An Indictment on Society

I watched the Joker this past weekend. What can I say? It's a masterpiece. Why? Because it doesn't  melt your brain with CGI fight scenes or gives you clever one liners from square jawlines or tight body suits. It doesn't have to link up the last shit show you watched nor does it have to pay tribute to your sticky comic book collection. It tells you to shut the hell up and sit down on tacks. You know why? Because it gives you permission to question who you are! The fact that Warner Bros approved of this jugular-slicing juggernaut, it gave society a piece of it's own sweet medicine. It shoves a mirror in your face and says this is what you've become, now sulk in it for two hours with symbolism and floundering rationality on comedy. It begs us to ask why we laugh and what's our real purpose for struggle. This film unwraps the whole idea of a comic book film, tosses it in the garbage and pulls out the rodent infested moldy food scrap that was left to rot in the back of our mind. Although reeking in soiled stench, it's a breath of fresh air. Finally, a comic film that says "Eat shit and enjoy it while you die!"


The film is supposedly sets around the 80's but it doesn't tell us specific dates. You see the piles of trash that fills the poor neighborhoods which is a callback on New York's garbage strike in the late 60's. But before modern technology. Before conventional street blocks filled with corporation names or iconic hoopla. Instead you're submerged into an underground world where the poor live like rodents, people are treated like shit and your dreams are crushed - all for the sake of finding your life's purpose. Nothing, except for Murry Franklin's TV show, is clean - and even that in itself is a metaphor for what kind of world we're living in. It's a reality all too familiar: real, dark and dripping with truth we don't like to question.

But what I loved most about the film wasn't the Ether Eggs it laid for us or the call backs to the original Gotham story or even Batman itself. It was the fundamental permission to break the rules and question our social order. Should we laugh when we're not suppose to? Should we judge those before we know them? A few solid examples where the film tells us what not to do: The little person who struggles to open the door right after his clown coworker is brutally murdered with hair scissors. The satisfying shooting of the three white collar drunks on the subway. The dance that follows murder! The stage for the Clown Prince of Crime to murder people live on television and the chaos that ensues Gotham City.

It breaks the conventional rules of what a comic book film should be, what a hero and villain film should be and it does it while laughing at things that we shouldn't be laughing at! The joker's laugh alone encapsulates the very meaning of our own society - he laughs because it hurts. He laughs because it's a struggle to, not because he wants to. What does that tell us about the kind of world we live in now?

A list of shit you won't find in your basic-bitch, pancake-ass, CGI diabetic, child opiate, MCU cash cow espresso machine:
  • A man who wears a mask of a smiling jester in the face of depression and mental instability.
  • A man who laughs, but not for comic relief.
  • A man who lives in his mind dreaming of a purpose and creating an alternate reality.
  • A man who confronts his past and digs for the truth and it isn't sunshine and colorful rainbows.
Those who say it's too violent, too dark or too stark to watch, they're not ready for change. They're stuck living a sad, boring life where they don't want to question a system that governs them. They live in this gooey warm grey middle that keeps the status quo of their pathetic Disneyland fantasy. To me that's what a film should do: question who we are as a person. Question what we are as a society! And when you do that, this film turns into an art piece. It's definitely something to ponder when you endure your daily bullshit. I stand and congratulate Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix for making a film that allowed me to question the system. Thank you for giving me something I can talk about! Thank you for showing us harsh truths! My good friend says this film is "an indictment on society." I couldn't agree more.

You can send in the clowns, now.

Adam

PS - Don't tell me this film is too violent or dark - Thanos literally wiped out half the universe in a kid's movie. Maybe next time the joker needs to snap his fingers to get you geeks off your high horse.

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