When the prospect of a movie exploring the rise of Batman’s arch nemesis The Joker was first revealed, fans were reasonably skeptical. It’s rarely a good thing to know too much about a villain, and that’s especially true when you’re dealing with a character who is made infinitely more interesting by having an uncertain past.
But after the teaser trailer for Joker arrived, fans have been more intrigued than ever to see what director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix are bringing to Gotham City with the villain’s origin story. And now we know for sure that this won’t be one for the younger Batman fans out there. The filmmaker has confirmed that we’ll be seeing an R-rated Joker movie this fall.
We don’t know if this is Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck getting ready for one of his regular clown jobs or if this is him preparing to go out as The Joker for the first time. But the photo isn’t the most interesting part of this Instagram post anyway. Honestly, many had already assumed that the movie would probably be R-rated based on the teaser trailer. Clearly Todd Philliips thought the same thing. But this is the first official confirmation we’ve gotten from the director himself.
Joker joins a rare group of superhero movies that have gone for the R-rating from the MPAA, mostly because they’re rarely box office hits. Deadpool and the sequel that followed is probably the best example, as well as the acclaimed Wolverine spin-off capper Logan. But Watchmen and Kick-Ass are prime, semi-recent examples as well. Other non-superhero comic book movies that landed an R-rating include Sin City, 300 and V for Vendetta.
Where Joker lands with fans and critics remains to be seen, but again, that first teaser trailer turned a lot of heads and knocked the skepticism down a couple pegs. Hopefully Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips has something here that knocks our socks off. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brian Tyree Henry, Bill Camp and Marc Maron. Joker arrives in theaters on October 4, 2019.