I don’t mind, in concept, that JOKER extensively quotes other movies, particularly those directed by Martin Scorsese in the 70s and 80s; remixing existing works of art can be a great starting place for something new. Unfortunately, Joker is like a high school essay that’s 90 percent block quotes: It doesn’t *do* anything interesting with the inspirations it quotes, or the social issues it feigns to be in conversation with. The rise of the Joker, as a character, is an ending in search of a reason, and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is big, but rarely interesting as the script lurches toward the birth of a villain. The one thing I really liked about the film was its use of light and color: Unlike almost every Marvel movie, you could pluck a random frame out of Joker and admire it as art — and, fortunately, you wouldn’t have to sit through the dialogue while doing so. I know that that visual mastery counts for something, but how this movie won the Golden Lion at Cannes and was nominated for Best Picture escapes me. I guess I just don’t get the joke.