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Joker Sets The World On Fire In Stunning New IMAX Poster

Some men just want to watch the cars burn.

A new IMAX poster has been released for the upcoming Warner Brothers/DC standalone Joker, and the spectacularly rendered one-sheet features the titular villain having a grand old time in the midst of some apparent civil unrest. (via Bloody Disgusting)

We must say that Joker's marketing team is killing it. The trailers have given us a great idea of the film's paranoid, unnerving tone with out revealing too much, and the posters that have so far been released have placed their focus squarely on the most compelling images from those trailers. This one-sheet, however, is a little different: it looks for all the world like it might actually have hung in the lobby of a movie theater in the late '70s or early '80s, right around the time period in which Joker is set.

In case you've been hiding under a rock, director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix's Joker promises to be a comic book movie unlike any other we have yet seen. The R-rated feature will share no connection with the other films of the franchise formerly known as the DC Extended Universe and recently rebranded Worlds of DC, and Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver have crafted a take on the origin of the iconic DC villain that is wholly original, influenced only loosely by the comics.

A much more obvious influence on the film: the works of Martin Scorsese, who was at one point attached as a producer on the film before departing to work on his upcoming feature The Irishman. Phillips has made no secret of the fact that he made Joker in part as a response to what he felt was a dearth of gritty, compelling character studies of the type for which Scorsese is famous; in particular, the flick remixes several plot elements from Scorsese's 1983 film The King of Comedy, which starred Robert De Niro as a failed stand-up comedian attempting to ingratiate himself to his idol, a talk show host portrayed by the late, great Jerry Lewis.

In Joker, Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a rent-a-clown and failed stand-up comic who aspires to appear on the stage of talk show host Murray Franklin, who is portrayed by none other than De Niro. Judging by the trailers, Phoenix's characterization of Fleck is also pretty strongly reminiscent of Travis Bickle, the withdrawn loner memorably portrayed by De Niro in the 1976 classic Taxi Driver. For that matter, it's pretty easy to read Joker's IMAX poster as an homage to the original one-sheet for that film. See if you agree:

Yes, we think we might just be onto something there.

Joker has sparked more conversation than perhaps any film so far this year, a pretty impressive feat considering that it hasn't even been released yet. Following its screening at the Venice Film Festival, it received an eight-minute standing ovation and took home the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion; many critics have hailed it as a masterpiece, others have been not nearly so impressed, and yet others have found a film which identifies so closely with its violent, loner protagonist to be nothing short of dangerous.

The flick has also predictably ignited a more benign type of debate, over whether or not Phoenix's performance could live up to or even exceed the impossibly high standard set by Heath Ledger in 2008's The Dark Knight. Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his turn as the Clown Prince of Crime, and a great deal of the buzz around Joker has centered on the possibility of Phoenix following suit (we must remind you, on the strength of the trailers alone).

All of which is to say that Joker may be many things, but one thing it will not be is ignored. All signs point to debates, from the purely academic to the egregiously nerdy, raging around the film for years to come; raging like, say, a car fire that just won't die down. We will be first in line when the flick hits theaters on October 4, and you can count on us to bring you our signature blend of expert analysis in the days to follow.