'Joker' Director Wonders Why 'John Wick' Wasn't Met With Same Scrutiny Over Violence

Dude makes a good point.


Image via Getty/Stephane Cardinale - Corbis


To the possible annoyance of your timeline, much has been (and will likely continue to be) said about cinema's relationship with violence surrounding the release of the critically acclaimed Joker.

In a recent Associated Press interview, director Todd Phillips was asked about the recent swath of talk in which the film is posited as some kind of quasi-endorsement of a violent ideology. As Phillips explained, he doesn't feel this is apt. Furthermore, he's confused as to why the John Wick franchise, for example, isn't met with the same pushback.

Writer-director Todd Phillips says it isn't fair to link his #JokerMovie to real-world violence: "It's a fictional character in a fictional world that's been around for 80 years." pic.twitter.com/NcT4d9fjOQ

— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 24, 2019

"I think that Aurora is obviously a horrible, horrible situation but even that is not something you blame on the movie," Phillips said. "Quite frankly, if you do your own research about Aurora, that gentleman wasn't even going in as Joker. That was misreported. His hair was dyed red. He was having, obviously, a mental breakdown and there's something horrifying about it but it wasn't related to it outside of the fact that it happened at a movie theater."

Phillips added that "this is not the thing" that Joker "is trying to represent" in its story.

"The movie still takes place in a fictional world," he said. "It can have real world implications [and] opinions but it's a fictional character in a fictional world that's been around for 80 years. The one that bugs me more [about the] toxic white male thing is when you go 'Oh, oh, I just saw John Wick 3.' He's a white male and he kills 300 people and everybody's laughing and hooting and hollering. Why does this movie get held to different standards? It honestly doesn't make sense to me."

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Though this topic has been heavily discussed in headlines and tweets ahead of Joker's release, it's unlikely the discussion will have any detectable impact on its practically guaranteed box office success. The film, starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, hits a theater near you on Oct. 4.

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