Yesterday, the fiance convinced me to see Joker with him at our nearest cinema. I didn’t watch the Joker trailer when it was released because I wasn’t sure if I was interested in hearing Joker’s backstory. The Joker is one of Batman’s villains that takes his treachery a little too far i.e. the Killing Joke story line which I pretend isn’t canon. There’s also been controversy based on statements from director Todd Phillips leading me to want to stay away from seeing this film. However, Joker is surprisingly good and Joaquin Phoenix does an excellent job bringing Joker to life.
Joker opens with Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix) being beaten up by a group of teenagers. Additionally, Arthur is mocked for his laughter at inappropriate times and how he lacks comedic timing. A stand up comedy clip is picked up and played on the Murray show where the host, Murray Franklin (played by Robert De Niro) mocks him openly on live TV. These scenarios along with his personal battles with being a caretaker to his mentally ill mother, are what contribute to Arthur’s descent into madness.
Joker’s release doesn’t come without controversy. As I mentioned, Todd Phillips made a statement about why he chose to abandon comedic movies to direct Joker. He said, “go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture.” If your comedy is utilized in a way to be homophobic, transphobic or being offensive to a group of people, it’s not funny. There are plenty of comedic movies that don’t poke fun at a group of people. I disagree with what Phillips said and I think his point of view represents a growing group of people. The social justice movement is all about making people feel welcome to be themselves, yet there are opponents to this and Todd Phillips comment’s are appealing to those individuals.
The other controversy surrounding the Joker movie is the graphic violence. There are many white men in society who have committed mass shootings, so is it worth it for this film to be made? Showing a white man losing his grip on his sanity? My response is I believe this Joker film isn’t representative of this idea. The white, male shooters in these mass shootings are motivated by Donald Trump’s white supremacist rhetoric. The Joker helped create a political movement surrounding how the poor citizens in Gotham aren’t being taken cared of versus the rich who live lavishly. I’m not saying he’s correct in his ways, but I don’t believe the Joker is a white supremacist which is more along the political views among these mass shootings in our society.
Another point I want to discuss is how the Wayne family is portrayed. Usually, the Wayne family is seen as philanthropists and how they are one of the nicest families in Gotham. In the Joker movie, Thomas Wayne is a jack ass. He wants to “fix” the city, but also condemns poor people for being poor. It’s another side to the Wayne family that’s worth exploring. It’s not meant to make the Joker a nice person, but to demonstrate how rich people are profiting off poor people and not paying a living wage. This addition into the movie is something I liked because it has real world meaning with the divide between the upper, middle and lower class.
Joker is a movie I never thought I would like. I wish DC had their shit together when it comes to their movie universe. Both me and my fiance think Joaquin would be able to hold his own going up against Batman even if it’s Robert Pattinson. Despite the controversy, I do recommend seeing this in theaters to determine your own opinion on the film. Let’s discuss in the comments once you have seen it.