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‘John Wick’ fans aren’t happy franchise got dragged into ‘Joker’ controversy

'Joker' director Todd Phillips questioned why 'John Wick' wasn't similarly criticized for its violence.


Rachel Kiley

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 29, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 2:36 am CDT

Concern that the upcoming Joker film may incite violence has overshadowed its inching debut. 

Joker follows Arthur Fleck’s descent from failed comedian to Batman villain, reportedly painting him as a victim of society’s disregard. The film’s creators insist the narrative won’t condone Fleck’s turn to violence over not being as appreciated as he feels he deserves, warnings are still being shared within communities, and even from the U.S. military, which says it has been made aware of threats from “incels” who may follow in the footsteps of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooter. 

But director Todd Phillips has been dismissive of both criticism and concern. While his comments slamming the “far-left” for worrying about Joker inciting violence have already made the rounds, his latest comments, dragging the beloved Keanu Reeves John Wick franchise into the fray are straight-up pissing John Wick fans off.

“[Joker] still takes place in a fictional world. 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,” Phillips told AP Entertainment.

“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,” Phillips said. 

John Wick fans and general people with common sense alike were quick to jump on the comments, noting all the many, many, many reasons why there is no correlation between John Wick and Joker.

John Wick is about a guy who kills mobsters because they murdered his dog,” one user pointed out. “Joker is about a guy who kills civilians because women wouldn’t sleep with him.”

Others pointed out how Wick doesn’t want to kill nor does he kill civilians randomly.

“No one has dressed as John Wick and killed a movie theater full of people. The Joker is a symbol for chaos and destruction. There’s a scary part of this population that wants to emulate that. I’ll go see the movie, but I can separate art from life and I won’t twist the message,” Twitter user @comicsdisciple wrote.

Other folks just couldn’t get past the faulty comparison to find the words to explain why it doesn’t hold up. “why is todd phillips comparing the Joker to John Wick????? bitch it doesn’t make sense,” one Twitter user wrote.

Thrillist writer Emma Stefansky, who has already seen Joker, had another reason why the two films are uncomparable.

“The difference between Joker and John Wick is that Joker is a bad movie and John Wick is a good movie,” Stefansky tweeted.


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*First Published: Sep 29, 2019, 2:13 pm CDT