On the one hand this is a tale about how one of the most famous supervillains came about. On the other it's a harrowing psychological study of how damaged, maladjusted, and ignored young men can become radicalized and destructive in urban, modern societies. As centered around Joaquin Phoenix' all-encompassing performance, with all its quirks and mannerisms and all its range and depth, Joker is a more profound human analysis than has come out of Hollywood in a long, long time. Taxi Driver springs to mind. Director Todd Phillips delivers solid craftmanship sprinkled with artistic merit. He maintains a tasteful balance between keeping his film within the Gotham universe and giving it a realistic, grounded substructure. Rarely has an antihero evoked more emotion than Joaquin Phoenix' title-creation does here. His joker is everything that Heath Ledger's joker was and more. It's one of the very best acting performances ever captured on film.