Joker director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix responded to backlash against the film that has deemed it dangerous.

Phillips and Phoenix were questioned by IGN about the backlash to the film which involved critics equating the violence in the film to real world violence. (Related: Valiant Comics Editor Heather Antos Falsely Claims James Holmes Was Inspired by Joker)

Former Marvel Comics editor and current Valiant Comics editor Heather Antos declared the film problematic citing her belief that the Aurora, Colorado shooter was inspired by the Joker. However, the shooter was not inspired by the Joker. 18th Judicial District attorney George Brauchler, the man who prosecuted the shooter told the Denver Post, “It is not true.” He added, “It is ridiculous. Completely unfounded. Some of this stuff. …It gets repeated by so many sources by people doing their research that it just becomes real.”

Todd Phillips Responds

Phillips called out the critics right off the bat noting many of them have not even seen the film. He stated, “I really think there have been a lot of think pieces written by people who proudly state they haven’t even seen the movie and they don’t need to.” He added, “I would just argue that you might want to watch the movie, you might want to watch it with an open mind.”

Phillips then clarified, “The movie makes statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world. I think people can handle that message.”

He then took shots at the critics again describing their commentary as “bizarre.” (Related: Woke Rotten Tomatoes Reviewers Tank Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Critic Score)

“It’s so, to me, bizarre when people say, ‘Oh, well I could handle it. But imagine if you can’t.’ It’s making judgments for other people and I don’t even want to bring up the movies in the past that they’ve said this about because it’s shocking and embarrassing when you go, oh my God, Do the Right Thing, they said that about [that movie, too].”

Phillips would then point out that the Joker film is a work of art, and it’s meant to be a complicated piece of art.

“To me, art can be complicated and oftentimes art is meant to be complicated. If you want uncomplicated art, you might want to take up calligraphy, but filmmaking will always be a complicated art.”

Joaquin Phoenix Responds

Joaquin Phoenix, who walked out of an interview over a question equating the violence portrayed in Joker inspiring real world violence, would also respond to the backlash. (Related: Joaquin Phoenix Walked Out of Joker Interview After Question About Film’s Violence)

Phoenix detailed it’s not a film’s responsibility to teach the viewer the difference between right and wrong.

“Well, I think that, for most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong. And those that aren’t are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that that’s obvious.”

Phoenix then responded to the idea of what could motivate someone to commit violence, “I think if you have somebody that has that level of emotional disturbance, they can find fuel anywhere. I just don’t think that you can function that way.”

Clownfish TV comments:

What do you make of Todd Phillips response? What about Joaquin Phoenix’s comments?

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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.