Phoenix puts in a great, transformative performance in to a film that's narcissistic, disturbing, stylish but ultimately soulless and not very well written. The film is 'edgy' for the sake of being edgy, it has delusions of grandeur because it has the dressing of a DC legacy character draped over it. But ultimately it's an 'else world' story that doesn't really do much. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve, it skirts far too close to essentially being a remake of Taxi Driver and King of Comedy, and ultimately left me with an uncomfortable feeling leaving the cinema.
Maybe I brought in my own bias and prejudice but Joker is not a character I should feel pity for! And although I believe the character itself is a great concept, it's not someone who should be celebrated or worshiped like some sort of idol (as he is at the end of this film). With better writing the final 3rd of this film should have shown the Gotham protestors disgusted with just how far and villainous Arthur becomes. He certainly shouldn't have been rescued and celebrated as a 'hero to the working-class'. Remove all the DC/Joker references (that this relies on heavily) and you're left with a great-looking, well-made, poorly written, emotionally hollow film, with obvious twists, that thinks it's saying something profound and that it's way better than it actually is. But it's not... Joker is unfortunately a movie thats seen better movies that made me feel I could be watching instead.