“What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash?…. You get what you f**king deserve!” Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) the Joker, says as he pulls out a revolver and shoots his celebrity idol, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), and celebrates with a little dance as the audience runs and shouts in fear.
This scene was shocking. I watched Joker in theaters on October 3rd, 2019. Watching the film was one of intrest, as I was expecting something far too familiar from the movie. It seems everyone has already forgotten that Joker wasn’t this years first “dark” comic book film, that title goes to Brightburn, but honestly Joker doesn’t feel like a comic book movie.
The movie explores the deteriorating mind of one Arthur Fleck, as he starts to loose everything he has. He loses his job, his dignity, his trust. He also loses his sense of self, and a sense of purpose. The movie, directed by Todd Phillips (Director of such films as The Hangover), is something akin to a miracle. A film that shouldn’t exiat, but does (see also Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse).
The movie, as great as it is, is not the thing thats being talked about though. Rather news publications are labeling this as an inspiration for “alt-right incel violence,” yet the film itself is not one of political matters. The man himself assures his celebrity idol (before he kills him) that his clown makeup stunt is not one of political statement but a personal statement.
The protesters only start a movement after an accident that was committed by the Joker. He defended himself from three bankers whom worked for running mayor and billionaire extraordinaire, Thomas Wayne. The protesters violently riot through the streets of Gotham crashing cars, startinng fires, trashing stores, fighting police, and some even commiting murders all because one man shot three men hurting him.
Yes Joker had killed two of those men in self defense, and the third in fear of being caught, but he also killed his mom, his co-worker, and the talk show host. He’s a bad guy. A villain. What the news media outlets don’t understand is that the movie is a criticism of those who violently protest in defense of horrible actions. You as a viewer are supposed to understand that Joker is not a man to be sympathized and those who follow in his action are not the good guys. Nobody is the good guy. There’s just a grey area and some parts are darker than the others.
The real villain in this film is the society (yes I said it shut up). The society that inspires the protesters to riot. The society that brings a mentally ill man on stage just to belittle him for his problems. The society that allows for a young adopted child to be abused. The society that made the Joker, by not letting him make himself.
Joker is not a man to be sympathized with, but the people he killed, the rich upper class men who beat up on a mentally ill man struggling to contain a problem, his crazy mother who adopted him and allowed him to be abused, his coworker who manipulated him and got him fired from a job he loved, the talk show host who brought him onto the show just to belittle him, Thomas and Martha Wayne (They aren’t killed by his hand but he influcend the murder). They aren’t supposed to be sympathized with either. Its a bitter comeuppance when they each meet their demise.
Joker is not a story of a man who inspires violence, but a story of how we find reasons to commit our own violence based on others actions. Every time we get another news report of a mass shooting, it tells others “Hey, if you want attention, this is how you get it!” (Disclaimer; more than just media factor into mass shootings, such as gun control, mental problems, personal problems, and lack of observation and awareness.) The movie screams “Don’t protest in the name of violence” which is the exact opposite of what news outlets and critics of the movie believe is going to inspire the viewers.
The movie itself is good, the controversy and conspiracy behind it is a joke. The fear mongering behind it, has caused audience to question theaters about the security behind the film, it personally caused me a panic attack when my father informed me the theater was being evacuated, for it to be in reality nothing but a power outage. People shouldn’t be scared to see a movie because of something other than the movie. In the words of the mad man himself “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”
If you are seeing the Joker its still good to ensure your saftey but theres no need to make people afraid to see a movie just because you think some idiot is going to waltz in and spray the theater with bullets. You’re saftey and experience is a virtue when entering a theater from both the security and the staff. So there’s no need to worry about seeing another comic book movie in theaters.