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The ‘Joker’ and violence

Is Joker’s violence worth debating?



File photo.

With the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker film just one week away, many are concerned about the impact that the movie will have.

Warner Bros. is gearing up to release Joker, but there is already a lot of controversy surrounding the film. A concern among a small group is that the film will incite violence because of its subject matter, saying that it is fuel to the fire in a climate where shootings are driven by anger and hatred, yet others say that the backlash is completely unwarranted because the media doesn’t always influence viewers.

To better understand who the Joker is exactly, we look to Alan Moore’s 1988 Batman: The Killing Joke. In it, we learn that Joker was a failed comedian who took a heist job in order to help pay for his family when job after job continues to fall through.

When the job fails miserably and Batman intervenes, the man who would be Joker escapes the building through a chemical sewage tunnel which bleaches his hair and skin and stains his lips.

In the case of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, it appears to be more of a mental breaking point than a chemical alteration. It’s the decision that Phoenix’s Joker makes; to just give up on trying and succumb to those dark thoughts to cause chaos and torment that worries people.

We return to the fact that the media is not always responsible for the deeds of individuals, which is something that comes up in mainstream news every so often. To say Joker influences someone to commit a crime, but leave out something like John Wick is teetering dangerously close to cherry-picking.

The Wick movies are incredibly violent and hyper-stylized to make everything look cooler. On the other side of the argument, Wick is portrayed as more of a protagonist and is only violent in retaliation to those who come at him.

Quentin Tarantino recently released Once Upon A Time In Hollywood which features an alternate version of history at the end of the film, where instead of breaking into the home of Sharon Tate, the Manson gang break into Rick Dalton’s house (Leonardo DiCaprio) and end up getting into a scuffle with Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and the entire interaction is played out as a comedy.

Admittedly, I laughed while watching the movie in theatres, but upon further reflection, this is taking a real-world scenario where a woman was murdered (brutally) in her home and turning it into a stylized action sequence.

Warner Bros. and Todd Phillips have both made it clear that Joker does not go out of its way to idolize the character or make him appear as a good guy. The Joker, in any form, is never a good guy. You may understand the point he makes (Heath Ledger’s Joker gives a compelling argument about order and chaos in The Dark Knight) but at the end of the day – it comes down to understanding right, wrong, reality and fiction.

To get an idea of what some people felt about the movie, I spoke to some Humber College students in the halls to find out their thoughts on the issue.

I first spoke with Alessandro Sartorelli who told me he doesn’t “think a movie could incite violence. It depends on how people see it, and what is the background of who is watching.”

When asked if he believes Joker differentiates from other films like John Wick or one by Quentin Tarantino, where the violence is stylized and made to look enjoyable and exciting, Alessandro explained “No – we have lots of other very violent movies, much more violent, and we can see violence on the news every day.”

I also spoke with Tye Wilhelm who believes that “It’s a case-by-case basis. I think if they [a viewer] were going to be violent, it would’ve happened with or without the Joker movie.”

Going back through the history of the Joker, I’ve noticed that this never became a large concern until we decided to see what exactly made the Joker who he is. In the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood, we see the gruesome flashback to when The Joker murders Robin by beating him with a crowbar.

The official classification for that movie is PG-13 and somehow considered okay to view? It seems to me that the backlash against the movie is more of a result of time in which it’s releasing as opposed to the content of the movie itself.

In saying that however, we cannot and must not disregard real world issues like misogyny, racism and hatred as a whole. It is important to recognize depression and suicide in those around us and offer assistance, and if you yourself are having negative thoughts, you can always reach out and speak to someone.

You can follow this link for more information on who to reach out to. ■

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‘The Mandalorian’: Chapter 2 review

1×02 of ‘The Mandalorian’.



© Lucasfilm

After fighting his way through a compound of enemies, the Mandalorian has made a surprising discovery.


With the bounty droid IG-11 dead and our main character having discovered an infant alien that heavily resembles Yoda, the hunter runs into a bit of trouble when a batch of Jawas have dismantled his ship and made off with the parts.

This episode for me didn’t have the same gravitas as the first episode and felt very much like a filler episode to showcase Baby Yoda’s powers. Yes, internet and viewers of the show have dubbed the small, green infant Baby Yoda, but the nickname seems to stick a lot more now that this baby can use the Force!

