Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Final Trailer is Uncomfortably Creepy -- and Good

The trailer for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie is finally here.

We’ve seen snippets and on-set photos from the film for about a year. With each released photo and snippet, we’ve become more and more excited. This trailer for Joker did not disappoint. It’s no secret that everyone who plays Joker will be compared to Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Jared Leto’s Joker seems to divide many fans. And while the trailers for Joker 2019 are all we have until October, we think Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker portrayal will be legendary.

Warner Bros’ Joker film is an origin story, moving away from the existing DC Universe lineup to focus on Batman’s fiercest adversary. There are still media outlets referring to Joker as a superhero film and it’s anything but. While DCU films tend to be darker than their MCU counterparts, director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper have taken a drastically different direction with Joker altogether. This is a psychological thriller.

Arthur Fleck is a clown-for-hire in Gotham City who just can’t catch a break from life in 1981. His passion is stand-up comedy, except no one finds him funny. He spends most of his time tending to his dying mother. He gets beat up in an alley. He gets shut down for making a woman’s child laugh on a bus. Late night talk show host Franklin (Robert De Niro) mocks him on live television. His therapist tells him that “This will be our last meeting” and Arthur is clearly already at the end of his rope because his therapist has not been listening to him at all. His descent into madness was inevitable.

Although Warner Bros said that this Joker movie is completely independent from the DCU, we get to see Thomas Wayne (played by Brett Cullen) punch Arthur Fleck in the face. We can’t help but wonder if this could be a separate universe altogether.

The Joker movie is inspired by three classic Martin Scorsese films: Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and The King of Comedy. And you can see homages to those classic films in several scenes in the trailer, including Arthur looking at a clown in the back seat of a taxi as it drives by a la Taxi Driver. And the fact that Robert De Niro is playing a character similar to Rupert Pupkin, as in his character in the film The King of Comedy is definitely paying tribute to Scorsese.

Also starring in Joker is Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2, Atlanta) as Sophie Dumond. While it’s clear from the trailer that she is Arthur’s love interest, it’s unclear whether she will be an accomplice or victim of Joker’s chaos. This is a Joker origin story, so we are not expecting a Harley Quin or Joker and Harley Quin-like relationship.

Joker hits theaters October 4.