A villain finally emerges in Joker’s creepy new trailer

Warner Bros. Pictures is hoping that Joker brings yet another Academy Award home for an actor playing DC Comics’ “Clown Prince of Crime,” and the final trailer for the film goes all-in on the drama just ahead of the movie’s festival premiere.

Set to make its debut at the Venice Film Festival, Joker is directed by The Hangover filmmaker Todd Phillips, and stars three-time Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix as the titular Batman villain. Reports (along with the film’s cast and creative team) suggest that might be where the similarities with the iconic comic-book villain end, though, as the film is described as a stand-alone project not connected to any of the prior or future films in WB’s superhero cinematic universe.

Phoenix portrays struggling comedian Arthur Fleck in the film, which follows his descent into madness — and eventually, the criminal underworld of Gotham City — as he’s shunned by society and unable to find his place in a cruel world. The film’s impressive supporting cast includes Academy Award winner Robert De Niro as a talk-show host who plays a key role in Arthur’s evolution into Joker, along with Deadpool 2 actress Zazie Beetz (“Deadpool 2”) as Arthur’s love interest. Frances Conroy and Marc Maron also play supporting roles.

The final trailer for the film offers the most extensive look at the film so far, teasing both the events that bring Arthur to the edge and the full, clown-filled climax of his descent.

Joker is being positioned as a potential Academy Award contender in the lead-up to the film’s release, with premieres lined up at the Venice Film Festival — making it the first comic book movie to do so — and later screening at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. If Phoenix does indeed earn an Academy Award nomination, he’ll be the second actor to do so for playing the character following Heath Ledger’s posthumous Academy Award for his performance in The Dark Knight.

Earlier this year, Black Panther became the first comic book movie to be nominated in the coveted Best Picture category at the Academy Awards.

Joker is scheduled to hit theaters in wide release October 4.

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