No need for concerns

‘Joker’ isn’t what people made it out to be

By Anika Karody

Hysterical, inappropriate laughter. A cynical villain. That is what I had initially thought about the DC Comics character Joker, until I watched the new movie about him, which is titled “Joker.”

The film premiered on Oct. 4 and follows the psychological transformation of Arthur Fleck, a rejected comedian, into the Joker, and follows his alienation from society. It generated more than $555 million in box office revenues and received fairly positive reviews, but not without its own share of controversy.

Illustration by Anika Karody
‘Joker’ has sparked controversy amongst the families and victims of the Aurora shootings, but continues to fare well at the box office.

Prior to the worldwide release of the film, the victims and families of the 2012 Aurora, CO shooting showed signs of concern, as shooter James Holmes was dressed as the supervillain when he killed 12 and injured 70 during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of the Dark Knight Trilogy films, surrounding the DC Comics character of Batman. Due to this, the U.S. military issued a warning for violence, in case copycat shootings were to ensue.

Now that I have seen “Joker,” I can understand the concern. I was quite perturbed while watching the movie, as the Joker randomly stabs an ex-colleague of his with scissors, and then brutally kills several other people. I do not condone murder, or any kind of violence for that matter. But because the filmmakers are showing us his mental journey, unlike in the other films, I doubt there will be any crimes committed as a result of this film.

I am glad this movie featured Fleck’s psychological struggles, as I saw this movie as a wake-up call for Americans to treat and acknowledge mental health issues.

In the film, Fleck is shown to be repeatedly bullied and let down. 

Instead of addressing his problems, Fleck’s colleague tells him to face them and gives him a gun. Franklin Murray, a Gotham City talk show host makes fun of his conditions. Thomas Wayne, Batman’s billionaire father, treats Fleck and his mother with disregard, after years of her service. 

I found this movie particularly interesting because the Joker is almost always portrayed in a negative light. The Joker is creepy, yes, but he is depicted as a human rather than a monster.

Throughout the film, people never treat him well, and he is depicted to be on seven different kinds of medications. He is a reject. He doesn’t get the girl he likes. He is betrayed by those he trusts.

These are the reasons he becomes a villain, and these are the reasons I feel compelled to empathize with him.