In saying that, however, don’t mistake this as a terrible episode overall as so far, the series is managing to maintain its high level of quality. The episode begins to focus on the fact that this bounty hunter will look out for Baby Yoda at any cost which is of course a trope that is all too familiar to a western-styled movie or series.

In a showdown with a large horned beast, the Mandalorian seems done for as the creature charges, however Baby Yoda manages to suspend it in the air using the Force. This brings about a whole new slew of theories as to who or what this infant is. Is it Yoda reborn? An offspring? Does Yoda’s species (who, by the way, are not named canonically) all possess Force abilities?

As the Mandalorian is able to repair his ship and leave the desert planet, he takes Baby Yoda with him. What purpose does Baby Yoda serve? Is he in fact Yoda or is he just of the same species? Lots of questions that will hopefully be answered in the coming episodes. ■

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Review: ‘Charlie’s Angels’

New girls, same action.



© Paramount

Yet another reboot has arrived, only this one comes to us from the 1976 series and early 2000 movies known as “Charlie’s Angels”, and it’s not as terrible as you would expect it to be.

Charlie’s angels trailer


The era of spy thrillers may be long past, but a good spy movie is almost always welcomed. The Mission: Impossible franchise has maintained its force and actually gotten stronger as each movie has progressed, but long before Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne were household names, one man owned a team of spies, or angels, to carry out the impossible tasks.

This time, the angels consist of Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska with Elizabeth Banks as Bosley, and the chemistry between these three girls is so fun.

They bounce off of one another’s quirkiness, intelligence and insanity so well. Kristen Stewart may have a bad wrap from the Twilight films, but she is not as terrible as you might expect. Banks plays the team’s boss, Bosley, and also directs the film.

Banks had previously directed Pitch Perfect 2, and in my opinion, it was a solid movie that did well to honour the first film while moving the story forward. Here, Banks is able to better hone her craft as a filmmaker and her talents are certainly on the rise.

What the film does fall short is in suspense, alongside minor writing qualms. While it’s fine to honour the cheesiness of the 70s spy movie, it’s always a good idea to try and move past it and improve on it. Some moments in the film offer dialog that the cast cannot salvage and it is somewhat jarring.

The twists in the film were decent, if not predictable, but the execution of said twists is smooth enough that I found myself looking past how cliched and overused it was. In all fairness to Banks and writers David Auburn and Evan Spiliotopolous, there’s very little room for innovation in genres that have existed for as long as the spy movies have.

What the film also does well is not overly sexualize the main girls. Is flirtation a tool they harness to kick butt? Absolutely. Is it a point of focus for the audience? Absolutely not. It was refreshing to see for the series and helps push female characters forward more.

Now while the review may sound overly positive, make no mistake that the film is not a masterpiece. It is worth the price of general admission and is a lot of fun, but, it fails to reach the heights of other spy franchises.

I am not, however, opposed to a sequel or even two more films to make a trilogy, provided the script is good enough and not as a cash grab.

In the end, a movie with three great leading ladies and a director who is far from green makes for an entertaining time at the movies if you’re not looking for anything too deep. ■

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Mark Wahlberg joins ‘Uncharted’ movie

Mark Wahlberg joins the hunt.




Mark Wahlberg will join leading star Tom Holland in the first live-action film based on the acclaimed gaming franchise.

After what seemed to be a dead-end for the project, the Travis Knight directed film based on the video game franchise of the same name is finally adding more names to its cast list in the form of Mark Wahlberg who will be playing Victor “Sully” Sullivan – a mentor to Nathan Drake.

Wahlberg will join Tom Holland who will portray a younger version of Nathan Drake, the titular character of the Uncharted franchise. Holland’s involvement with the project was somewhat unclear during the period of time where Sony and Disney had parted ways over their shared rights of Spider-Man. Following their reunion in September, Sony continued forward with their adaptation of Uncharted.

The video game series began in 2007 with the first instalment Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune which was developed by Naughty Dog and has sold 41 million copies to date.

The film is directed by Travis Knight (Bumblebee) with a script by Rafe Judkins, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. The story is set to act as a prequel to the first game but no other details surrounding the film have been released. Sony is expected to take the film to camera in the next couple of months and meet its release date of December 18, 2020. ■

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