With Joker‘s trailer released on Wednesday, Joaquin Phoenix has officially joined the ranks of memorable takes on the character, following in the illustrious footsteps of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Creed Bratton.
Maybe it’s just how my mind works (I mean, my reaction to the Aladdin trailer was to compare Will Smith’s Genie to Tobias Fünke), but after watching the first look at Todd Phillips’ new film, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to The Office‘s 2008 Halloween episode when Dunder Mifflin’s worst — and possibly homeless — employee dressed up as the legendary villain. Apologies to Dwight and Kevin who had their own spins on Ledger’s Dark Knight performance, but Creed gets the Dundie for Best Joker.
So the latest EW investigation aims to definitively decide if Creed or Phoenix’s Joker is more terrifying. And, luckily, you don’t have to go to http://www.creedthoughts.gov.www/creedthoughts to find the answer.
“My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face,” says Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) in the trailer. “She told me that I had a purpose — to bring laughter and joy into the world.” Well, Arthur, then maybe you should crack a joke or tow because I didn’t laugh once during this! Meanwhile, Creed is a guaranteed laugh. He’s the only character in TV history with a 100% make-you-crack-up rate.
The Creepy Laugh
While Creed has caused millions to laugh, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen him laugh, which is a bit creepy in itself. So he never stood a chance here, especially with Phoenix landing on a mix of clown and Gilbert Gottfried with his laugh.
While I’m haunted by the thought of the Joker being a master at DDR, Phoenix wins just for the sheer amount of dancing he does in the trailer, whether it’s with his mother (sweet and creepy) or possibly honoring Ledger with a seemingly 10 Things I Hate About You-inspired number (just sweet).
With Creed dressing up as Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight, Phoenix gets points for originality since he’s created a different look than the previous iterations. But, by the end of the trailer, Phoenix’s Joker is almost too put together. I prefer my Joker to be a bit weathered with a rough DIY makeup job.
Their Greatest Crime
To be fair, we don’t exactly know what criminal acts Phoenix’s character will commit in Joker. Well, besides forcing some kid that may or may not be Bruce Wayne to smile. But could anything really top dealing drugs, trafficking endangered animal meats, stealing LSD from the military, killing the real Creed Bratton, faking his own death, and — worst of all — setting up poor Debbie to be fired over the watermark disaster, then collecting money from his coworkers to help her out, only to actually keep it for himself. I mean, who is the real Clown Prince of Crime here?
The Final Verdict
I’m going to be honest: Phoenix never stood a chance.
To celebrate Creed’s victory, here is a delightful 12 minutes of him putting a smile on that face.
Joker opens in theaters on Oct. 4.