In a nutshell, just because a movie is dark and disturbing, doesn't mean it's good. 2/5 stars.
Here are some things that were particularly troubling:
*Joker is Bruce Wayne's half brother? Come on. I know the movie led us to believe that Joker's mom was just a crazy person and the whole Thomas Wayne thing was a lie, but then there was that photograph with "Miss Your Smile -TW" to cast doubt. It's a ridiculous premise and I didn't like it one bit.
*The whole climactic scene when Joker is on the late-night talk show was too unbelievable. You've got a guy who admits to triple homicide on live TV, and everyone just sits there? No one freaks out? Robert De Niro just keeps on with the interview? And then Joker shoots the guy in the head on national TV, and the cameras keep rolling? This scene really bothered me, and I actually liked the movie a lot more until this scene.
*Joker references the past when he was locked up in the hospital... and then we never hear anything about it ever again.
Those are three things that stood out from the first watch. There's probably a lot more, but I'm never going to see this movie again. It just didn't do it for me. It seemed like pure pandering to a culture obsessed with mental illness. I know there's a huge segment of society that gets all turned on by dark and disturbing movies, and they think shock value equals good story, but I didn't get there with Joker. Way overrated.
I will say, however, Joaquin Phoenix is an incredible actor and his performance was gripping. He was phenomenal.