The silver screen has given us heroes to root for and villains to hate for more than a century. We rooted for Luke Skywalker to destroy the Death Star and couldn't wait for Hans Gruber to drop from that tower. In the movies, at least for the most part, we've known who to get behind and why.
But every once in a while a film will pop up in which you really weren't predisposed, or supposed, to root for any one person in particular. Scarface is a good example of this. The one with Al Pacino. Is it a good flick? Sure. But when it's on, hide the children and clergy.
Joker came out Friday, and we'd be lying if we said there are no plans on our calendar to go see it. Batman puts on a mask to fight crime and injustice. Joker puts on clown makeup to kill people and stir chaos.
But this newest retelling casts the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) as a down-on-his-luck guy who, after being beaten down in society, becomes the homicidal clown prince of crime. And some have voiced concerns about the message this movie sends to people who, in reality, might also be down on their luck and building frustration. Some are worried the movie might be a trigger.
Given the history of tragic events in America's movie houses, it's understandable that some are nervous. But shutting down a movie or preventing it from being shown isn't the solution. The blasted thing will be on Netflix in a few months. And on regular cable a few months after that.
But the Joker has been killing people in comics for more than 80 years now. He's a terrible fella. Cesar Romero, this guy ain't.
The Joker is a foil for Batman, nothing more, nothing less. He's also fiction. Something that should be stressed to the kids.
Watch the movie on the big screen (if you're old enough), and enjoy the popcorn. Just remember who the real heroes are. You won't find most of them on film.
Editorial on 10/05/2019
Print Headline: Choose heroes carefully