Although “Joker” was praised by most “serious” movie critics, mass media sources bashed the movie in all ways possible, even deeming it “dangerous”. Is it because the movie is actually bad? Or because it goes against their agenda?
In this day and age, mass media critics do not evaluate movies by their artistic merit, but by the direction of their political message. To be deemed “good”, a movie needs to check a list of “agenda” boxes. Well, Joker does not check any boxes and it also goes against the grain. It is an uncompromising piece of art that is more akin to a low-budget auteur film than a DC Comics blockbuster. And, through its deeply unsettling character study of a “loser” who turns into a famous murderer, the movie provides a scattering critique of mass media.
Apparently, media sources did not appreciate the subversive messages in the movie and were quick to deem Joker “problematic”. Even before the official release of the movie, countless news articles associated Joker with “angry white men” and feared it would inspire Joker-copycats who would perpetrate mass shootings. Judging by the insistence of these articles, it was as if mass media was actually looking to speak into existence such as shooter by guaranteeing immediate and worldwide coverage of such an event. Appropriately enough, the movie addresses this exact brand of mass media perversion.
Indeed, on several occasions, the movie highlights the role of mass media in the creation and the validation of the monster that is Joker. And, on a wider scale, the movie links this media coverage to an uprising of the masses who identify the Joker as their hero and leader. In fact, while Joker is a bad guy, the bigger bad guy in the movie is mass media.
And real-life mass media did not appreciate the critique.
While most “serious” movie publications praised Joker, mass media sources bashed it senseless. They really did not want people to watch it. Here are some examples: