Perpetuating cinematic violence


Photo provided by: Getty Images

Delaney Rosenblatt, Staff Reporter

It seems as if impossible scenarios only appearing on the silver screen have seeped their way into our tangible world. Mass pandemics, books being burned and self-driving cars seemed almost fictional. Now, I find myself watching movies that reflect my actual world. There are no talking animals, no time travel machines and no superheroes—although sometimes we need them—in the real world. However, there is a sense of fear and concern caused by the overwhelming violence that is extremely prevalent in films that reflect our modern society.

I am not trying to undermine the value of fear, action, gore or horror in movies. Movies are meant to make the audience feel. However, they are not meant for audiences to act on. It is no one’s intention and a producer’s nightmare for movies to inspire violent acts. Yet it happens again and again. Box office and critical hits like “The Dark Knight” and “Fight Club” have resulted in casualties and injuries across the nation. Movie theater attendees, toddlers, Starbucks employees and citizens have all been affected by violence perpetuated through movies. 

Take the 2012 Aurora mass shooting for example. On July 20th, the gunman entered a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises”, and opened fire on the audience. 70 audience members were left injured, and 12 passed away. While the gunman was in custody, he made several references to being ‘The Joker,’ leading authorities to believe he was directly inspired by the previous Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.” 

Justice has been served for the victims and their families for the most part, but the truth is, Americans are still scared. I am still scared. I cannot see a movie without thinking about what I would need to do in a horrifying situation. I could be watching a movie about princesses and fairies, and still be thinking of emergency exits and places to hide.

When cinematic violence is reflected in the real world, people get scared. Not the kind of scared a traditional horror movie would provide, but a deeply rooted sense of danger and insecurity. Following in the footsteps of previous Batman franchise films, the 2022 movie  “The Batman” is another provider of unnecessary cinematic violence. When it was revealed that the Riddler was using an online forum to recruit gunmen to help commit acts of terror on the city, I felt sick. The El Paso, Christchurch and Poway mass shootings have all been directly correlated to anonymous mass media sites, similar to the generic site used in the movie. To me, it is concerning to know that the media is providing this potential ‘inspiration.’ After seeing someone commit deadly acts of violence, it seems crazy that a movie would allude to this method after it had been the inspiration behind a similar event.

There are no simple solutions to this issue. Even though I was horrified by the gross amount of violence in “The Batman”, I still enjoyed it as a movie. But that feeling of fear stuck with me. My suggestion, for now, is to re-evaluate the MPAA movie ratings. “The Batman” was rated PG-13, which seems completely inappropriate given the content. At the end of the day, curse words and drug content will not stick with me, but fear and anxiety will.