Lots of Joker controversy, but is it any good?


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Joachin Phoenix portrays The Joker in the most recent incarnation of the Batman villain. This role has caused some controversy.

Holy controversial movie Batman! It’s time to put on a happy face because the newest addition to the comic book movie genre is out and this time it’s all about the clown prince of crime, Batman’s greatest villain and arguably the greatest villain of all time, The Joker.

Before getting into how the film is, its time to address the elephant in the room: yes, the rumors are true, Joker has some of the best dance moves I have ever seen on film. On a more serious note, this movie has stirred up a healthy amount of controversy around it.

Many social activists’ groups have been boycotting the movie due to its violent material and the way it makes you sympathize with its main character–a psychotic man that dresses as a clown and causes anarchy.

The question of if this film is too inappropriate for moviegoers and if it will cause a person to go out and start violent acts is a very long thing to answer. To sum things up, most people making these complaints about the film have not even seen it. On top of that, there are many more violent movies out there.

Now onto if the film itself, after all the talk around it, is any good. Yes, the Joker is a good movie with an even better lead character. Joker is directed and written by Todd Philips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz.

But it is the Joker himself that sells the movie. Audiences have gotten great Joker’s in the past like in 1989’s Batman the movie when Jack Nickelson played the titular clown, or in 2008 when Heath Leger left fan’s jaws dropped when he took the most unique spin on the character ever seen.

Phoenix plays something unique though, not to give anything away. His character isn’t confident in control and a dominant figure like he has been betrayed. This film is all about Joker’s genius as we see the clown before he was a super criminal. In this film, Phoenix first and foremost most plays a man–a man who has a past of mental disabilities and is seen beaten down by society until he decides to snap.

All of this is not to be outdone by the filming itself. The setting of the film is, of course, in the fictional Gotham City in the late 1970s. The movie does a very impressive job of dropping you into a city that, just like our main character, is on the verge of collapse.

Almost every scene is enhanced with dull depressing colors, piles of trash and homeless people to show the audience how the city reflects Joker and even created him into who he is. What’s even more impressive is once the Joker does become the Joker, the coloring and music of the film continue to change with our character as the scenes become over-saturated with bright colors.

The last major real positive I will give this movie is the musical score, something I don’t think many people have been talking about. Joker’s theme, with an ambient chilling sound of string instruments, made me feel on edge as the movie went on. It’s something that I still go home and listen to because it sticks with you.

To get some criticisms out in the open, since this is a review, after all, The Joker is a slow burn. Some moviegoers might not mind that and even like that but some prefer a faster right to the point movie, but this film does take its time.

Another thing is the message of the film itself, subtlety gets thrown out the window towards the final act of the film. Personally, a message that is hidden and doesn’t hit you on the head it something that I like because it shows that the filmmakers trust their audiences enough to think.

The Joker on my grading scale gets an A-minus. Don’t listen to the people online about how the movie is saying this and that. Go see the film for yourself and make up your own opinion about what the film means to our current society and, heck, you might even enjoy it.