SALT LAKE CITY — DC’s upcoming “Joker” movie has received an official R rating, according to the movie’s website.
IGN reports the movie has been rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images. While most details on the movie are locked down, it shouldn’t be surprising to Batman fans that a movie based on the hero’s psychotic arch-nemesis will be targeted to mature audiences.
If the Joker’s past antics are a good indicator, an R rating isn’t too much of a shock. Common Sense Media notes that in “The Dark Knight,” the villain, played by Heath Ledger, kills with a pencil, sets a victim on fire and is generally an unsettling presence — one that inspired a 2012 shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises,” according to ABC News.
In addition to mature content, the movie deals with mature themes. In an interview with Total Film, Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Arthur Fleck, says his portrayal of the man who eventually becomes the Joker is a commentary on a perceived lack of “empathy and real compassion and care” in today’s world.
Director Todd Phillips also notes in an interview with Total Film the movie isn’t meant to be political, but provocative.
“I think there will be some 21-year-olds that go and watch it who just think it’s a version of a Joker story. And that’s fine, too,” Phillips said. “I don’t want to define it as this message movie, because it’s not. But it definitely is, the same way that ‘The Dark Knight’ was not a message movie, but it definitely was a post-9/11 (commentary.)”
“Joker” previously made headlines thanks to reports that Alec Baldwin would have played a villainous version of Thomas Wayne — Bruce’s father — in the vein of President Donald Trump. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
“Joker” is scheduled for an Oct. 4 release date.