The excitement surrounding Joker is reaching a fever pitch as the film nears release after having recently won the best film award at the Venice Film Festival. The last time a Batman-related movie received this much critical acclaim was The Dark Knight featuring Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning Joker performance.

Ledger’s co-star in the film, Christian Bale, commented on Joaquin Phoenix reprising the role of the Clown Prince of Crime during promotions for his new film Ford v Ferrari.

“Joaquin is one of the best actors around, you know, and obviously I worked with Heath. You know, it’s a brave thing to follow up that performance and he always makes interesting choices.”

Bale then offered this.

“Dying to see it… I wish them the best with that.”

Encouraging words coming from the Batman who headed the most critically acclaimed films ever about the world of The Dark Knight. While Ledger’s performance in the film was praised as a game-changer, it was subsequently speculated that any other actor who would take on the role would be doomed to looking like a pale imitation of Ledger’s iconic take on the character.

Jared Leto, another Oscar-winning actor, tried hard to avoid the inevitable comparisons when he played the Joker in Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, the changes he brought to the character were deemed too extreme and far removed from the Joker of the comics, and fans almost universally rejected the new Joker.

Related: Joker on Track to Beat Venom Box Office Record Following Venice Debut

When it was announced that Todd Philips was rebooting the character with his gritty Joker origin movie, the question of who will be the new Joker was speculated endlessly. The news that Joaquin Pheonix was finalized for the role was met with surprise on a mostly positive note. Pheonix has lately become known for choosing indie, gritty, low-budget projects far removed from the world of big-budget superhero films. But he is also known for being a fascinating performer with a complete commitment to whatever role he takes on.

Finally, after months of endless rumors surrounding the state of the film, it was screened at the Venice Film Festival and immediately received a rapturous welcome, with Pheonix drawing special praise for his turn as the Joker. Every reviewer who has seen the film seems to agree that the actor has spared no effort in embodying the mind and body of Arthur Fleck, a struggling standup comic who is buffeted endlessly by cruelties that exist in society on all sides, prompting him on his journey into darkness to be reborn as the maniacal Joker.

Now it remains to be seen whether the cumulation of praise and good wishes from the industry will translate into a film that manages to do what The Dark Knight did: make a killing at the box office and cement its status in pop culture as not just a great comic book movie, but one of the greatest action-dramas of all time, with a performance that will be remembered for generations and inspire the next actor who dares to take on the role of the Joker. But no pressure! This news comes from ComicBook.com.

Neeraj Chand


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