Joker Review: Controversial and Enjoyable

M.J. Wilkins, News Co-Editor

With superheroes and comic book movies becoming very popular in recent years, it’s no surprise that Hollywood has decided to make a solo film about one of the most iconic and recognizable villains: the Joker. Unlike Marvel or DC movies that stick to a PG rating, Mr. Todd Phillips’ take on the laughing maniac’s origin story has an R rating. The unconventional comic book movie is obviously not made for children, who are usually the targeted audience for comic book movies. But despite this, “Joker” has gained praise, criticism, and controversy since it was announced.

This movie gives a new and original take on the origin story of Batman’s most recurring enemy. By taking inspiration from many different sources, the crew behind the movie creates a distinctly new perspective on the clown, Gotham, and Batman. Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker has sparked praise from critics and moviegoers including students from our own school.

“Oh, my God,” senior Daniel Shea exclaimed his impression after seeing the movie, “This is a really good movie. Because there was a lot of stuff that I didn’t know about the Joker.” Students who have seen the movie gave raving reviews for the thriller film and explained their thoughts on the origin story in detail.

Another senior, Faith Coulter, expressed her adoration for the movie and said, “The representation of mental illness was very well done while you don’t have too much sympathy for [The Joker].” 

Despite the overwhelming support for the film, it has also sparked some controversy due to the sensitive topics that the movie touches on. Some people think that the movie could possibly insight violence due to the morality and what the Joker can be believed to represent. Due to the shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, there have been concerns about the movie fueling more attacks like the ones in the past. This uneasiness has prompted people to call for the movie not to be played at certain theaters and the FBI to issue a warning about the possible violence that was believed to ensue. 

“It makes sense,” senior Nathan Goulart explains his view on the controversy, “there have been a lot of problems with mental illness and mass shootings. It’s just a movie. It shouldn’t be a big problem on whether the movie is playing or not playing.”

Coulter was in agreement with Goulart.“I think the controversy is appropriate but too much.” Coulter explains, “it’s a movie, he’s an actor. The joker didn’t actually fuel anyone to actually commit any crimes. But the concern is understandable.”

Goulart gave his positive and safe movie-going experience to back up his opinion. “When I went I saw four or five cops there and I felt completely fine, the movie was designed to see the joker in a new way. I would go see it again.”

The film has brought up a few different talking points on mental illness, mass shootings, and our society. As the movie may take inspiration from some other sources like Mr. Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy”, it is able to create its own identity while adding in the love of comic books into its plot. No matter what the reviews may say about the movie and the controversy, you should see the movie for yourself and create your own opinion on the film. If you are an avid fan of dark, gritty films that do a wonderful job confusing and misleading an audience, then you will enjoy “Joker”.