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Even if the Joker is one of the most recognizable villains in comic book history, the terrorizing clown has never starred in his own, solo film—until now. The first trailer for the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker was finally released, and it looks as dark and grim as you’d expect. Throughout the comics, the Joker has had a varying backstory, but this film focuses on a man named Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), and his transformation into the villain we know best. In the trailer, we see an emaciated Phoenix taking a beating until he finally cracks. This trailer may look action packed, but it’s ultimately a character piece and will more likely play like a thriller or drama.
Yes, Phoenix is the protagonist of the Martin Scorsese-produced project, but Joker features a handful of other standouts to round out the cast, including Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Brian Tyree Henry. Todd Phillips of the Hangover films takes the helm as director of Joker, which hits theaters October 4.