It’s been days since Joker movie hit screens, and it’s already stirring up controversy.

There has been a lot of talk about the latest Joker movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. The DC Comics film was released on Friday, October 4, and it has already grossed over $234 million worldwide, making it a box office hit.

This psychological thriller movie details the origin story of Batman’s archnemesis, The Joker, and how he turned out to be the notorious villain. While the eagerly-anticipated film has been a huge hit, it hasn’t been without criticism.

There has been a growing concern the Joker movie is too “violent” and glorifies revenge killings. Others claim it represents an extreme level of mental illness, which might negatively influence its viewer’s behaviors.

Apparently, many are saying it’s “so dark” that people are walking out of theatres, some even suggesting the movies should be “banned” because of its violent scenes.

One viewer wrote on social media.

“I’ve just walked out of the Joker. Maybe I was naive in going/didn’t realize what an origin story would be like, maybe because I live with someone with MH [mental health], it was just far too dark for me to be able to watch.”

Another corroborated:

“Mental illness is a serious topic…… Horrible, dark movie. We walked out of it. We don’t recommend it. We already live in a sick society. Let’s not add to it please!”

While a third person added:

“Would just like to say if anyone is thinking of going to watch the Joker movie, there should be a giant red trigger warning banner while buying tickets or something, people walked out after the first graphic shooting & there was quite a few after.”

According to reports, Phoenix even had difficulty when nailing the villain’s laugh. He told The Hollywood Reporter that it was something “almost painful.”

Phoenix explained:

“I think for Joker, it’s a part of him that wants to emerge. I think we all kind of assume what a Joker laugh is and it felt like a new, fresh way of looking at it.”

“I didn’t think that I could do it, I kind of practiced alone but I asked Todd to come over to audition my laugh. I felt like I had to be able to do it on the spot and in front of somebody else. It was really uncomfortable. It took me a long time.”

“I found that I would identify certain parts of his personality or his motivation, and then I would back away from that because I wanted there to be a mystery to the character. Throughout the course of shooting, it felt like every day we were discovering new parts of his personality, up until the very last day.”

But Joker director, Todd Phillips, defended the movie on Wednesday night, October 2, during the New York Film Festival saying:

“Isn’t it a good thing to take away the cartoon element about violence that we’ve become so immune to? I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it’s irresponsible. Because, to me, it’s very responsible to make it feel real and make it have weight and implications.”