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Joker is a truly different "comic book" movie, and not in a good way. This film will you get you thinking and be talked about for many, many years to come, which typically is a good sign. But the things it will make you think about, I do not believe will make you a better person.
Joker is a little difficult to summarize in a few sentences, because there were many parts of it that were incredible, and there were other parts of it that were beyond inappropriate and dark. I can see why some agencies are worried about it inciting violence, and without giving anything a way, it feels like this film was trying to justify or condone extreme violence.
Something I definitely did not like was what I can only describe as the exploitation of mental illness in different ways. It was as if the film was saying:
1. People suffer from mental illness.
2. On top of that, sometimes additional bad things happen to those with mental illness.
3. So that is why some go completely insane.
4. And therefore, violence is justified when they have had enough.
Obviously that train of thought is a problem (speaking about #4).
Basically the filmmakers are working very hard to make us empathize with a character, who by the end is just evil.
(Updated Thoughts): One theme I strongly disagreed with was that many of the problems faced, were because of others surrounding the Joker's character. I realize he clearly had mental issues, and wasn't getting the help he needed, which I imagine is more common that we will admit.
However, as long as we have our own sanity, no matter how hard, or cruel life its and we still have our agency to choose. If there is something I do not like in life, it is my responsibility to change that. If I choose not to, that IS A CHOICE. Joaquin Phoenix's character is driven to evolve because of others. Therein lies the main problem I had with it. Perhaps he felt helpless to those forces, perhaps he was too weak to make the changes necessary in his life, but as long as a person is sane, they have a responsibility to remove themselves from bad situations & people. Fleck could only point the finger and say "they did it to me."
It is a epic & disturbing portrayal of how/why the joker became the joker. The contrast and character, portrayal, delivery by Joaquin Phoenix was incredible and I believe he succeeded in what the filmmakers were trying to achieve.
Fantastic cinematography, lighting. Symbolism right down to the length of the cigarettes he is smoking (symbolizing a fuse), but all this said, I really do not think this is a film that should be viewed by anyone under 21, and especially anyone struggling with mental illness or abuse.
If you are a die hard comic book fan and are able to see this as entertainment only, I think you will enjoy it in theaters.
Definitely the best effort from the DC Universe to date, but again, not necessarily in a good way.