“Joker,” a movie by Todd Phillips, hit the box office this last weekend. Based on the reaction of critics and fans, there hasn’t been a more controversial movie in a long time.
Let this be clear: it is not a comic book movie. For deeper perspective, I sat down with Caleb Ward, an LCU student and lover of the cinema.
“This movie is not your typical comic book movie,” he said. “it is not lighthearted, and you should not take your middle school kid to this movie just because they like Batman.”
Character study: Who is the Joker?
“Joker” fits much better in the character study genre of movies. Caleb compared it to old Martin Scorsese films such as “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy,” particularly in how we see the story unfold from the Joker’s perspective.
“They are taking this character and really just looking at ‘Who is this guy, and why is he the way he is?’ because he is really interesting,” Caleb said. “They’re not interested in the Joker as he is against Batman, just as he is.”
That makes this a DC Universe movie unlike any we have seen before. For the first time we see the Joker through his own eyes, not Batman’s. This movie will tell you exactly who the Joker is, regardless of whether he is a bad person or a good person.
At the box office
According to Business Insider, “Joker” brought in $96 million its opening weekend. That is the biggest opening weekend in October, topping “Venom” from last October.
It’s all about the anticipation when it comes to the Joker. People are drawn to him regardless of whether they like him or not.
Caleb predicts that “Joker” will hit it big during award season. The nature of this movie, as a character study, lends itself to the people of the Academy.
“They are an older audience. They come from a generation where character studies were more popular,” he said.
This movie is for fans of cinema who like to look deeper and get to the core of the question “why?”
Caleb said, “[It] operates on a philosophical level,” meaning the movie isn’t mindless entertainment. It asks you to put your thinking cap on, to look at why the Joker turned out like he did, and maybe even to prevent that from happening in our world.
It is a dark movie, no doubt, but if you can see through the darkness it is sure to be a rewarding experience.