“Joker” Movie Sparks Concerns of Violence
October 19, 2019
The infamous Joker of DC Comics has appeared in Batman, The Dark Knight, Suicide Squad, and now in his own movie, Joker. Different from the Joker’s other movies, this one is based solely on him and his origin story. Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is a failed comedian who gradually becomes more mentally ill throughout the movie due to bullying and isolation from society. Fleck eventually turns to violence to cope, turning into the mad criminal known as the Joker. Since the movie first premiered in Venice and Toronto, it has received mixed reviews.
To some viewers, Fleck is presented as the “nice guy,” who is disregarded by society and by the end, is inspired by violence. Many viewers and critics believe that the concept of the movie will be perceived differently by a variety of people. To many, there is no message—it is only a fictional story. However, if a message is recognized, people believe this message could cause threatening actions. Violent media could propagate violent behavior. Viewers could become deeply confused searching for a hidden lesson that is not there.
In 2012, in a city center theater in Aurora, Canada, there was a midnight viewing of the film The Dark Knight Rises that turned into a mass shooting. In the weeks leading up to the release of Joker, posts on social media led people to believe this act would be repeated during the opening of the Joker. The US Military sent out an email warning people of potential risk. In consideration of these worries, the NYPD and LAPD increased their presence in movie theaters. Warner Bros. responded to a letter from the family member of a victim of the Aurora shooting by stating, “Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
Joker has gotten a variety of responses from viewers. The reactions to the movie depend on one’s mindset going into the screening. It is all about the type of person that the viewer is—what kind of movies are intriguing to them, and which are not so appealing. The controversial movie has still managed to hit an October box office record of $96 million during its opening weekend.