The “Joker” Controversy: Is this movie too gratuitous with violence?


The Joker movie faced heavy criticism weeks before it even hit the big screen. something that would put a smile on the Jokers face if he was real.

Anyone who is even remotely connected with current pop culture and news has most likely heard of the movie “Joker.” It’s been surrounded by controversy weeks before (and after its release) into theaters. But as the film continues to climb in the box offices, mainstream media has started to shift their views towards it in a somewhat self-deprecating way.

The mainstream media seems rather desperate for one of two things to happen to this film. They either want it to fail at the box office or lead to some mass tragedy that can then use to back up their claims about it.

“‘It’s way too terrifying.’ ‘Joker’ viewers around the world walk out of movie theaters and urge cinemas to ban the ultra-violent film saying it glamorizes gun crime and deals with mental health issues in a ‘triggering’ way,” wrote the Daily Mail.

“‘Joker’ movie worries families of mass shooting victims,” NBC News reported.

“‘Joker’ is under fire for using a famous song by a convicted pedophile,” Thrillist, an online media website, wrote.

The list of articles painting the film in this light is long and very exact, but the central theme remains the same. The mainstream media views this movie as a dangerous film that has the potential to incite violence.

Now, if you asked any of these news organizations if they wanted ‘Joker’ to help produce some massive tragedy, they would come to deny it. But, while that might be true on the surface, deep down subconsciously, it seems that mass media does want this film to do just that.

“No, I don’t think the movie sympathized with a mass shooting because a) it’s a movie, and b) it takes place in a fictional universe,” senior Ryan Patterson said after seeing the movie.

“Joker” does take place in a fictional universe, but it’s ability to mirror our own in a way that no other movie of the superhero genre has done before. Like any good mirror, it should show each person something different but similar when looked into. For example, someone who deals with depression might relate to the themes of mental illness, while someone who feels primarily lonely in life might relate to the topics of abandonment.

The problem is that when these massive media corporations look into this mirror, they’re instead met with an ugly sight. One that shows that the way these gigantic media corporations treat others is what can lead to someone like the Joker taking form. It’s the same type of fear-mongering that the mass media has tried to tie to this movie and m-rated video games in the past.

“Generally, anyone who plays (video) games knows the difference between wrong and right. It’s more the parents’ fault if they give an underage child, who doesn’t know right from wrong, a game like that,” senior Colin Weishar said.

Saying that “Joker” is ultra-violent is far from factual; it contains less violence than films such as “John Wick” or “Deadpool.” The movie doesn’t try to make mental illness look cool or flashy but instead shows it for the ugly thing that it is for people who deal with it. The choice of music for one scene is nothing more than a thoughtless oversight.

The idea that the character of the Joker has the potential to influence someone to commit an act of mass violence is not to be overlooked. Many people blame Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the character as the driving force for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, which occurred during a showing of ‘The Dark Knight Rises.” Though it has never been proven that to be true, it’s a stigma placed held towards the character for years.

“The movie was meant to be based on the Joker, not based on symbolizing or supporting mass violence or terrorism,” Patterson said.

People who want to commit these acts of mass violence will always find something to latch onto as a way of justifying what they plan to do. Much like how in 2014, two 12-year-olds tried to kill their friend as a way of pleasing the fictional character known as Slenderman. In reality, if the character of Slenderman hadn’t existed, then most likely, those two would have found a different reason to justify their horrible plan.

Even the 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye” has been cited as the motivation for two assassins: Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon; and John Hinkley Jr., who attempted to kill Ronald Reagan. However, the novel is still considered a classic and it is taught in countless classrooms in the United States today.

At the end of the day, “Joker” is just a movie, and like any good movie, it should have the audience thinking about it long after the credits have rolled. Instead of getting angry at this movie for showing us some of the horrible truths about our broken system, we should take steps to fix that system, so this movie can seem more fictional than it does at the moment.

Ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away is the very attitude that helped create “Joker” in the first place.