Definitely a Modern Classic

Cameron Chalker, Staff Writer

Joker came to theaters on October fourth and in under a month, it has seen much success.  It has already surpassed Deadpool as the highest-grossing R-rated movie and has received near perfect scores all across the board.  While it has had its fair share of controversy, it is widely agreed that it is a masterpiece and is one of the best iterations of the Joker that we have ever seen.  Beware, there are minor spoilers ahead.  

Joker follows a middle-aged, mentally ill man named Arthur Fleck.  Arthur has lived his life with a disorder known as pathological laughter, which causes him to have sudden bursts of laughter that are uncontrollable, regardless of how he feels at the moment.  This affliction makes Arthur’s life harder, but he makes a living as a clown, advertising businesses or visiting children’s hospitals in an attempt to bring joy and laughter to those around him.  Throughout the movie, we watch Arthur face various different hardships, each causing him to descend further into madness. The movie takes a slow and realistic pace, one usually not seen when writing a story about the Joker.  

Joker has seen a lot of controversy since its release.  Many were quick to say that the movie glorifies gun violence and promotes dangerous ideas within today’s society.  Arthur receives a gun from his coworker in order to protect himself after being attacked while on the job. With this gun, Arthur shoots and kills three rich men on the subway in self-defense.  This causes a mass movement in which a majority of Gotham City begins to wear clown masks and start riots, saying that the rich should be killed. Many different media outlets portrayed this as a glorification of gun violence and stated that this presents dangerous ideas that could inspire copycats in society.  A major reason that the fear of copycats exists is because of a tragic event that occurred during the last trilogy that heavily involved the Joker. On July 20th, 2012 Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was being screened in Aurora, Colorado.  This screening was ground zero for a tragic mass shooting that resulted in the death of twelve people and the injury of seventy others.  This understandably worries people, but the way that gun violence and Arthur’s actions are portrayed in the movie is anything but glorious.  Not only are many against the use of gun violence in the movie, but many are also upset with the humanization of the Joker. In this movie, Arthur is continually beaten down by society and is driven to madness by those around him.  While he is responsible for the actions he commits, most news outlets are against the portrayal that he was driven to becoming the Joker by society and everyday people. It makes viewers insecure about how they treat others and makes them question if they could be creating a Joker in their life.  

Joker is regarded as a masterpiece by many and is even called Oscar-worthy.  Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is nothing less than phenomenal and few can disagree.  Phoenix brings a piece to the role that is completely unique to this Joker. He makes this Joker feel alive and real.  His performance makes the viewers really believe that he has mental instabilities and that he could become the man that is the Joker.  He brings charisma to the role that is usually seen with the Joker. We know his actions in the movie are terrible, yet we can’t help but understand why he’s doing what he’s doing and cheer him on.  

Joker is seeing massive success, and it looks like that success will only continue.  Joker has already become the highest-grossing R-rating movie of all time and it continues to rake in money from the box office.  There’s no doubt that Joker is widely popular and many are happy with the work of Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix.