CinemaCon (@ScottWamplerBMD) April 2, 2019
The 'Joker' trailer reveals it is absolutely not like any "comic book" movie that has come before. You'll see tomorrow when it's online. pic.twitter.com/OFaYADFQSI
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) April 2, 2019
— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) April 2, 2019
A new – and slightly unnerving – poster has been revealed too, with Phoenix’s blood-stained face looking up to the stars.
Joker hits screens in October.