JOKER – Giving in to Sin

MV5BNGVjNWI4ZGUtNzE0MS00YTJmLWE0ZDctN2ZiYTk2YmI3NTYyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_It has been said that a hero is nothing without a good villain. Lacking a proper antagonist to stand in the way of the hero’s journey, the hero’s eventual triumph isn’t as satisfying. Modern myth has produced many gripping hero/villain conflicts, but few match the intensity and poeticism of the ongoing battle between the iconic DC Comics hero Batman and his arch-nemesis, the Joker.

The Batman/Joker conflict has been explored, remade, revamped, and picked apart for years – and is still entertaining and compelling today (read more about it here in an article I wrote back in 2015 for the Joker’s 75th anniversary).

Director Todd Phillips adds another interesting facet to this decades-old conflict with his newest film, Joker – an intense character study that delves into the dark origins of the Clown Prince of Crime. Intended as a stand-alone film created outside of the current DC Extended Universe continuity, the film is an emotional tour-de-force that sucks the audience in almost immediately and never lets go until the very last frame.

Well-crafted and acted, Joker also has a lot to say spiritually. Gotham City is a terrible place and a reminder of our own individual relationship with sin.


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HOBBS & SHAW – The Human Factor

HS PosterI enjoy the Fast & Furious franchise, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Oh sure, some highbrow film fans may look down their noses at this series, but these movies are fun and seldom disappoint when it comes to well-shot action sequences and a charismatic cast that is wonderful to watch work together.

After eight (yes, eight) films, the Fast & Furious franchise has produced its very first spin-off, starring two of the series’ most interesting side characters: the one-liner machine Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and the villain-turned-antihero Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

Based on the action pedigree of the two leads alone, Hobbs & Shaw should be an entertaining romp. And it is…for the most part. The cast is impeccable and fun to watch interact with one another. The action is outstanding and ridiculous (in a good way). And the themes that the series is known for are being carried on – albeit on some serious steroids.


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