Joker: Another Reason to Fear Clowns

I can’t put this movie in a box, it’s all over the place. It’s far from terrible, but I’m not going to say it’s a masterpiece. 2019’s Joker is a solid film, with some strong caveats.

This is an adults only film. There’s no nudity or sex, but this movie also depicts on-screen killing. There’s no cutaway. You get wide angle shots of murder, violence and blood in an un-stylized fashion.

Please don’t take your children to see this movie.

If your only exposure to the Joker character was by Romero, Ledger, or Leto, you need to double check the comics you purchase for your children.

This movie presents the character in his most psychotic, close to the worst stories written about him in the comic books. The characterization of the The Joker has flip-flopped throughout the years. Sometimes he’s comedic and harmless, and other times he’s a complete psychopath.

The Joker in this movie is far from innocent. Sometimes the film feels like a horror movie. One minute it feels like American Psycho and then it flips to something more akin to John Carpenter’s Halloween. The violence is extremely raw. It’s the birth of a villain, it’s most grotesque and tragic form.

If you didn’t know, comic books get exceptionally dark at times. Because it’s a relatively niche medium of entertainment, writers have told some insane stories throughout the years; many that include the Joker. The Joker once beat a kid with a crow bar to death. He shot a woman point blank, then let his goons rape her while she bled out.

SoShould you go out to see the new Joker?
Sure. Even if you’re not a comic book fan, because this isn’t a comic book movie. It feels like the filmmakers dusted off an old gritty script and slapped clown makeup all over it’s lead character.

I literally described to Joaquin at one point… Look at this as a ay to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film.

Todd Phillips -Director of “Joker”

In many ways, I feel the comic book elements to the film derails it, because it’s grounded in a solid sense of realism.

I have only two major issues with the film.
Political protest is exaggerated in the film. It’s the kind of imagery that provokes mainstream media to describe protesters as violent rioters; even the protesters signs are laughable. Joker is political in the most basic way. Framing the working class as a mob.
And lastly, the comic book elements of the film are kind of forced. But that’s a testament to how grounded the movie feels. For example, when they refer the city as Gotham, it breaks the immersion for me. They feel the need to remind me that I’m watching the birth Batman’s arch nemesis.
Other than that, it plays less like a blockbuster and more like an awards contender.

This is the birth of a new genre of comic book movie.

Hollywood is becoming more comfortable adapting the darker elements of comic book movies.
There’s some chatter suggesting that this film is socially irresponsible. That it might inspire violence in America. That’s stupid. It’s as dumb as saying video games cause violence.

At it’s core, Joker is a cautionary tale.

Don’t give guns to crazy people, stop de-funding social programs, and let’s try to be nice to one another.
The death in this movie was by no means justified, but clearly was avoidable. I was expecting something more grandiose and diabolical, but at the end of the day I was presented an intimate tale of a man who should’ve been watched more carefully by society. Kind of mirroring the world we live in (in America), and that’s what makes people uncomfortable.

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