I’ve primarily stuck to talking about books on this site. I’ve tried not to stray too far from books, with the occasional personal update. Every-so-often, something comes along and really hits you hard, and recently i went to see Joker, the latest DC movie, and i wanted to talk about it a little bit.
I’ve never been a huge DC fan. I went through a Batman phase in my early teens, but that’s as far as that love went. I quickly realised i was far more invested in Marvel than DC, and i found the characters far more interesting. On top of that, DC seemed dark in a really odd way. I like dark stories, but every character felt the same and just the entire franchise bored me.
I saw the trailer for Joker a little while ago, and figured it looked interesting enough, it looked different to anything i’ve seen DC do, a more in-depth look at a character and a lot less cliche than usual. I decided i would go and see what it was all about.
I went to see the movie on release weekend, which usually is a huge mistake lets face it. I read a couple of reviews beforehand, and wasn’t overly impressed with what was being said. There was a lot of issues with the mental health representation it seemed. I knew that the Joker was a character with a mental illness, but i didn’t know much about it and didn’t know how that would be represented. Admittedly it put me on edge about a movie that i wasn’t already super thrilled about.
Never-the-less, i went along and sat through the movie, not taking my eyes from the screen once. And i left the movie thinking it was one of the most incredible things i’ve ever seen.
Many claims have been made that the mental health in the movie is triggering, that it promotes gun crime and many other things. Admittedly, this isn’t a movie for the faint hearted. There is a lot of violence, a lot of gun crime and plenty of mental illness conversation. But that’s the point. I feel like all these claims are being made, especially about gun crime, which isn’t being made against other movies that involve those types of things. It seems to be one rule for one and another for another. It obviously involves violence and guns, because it is still very much in the superhero world, and that happens in all superhero movies. Marvel is still incredibly violent.
I genuinely think that the mental health representation in Joker is incredible. It shows psychosis incredibly well and the spiralling of the character. Admittedly, there is the aspect of violence from the character which is a tiny percentage of mental illness cases. It’s incredibly clear that he has a mental illness which is debilitating, and he’s been dealt some bad cards which haven’t helped in life. It was referenced numerous times that Arthur (The Joker) is mentally ill, including trips to see a psychiatrist and also comments of medication.
DC seem to be showing the furthest point of this kind of mental illness, and how far this illness can go. It explains a lot about a the character in general. What i was really impressed by was the representation of mental illness not being taken seriously in public. Numerous times it was shown that his laugh which is classed as a part of his mental illness was treated poorly in public. This is something that i’m pretty glad was shown on the big screen. Disabilities such as autism and others that can cause loud noises in public are still treated badly by others. They showed this in the movie by showing numerous gangs betting Arthur up after an episode of laughing. It felt incredibly real and something that needs to be represented more.
I agree with some of the things talked about in the reviews, but i also disagree with so much. This is movie that’s really doing something different. We’re humanising characters from comic books in an incredible way where you can sympathise with the character. I understand there is so many issues with making these villains and violent people approachable, but we do that so often in cinema anyway.
Joker was easily my favourite movie of the year so far. I thought it was incredible, creepy, horrifyingly realistic and just wonderfully acted. Everything about it i loved, and it’s very easy to jump in to this movie with very little background knowledge.
Have you seen Joker? Or are you planning to?