Ah youre one of those guys... go into a movie with so much preconception that you cant enjoy it for what it is.
I knew I would get flamed for posting against the grain, but I think it's important to be a voice of dissent on this one. After all, there are two sides to a controversy (JOKER has one). Feel free to label me. For the wrong reason, I might add.
I just went to see the movie because it was out, not because I looked forward to it or had any expectations, just like I did with AD ASTRA. (Lame story and non-resolution, btw.) I don't have a lot of stake in it. I don't care that much for cartoony Avengers or Justice League series, but they are amusing time killers. The kind of movies I like are ALIEN, TERMINATOR, and NEAR DARK.
JOKER crossed a line for me. It's possibly the movie that the people in Colorado were fearing it might be. It reminds me of the mentally ill shooters that make up the news as of late. It reminds me of ANTIFA and class warfare. The redeeming value is its message about the importance of social services for those in need.
I really liked BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT. I did not like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, where Bane stokes an Occupy Wall Street type of movement. The Joker stokes a similar "kill the rich" movement.
All of that aside, I like a good villain story. A well written character will have you liking him, when you probably shouldn't. The Joker's character tone is similar to Travis Bickle, in TAXI DRIVER. Both are troubled outcasts that concoct a plan of attack. The Joker has very little plan; he falls into it. Travis' setup is pretty amazing, having the multiple guns and a wrist slider. He tries to commit his sin and is thwarted in the assassination attempt. Instead, he uses that firepower to free the hooker (Jodi Foster) from her pimp goons. For the wrong reasons, he does something right.
The characters in these two movies are similar, but Joker has no confidante or kinship character to protect of fight for. I didn't feel for him, personally, aside from him being randomly picked on. I didn't feel the motivations in his character.
Examples of dark characters I did like? Early Grayce (Brad Pitt) in KALIFORNIA. What made him work was his relationship to David Duchkovny's character. (kinship confidante). I actually wanted Robert De Niro's character to escape, in HEAT.