I watched Joker the other night and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I think it was a good movie. Maybe. It had all the collective parts of a good movie, but something felt missing.

I could feel the influences coming at me almost every other shot Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, American Psycho. Maybe a little Requiem for a Dream here and there. There were many scenes that I thought were incredible. But I didn't quite get what this movie added to the Batman story or even to the culture as a whole.

The Joker's origin story has always been a bit hazy, mysterious, perhaps deliberately so. Maybe the problem I had was that it tried to nail that story down so clearly. Here is why the Joker is unstable, here is why the Joker is a villain, he is actually a sympathetic character with mental illness, who went off of his medication. Okay...I guess that makes sense. But part of what is likeable about the Joker, the most iconic villain of all time, is that he seems like he's having a good time doing terrible things, we only really start to feel that near the very end and by then, the tragedies that he has endured are still fresh in our minds. Jaoquin's performance was fantastic, most of the cinematography was great, I liked the music as well. I'm just not sure I liked the movie. Maybe I'm not supposed to.

The tone was soooo dark. But is that the end goal of a superhero movie, just more darkness to legitimize the content. Did it need to take place in the DC universe at all? The parts involving the Wayne family seemed tacked on. Did we need to see Bruce's parents get killed? Couldn't this just have been Taxi Driver: The Clown Version? Or a stand alone Joker origin story. I'm still wrestling with this. On technical points alone it's Certified Fresh, but on gut reaction, I'm not so sure. And I think gut has more weight on this scale.