Every Movie Is the Joker Now, Huh?

Every Movie Is the Joker Now, Huh?
Screenshot:Walt Disney Studios (Fair Use)

This is a Hot Topic mall goth’s fever dream. Gritty villain origin stories are at an all-time high—people are fascinated by perceived madness, or at least, rooting for the bad guy—which explains how pop culture has arrived at this particular moment. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Studios released the first trailer of its forthcoming One Hundred and One Dalmatians prequel, Cruella, which traces the origin of Cruella de Vil’s cruelty. It looks like the Joker, and will no doubt inspire comparisons to the many films made about the Joker, because all movies are the Joker now. Or Harley Quinn, if Quinn didn’t love dogs.

In the Cruella trailer, a poorly accented but impeccably costumed Emma Stone arrives at Liberty department store in London (despite the fact that she is clearly a Harrods gal) before teasing a transformation—becoming “psycho,” as Stone narrates. From there, Cruella’s descent into devilishness is marked by car chases and crashes and arson, images of Dalmatians running wild, and valiant attempts at an evil cackle. Because of that, and judging solely by the trailer, the movie looks goofy as hell. Stone, a remarkably talented actor, can’t seem to pull off Helena Bonham Carter’s or Angelina Jolie’s brand of evil—her sinister stares read sad or inquisitive at best.

The world, however, looks gorgeous, and I’ll certainly watch for ghoulish style cues, but something tells me this movie is going to make the most fashionable and despicable maniac in Disney’s filmography uncool, and that’s a buzzkill.

Prove me wrong!

Cruella will become available May 28, 2021, probably on Disney+, and probably for $900 or however much they got people to shell out for Mulan. Happy viewing.

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