Joker, challenging our perceptions

October 8, 2019

 The most controversial film of the year award goes to Todd Phillips’s new cinematic adaptation of DC Comic most iconic and infamous supervillain, Joker. 


Call it a stroke of bad luck or a blessing in disguise but the weeks leading up to Joker, release date was met with considerable internet backlash, threats of violence and general concern for public safety. However, there was an equally important debate boiling under the surface of the controversy surrounding it. 


Can a film like Joker exist given the outbreak of mass shootings plaguing our country? 


The “Joker Controversy” initially came off as a convoluted narrative, but there is a definite point of origin.


The film’s trailers released early April, depicts a nice guy who is down on his luck.



He is an average guy outcasted from society because he does not fit in with the world around him.


He is a man that slowly descends into madness and chaos. He resorts to disturbing acts of violence to find himself.


Survivors and family members of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado Theater shooting victims, sent a letter of concern to Warner Bros. about the film.


The signed letter was sent a week before the film was released. 


To top things off, a military memo was issued around the same time warning about a possible attack to theaters during the film’s release week, no specific details were given. 


Joker, hit especially close to home because our loving community of El Paso is still recovering from the tragedy that occurred in August, in which 22 innocent people’s lives were taken at Walmart Supercenter in Cielo Vista by an armed man.


The voices of those directly affected by gun violence must be heard and acknowledged. 


Still, despite the pain, sorrow and insecurity left behind by this despicable individuals and others like him, it is important to remember that arts true purpose transcends mere entertainment.


There are certain qualities that make a great film stand out from a good one. A truly great film makes its audience uncomfortable.It challenges our perceptions of the world and holds up a mirror to society.


The 1927 film, The Jazz Singer, marked a huge step towards the technological advancement of modern cinema, but it highlights the blatant racism deeply embedded in our society.


Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s, King Kong is celebrated as one of the first fully talking films, however the films depiction of women is beyond a doubt sexist.


Unfortunately, the current reality reflected on film is much more dangerous. We live in a world shrouded in violence. 


Film makers, writers and other artists alike are tasked with an extremely difficult job.


They must take delicate subject matter and portray it in a responsible way.


The majority of the people up in arms about Phillip’s, Joker, had not even seen the film. It is our duty as media consumers to experience films for ourselves and then pass judgement.


We absolutely cannot let social media influencers, critiques and an outraged Twitter community make decisions for us. 


Joker, indeed was able to overcome the overwhelming controversy by setting a record as the highest grossing October film.


It surpassed expectations by earning $96 million in the domestic box office and $151 million overseas just in its opening weekend alone. 


Joker is a dark, gritty and violent film that portrays this in a realistic manner. This film will not be for everybody and it is certainly not for extremely young and impressionable children.


Phillips’s film has a place in this world as a reminder of the horrific violence currently infesting our country. 


I cannot sit here and tell you that Phillips’s, Joker, should not exist, just as I cannot entice individuals to go see this film.


It was a brilliant story nicely tied into a DC Comic universe to deliver a strong message. 


The people have passed judgment and the box office numbers speak for themselves. 

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