The controversy behind Joker

Samantha Flores, Sports & Health Editor

Joker, a long awaited origin story of Batman’s arch-enemy, came to theatres on October 4th and has started quite the conversation. Directed by Todd Phillips, people are calling for a chaotic Oscar season as the Prince of Crime will compete for a top spot in the prestigious Hollywood awards. It is surprising that in 2019, a comic movie still breaks ground and attracts a large audience. Joker was said to be the most controversial movie this year as it dove into issues surrounding mental health and extreme violence.

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson argued that Joker  possessed an “irresponsible” way of telling the story of a mentally ill man. The movie focused on Arthur Fleck (later Joker) and how he lived with a mental disability that eventually caused him to turn to mass violence. It tells the story of how Arthur went from a party clown who was beaten up in the streets, possessed a disability that made him constantly laugh uncontrollably, and lived with his mentally ill mother to the most feared man in Gotham who was out to kill anyone who made him angry. The movie was set in a time where the economy was suffering and the rich people were hated, and those who hated the rich supported Joker and his murderous personality. The violence in the movie was gruesome, as producers were not afraid of showing gory images of blood and shooting scenes.

Joker is being seen as wrong for portraying a “hero’s journey” for a man who killed aimlessly and was mentally ill. In this day and age, with shootings happening consistently in the United States, was this the best idea for a movie? In New York, it was reported that the audience was clapping as characters in the movie were violently murdered, causing others to become frightened and leave. This has caused an uproar across the nation. Particular theatres have stopped showing the movie, some have placed security outside the doors, and the Colorado theatre where the shooting occurred in 2012 refuses to show the movie. Joker seems like it is promoting violence, as Arthur was seen in the last scene being glorified by the poor people in the town for killing those that angered him. This is scaring people and causing backlash at the production company.

This movie has been quite the hit, making $96 million after its opening weekend. Some say it was an insightful movie on mental illness. Others loved seeing the villain they had watched growing up have his own story and be portrayed in a new way. However, society as a whole is against Joker and what it seems to be promoting. Obviously, the directors behind the movie did not predict this type of reaction. With recent shootings and the fear behind them, this movie was not a good idea to put out. Joker was a very successful movie of 2019, but it also began a nation-wide discussion of what it truly stands for and if it should be continued to be shown in theatres.