First and foremost- this film was by all means very well done. Visuals, acting, direction, it was all there. A well-crafted work of art. I loved the Lovecraft reference of the “Arkham Asylum” (apparently a staple of Batman films and comics) and I appreciated the plethora of comedic moments, especially the one-liners.
That being said, while I respect the craft of the film, I still found it to be rather disappointing. The main reason is because of the writing. It seemed as if there were some points that were trying to be proved, and I just couldn’t figure out what these points were. I gathered a tone of “this movie has a MESSAGE” from the very first second and it served as a huge personal distraction from becoming immersed in the film itself. I didn’t have this issue with any other Batman movies. They were pure entertainment and escapism- and I prefer it that way.
I also found the story-telling to be confusing, all over the place, and just not particularly imaginative. I suppose this could all very well be intentional. Nonetheless- it just made it extremely difficult to stay in the moment of the movie and feel any sort of suspension of disbelief. I almost said aloud in the theater “Let’s move this along.”
There has been quite a bit of talk that this film was irresponsible. Now, I can’t believe that I’m even saying this- but I must confess- I actually agree with this concern. I mean, look- I very much enjoy the aesthetic of violence in movies and I have given praise to at least five violent films just this year alone. Horror is my favorite genre!
But here’s the thing- mass shootings have obviously been a heartbreaking horrific aspect of current times, and I feel almost as if “Joker” is capitalizing on this. Whereas the countless other violent films that I enjoy tend to be more on a level of absurdity and over-the-top campiness, “Joker” seems almost as if it is to the point of implied real-life violence glorification. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I certainly understand the concern about the film. I think it’s quite valid. However- personally, I am WAY more concerned about social media and youtube as being the real culprits of enabling violence, as opposed to any movie. After all- no matter how repulsive a movie may be- it’s still art. And is banning movies the way to go? NO WAY!
And speaking of “repulsive”- that is the exact description that used in a review to the classic crime novel “The Killer Inside Me” by Jim Thompson (AKA Stanley Kubrick’s writing buddy from way back in the day) from 1952. And it’s true- the book is repulsive indeed! This is required reading to anyone and everyone before (or after) seeing “Joker” as it a blatantly obvious inspiration for the film. Personally, I enjoyed the book much more. Unlike “Joker”- “The Killer Inside Me” provided nonstop escapism and suspension of disbelief.
In closing, I have respect for “Joker” and I even recommend seeing it. It was definitely well done but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.