The day the movie, “The Joker,” was released I walked to the Staples Center in DTLA, paid $18.50 for a ticket, sat down alone and braced myself. I loved it, but it took me some time to fully digest the movie, and in the meantime, I found myself coming across three types of people’s responses to the movie:
- People that loved it,
- People that didn’t understand it, and
- People that didn’t like it, or felt uncomfortable watching it.
Historically the Joker has been depicted as a villain lashing out onto society, yet, in this particular rendition of the character, in my opinion, society is the villain. Culture is the villain. Your toxic personal surroundings and unfortunate circumstances as a child and as an adult are the villain. The Joker is not the villain.
This movie turns the tables and shows a protagonist that has a rough emotional upbringing, coupled with multiple physically abusive episodes brought forth by bullies in his environment, which begs the question, “Who is the Joker?”
When I analyze the three types of responses, those that loved it seem to be people that root for the underdog. They are people that are compassionate and empathetic. They are people that may have been bullied, or have had experienced emotional trauma or stress at some point in their lives.
When I analyze those people that didn’t get it, or not fully understand it, they might not have an educated understanding of psychology or psychiatry. They may have had a sheltered life without much exposure to different levels of experiences that shape the human psyche. Or, maybe they had a pampered life. Or, maybe they’re just dim.
When I analyze the people that didn’t like it, or felt uncomfortable watching it, that’s where it became interesting to me. These are the people that may have a history of bullying, or engage in some form of abusive behavior toward others. They may have suppressed certain feelings of guilt or shame for their behavior, hence, watching this play out on screen could be unnerving. These are the people that play a part in society as villains, and as a culture we should be more responsible of the roles that we play in shaping individuals. I think the Joker is a sociopath. I think his upbringing, and social environment fed him sociopathic behavior. If that is the case, then we carry some fault along the way.Â Some of us have blood on our hands. Pointing the finger at the Joker as the problem might just be an underlying truth that you are the problem, and you are not taking accountability for it.
“The Joker,” the movie, as well as the character, has several layers, but when it comes down to it, the “joke,” so to speak might just be on us.