The premiere of Joker at Venice Film Festival received an eight-minute standing ovation on Saturday night.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s nemesis and directed by Todd Phillips, the new movie is already sparking awards buzz, with Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera saying it is headed “straight to the Oscars”.
The Independent’s reviewer Geoffrey Macnab described the film as “powerful and original” and said Phoenix plays the character “in a way that makes him seem both sympathetic and very creepy”.
Variety’s film critic also praised the movie, writing: “Phoenix is astonishing as a mentally ill geek who becomes the killer-clown Joker in Todd Phillips’ neo-Taxi Driver knockout: the rare comic-book movie that expresses what’s happening in the real world.”
A review in Empire added: “As Arthur/Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is astonishing… having lost weight for the role, he looks thin, frail, hungry. Shadows carve out his exposed bones. His physicality is precise – the way he moves, shuffles, runs, sits, smokes, shrinks. His usual intensity is on full display and it’s captivating, even overwhelming in moments.”
IndieWire, meanwhile, described the film as “unquestionably the boldest reinvention of ‘superhero’ cinema since The Dark Knight” and The Guardian, which gave Joker five stars, called it a “gloriously daring and explosive film”.