I’m an old enough nerd to remember when the first X-Men movie came out in theaters. At that time, comic books were not the number one driver of all things in popular culture. Bryan Singer’s X-Men certainly featured all the comic’s beloved heroes and villains, but there did seem like there was a concerted effort to tamp down some of their comic-book-ness. Everyone dressed in black. There was no spandex. The story was grounded in weighty real-world themes like prejudice and vengeance. It was the X-Men you knew, but watered down just a bit. It was a rum and coke, not a shot of gin. X-Men: Apocalypse, in comparison, looks like a bottle of Beefeater.
Jennifer Lawrence was 24 when she shot Joy. Her character, Joy Mangano, was 34 when she invented the Miracle Mop and became one of the first stars of the QVC network. This fact remains inescapable throughout Joy. Lawrence remains watchable in Joy because, as one of our best young actors, she can’t help but be watchable. But she’s totally miscast as a divorced mother of two who’s been repeatedly beaten down by life’s disappointments. This part was meant for the Jennifer Lawrence of a 2025, not the one of 2015.