Joker - The Audience Frightened Me

Batman was my #1 favorite superhero when I was growing up. Batman Forever was my favorite movie as a kid. Batman also grew up with me in a way, and Christopher Nolan’s trilogy was released in my later teen years. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker had many layers, in a script where all he did was blow sh*t up.

Joaquin Phoenix's Joker also had many layers, and we saw all of those layers build and solidify in the script and on screen.

This movie did exactly what I had always hoped: It let me see and understand how the Joker was made in Gotham. How did this horrendous city produce both Batman and Joker out of the same hardship? This movie answered that question in the most real way.

Each time the Joker killed, I had this feeling of pity, like a part of this man was dying every time he killed another person. I felt his rage, I felt his disgust for existence, and I understood his actions at a deep level.

Each time the Joker killed, the audience roared with laughter. When two cops were killed in a riot, the girl next to me belly laughed in a way that only comes from true joy.

I think the stories that societies tell will give you real insight into the values of the society. We used to tell stories of beautiful romances, heroes who built themselves into gods to help the common man… Now we tell stories of anti-heroes and villains we can empathize with. Now our nation elects a president who is deemed “the lesser of two evils”.

What does this say about us?

Or maybe that’s the whole point of film: to make us stop and think about the stories we’re living. When the Joker feels possible, we have a lot to work on.