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‘The People’s Joker’ Review: Trans Comic Finds Her Truth in Unauthorized Batman Parody

Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic In the DC Extended Universe, it’s not the villains who have identity issues, but the heroes. Bruce Wayne watched his parents get murdered, adopted a teenage sidekick and now spends his nights cosplaying as the creature everyone associates with vampires. Kal-El also saw his parents die and goes through life trying to pass as the earthling Clark Kent, wearing spandex under his work clothes, just in case. These are not the traits of well-adjusted normies, and as such, there’s enormous subversive appeal in seeing trans artist Vera Drew turn such iconic characters inside-out in the illicitly made marvel that is “The People’s Joker.” Coming from a place of deep fan love and equally profound institutional mistrust, Drew’s anarchic feature-length parody impishly treads the line of fair use, so much so that the helmer pulled the film from the Toronto Film Festival after its raucous Midnight Madness premiere, citing “rights issues.” But what did she expect? The irreverent underground project reimagines the Joker’s origin story as a queer coming-of-age/coming-to-terms narrative, using a mishmash of styles: mostly crude live-action of the kind you expect from public-access programming (shot against greenscreens, then composited with rudimentary CG sets), embellished with various forms of homemade animation.
variety.com

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