“Joker” is a phenomenal movie in a multitude of ways, asserts Rex Reed of Observer. First and foremost, Joaquin Phoenix, an already impressive actor, delivers what is likely his best-ever performance. He fully captures the Joker’s mental anguish, delight, humor and then masochism, in a completely new and original iteration of the character. Add to this, the amazing directing by Todd Philips and breathtaking cinematography, and it becomes a true masterpiece. Harsh, at-times uncomfortable to watch and heartbreaking, "Joker” also makes some astute social commentary, skillfully capturing many issues that society is currently grappling with.
Joaquin Phoenix’s amazing acting is undeniable. Still, “Joker” falls disappointingly short when trying to deliver its message, holds Karen Han of Polygon. An initially strong setup and character development fail to deliver a solid conclusion. It makes a huge effort to say something meaningful, with strong inspiration from Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” but it doesn’t. In the end, it’s just a superhero movie that features Batman’s origin story, which brought very little to Joker’s own arc. The film fails in its attempt to deliver profound messages or make some enlightened social commentary. Amazing acting and cinematography aren't enough to make it a great movie.