Joaquin Phoenix puts on a happy face in disturbing first trailer for ‘Joker’

It's no laughing matter.

BATMAN FANS have been given a first glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix’s hotly-anticipated Joker movie – and it doesn’t disappoint.

Joker centres on the iconic DC Comics arch villain and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen and the first trailer has just landed.

It’s been directed by Todd Phillips – a filmmaker best known for The Hangover comedies – and looks set to mark a return to the gritty realism of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.

Phillips’ film will serve as exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society and destined to become arguably Batman’s most iconic foe.

Written by Phillips alongside Scott Silver, the movie is being pitched as both a gritty character study and broader cautionary tale with Phoenix taking centre stage.

Phoenix had fairly sizeable shoes to fill as the Joker, given the acclaim that greeted Heath Ledger’s stunning performance as the character in Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

Since then Jared Leto has tried and failed to replicate some of that magic with his own twist on the character in the lamentable Suicide Squad film.

Thankfully, the initial signs are good for this latest rendition of the comic book character.

Phoenix appears to be taking a more grounded but no less disturbing approach, with Fleck depicted as troubled and mentally fragile man worn down by the unforgiving world around him.

He’s in good company too with Robert De Niro set to co-star as part of a cast that includes Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Shea Whigham, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge and Josh Pais.

A darkly lit, brooding tale that is quickly shaping up to be everything fans hope for and more, Joker lands in cinemas on October 4th, 2019.

It’s certainly no laughing matter.

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