John Stonestreet on ‘Joker’ and the Rise of ‘Demonic Anti-Heroes’

Batman’s arch-nemesis is back on the silver screen in full face paint and purple suit, along with the uncomfortable questions his character raises about the state of our culture.

Joaquin Phoenix is the new “Joker,” this time in an origin story about the comic book villain who, until now, didn’t have one. The trailers for this movie make it look more like an art-house film than a superhero movie. While Marvel movies like to pack on the laughs, this one is too deadly serious to put a smile on anyone’s face.

The film’s spotlight is fully on the Joker, who at last has a name: Arthur Fleck—a failed comedian who loses his mind and leads a murderous October Revolution-style uprising in Gotham City.

This iteration is, of course, being compared with Heath Ledger’s chilling performance from “The Dark Knight” (2008). Certainly, the nihilistic angle of Ledger’s Joker was more than a few steps further down into depravity than Jack Nicholson’s portrayal in the first Batman film. And, when Ledger died of a drug overdose before the film’s release, many speculated the character had consumed him.

Adding to this twisted plot is that the perpetrator of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, with his dyed, clownish hair and deranged expression, targeted the opening weekend of the 2012 sequel to “The Dark Knight.”

No wonder authorities were on alert last weekend as the new “Joker” movie opened. Both the FBI and LAPD issued warnings about potential online threats, and police forces around the country beefed up security around theaters. Warner Brothers even reminded audiences that their movie isn’t an endorsement of mass-violence, and that the Joker is not a hero to be emulated.

Thank God, the opening weekend was uneventful. But the very fact that we breathed this collective sigh of relief over a movie shows what a meme of mass-violence the Joker has become.

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Source: Christian Headlines