I’m sure I’ve not been alone in thinking that Hollywood really needs to focus on a great villain-oriented movie. I’ve said it about Voldemort before and I’ve discussed why Suicide Squad doesn’t count. But now, we can finally take a look at the recently announced Joker movie! Should we start worrying yet? Well, there are certainly a few reasons here and there that could give our confidence a knock…but let’s not throw our remaining faith in DC out of the window just yet. Instead, let’s take a look at the news update itself and go from there!
The Joker News!
Over the last few days it has been announced that an origin story for the Joker has been given a green light. Filming will potentially begin as early as September. The Hollywood Reporter describes the movie as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” It’s still very early in this process, so we don’t know much else about the movie itself. Rumors suggest that this Joker will be separate from Jared Leto’s recent version. However, it’s still too early to rule out the possibility of it being a prequel.
Joaquin Phoenix (Her and Gladiator) will be stepping into the Clown Prince of Crime’s shoes. The question remains: are these shoes too big to fill (clown pun intended!). We’ll look past Leto’s version for a moment and instead focus on some of the previous Jokers. We of course have Heath Ledger who revolutionized the role in The Dark Knight. Of course nobody can forget the Jack Nicholson Joker facing off against Michael Keaton’s Batman in 1989. I’m sure some of you are even more familiar with the animated Joker voiced by Mark Hamill. Suffice to say that portraying the Joker comes with a hell of a lot of baggage!
In the director’s chair will be none other than Todd Phillips. This might not be the first director you think of when considering one suited to tell the dark and gritty tale of one of the most popular villains of all time. Phillips is famous for movies such as Old School, Due Date, Project X, and of course The Hangover trilogy. Unless the Joker is planning on chugging bears and streaking then this movie is going to test my faith leading up to its release!
Why So Serious?
Why so serious? That’s a fair question! This seems as good a time as any to bring Jared Leto back into the picture. Before I continue, let me just acknowledge that the final product of a movie involves a lot of people (like a lot!). So even though I’m about to criticize his version of the Joker, I’m not putting the full weight of the blame on him. Other people wrote the story, other people chose the weird clothing and gold teeth, other people cut scenes, ETC…you get the idea.
Leto’s Joker, as far as myself and many other DC fans are concerned, was an absolute abomination. Not only was the character a disgrace but Suicide Squad in itself made the claim that it would be different to other superhero movies (which it wasn’t). Despite labelling the characters “villains” it was actually exactly the same as every superhero movie that has ever existed! My worry stems from the fact that this Joker is “meant to be different from comic book super hero movies.” Sound familiar? Something tells me that if a movie has to preface itself with being “different” then chances are it won’t be.
Perhaps just as worrying, if not more so, is that this new Joker story won’t be alone as far as Joker-oriented films are concerned. Leto is set to appear in his own Joker movie along with roles in Suicide Squad 2, A Harley Quinn movie and potentially the Gotham City Sirens movie which was announced back in 2016. Oh, and don’t let me forget the “Harley Quinn and Joker Romcom” which is set for release in 2020. If there is one character in all of movie history who we don’t want to see exhausted and overused, it is the Joker!
Is it All Doom and Gloom?
I don’t want to sound like I’m jumping on the “let’s hate the new movie” bandwagon. In truth, I’m looking forward to the Phoenix/Phillips version. While an origin story isn’t what I want to see, it could allow an interesting perspective on a character whose origins are purposefully mysterious. My main concern is that this mystery is one aspect of the Joker that I don’t think we should explore. There are few fictional characters who you could describe as being as insane as the Joker…so would it even be possible to show on-screen the events that lead to this maniacs creation? Personally, I’m of the belief that any Joker origin story will come across as feeling clichéd and allow the character to become nothing more than a standard villain.
Still…even a broken clock is right twice a day! So perhaps DC will actually hit the nail on the head with this one. All the other Joker nonsense that is going on with DC can cease to exist as far as I’m concerned. Am I the only one with this opinion? I certainly can’t imagine so. If we focus on the Phoenix and Phillips movie then perhaps there is something for us to look forward to. After all, the announcement that Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker was met with horrific criticism, and look how that turned out!
With a relatively small budget of $55 million, it seems likely that the movie will have to limit the crazy special effects that DC has been using as of late. I think that in itself is a triumph! It will hopefully allow the movie to be entirely character-oriented rather than giving the studio an opportunity to demonstrate its new toys and capabilities.
So do we have something to look forward to? I’d certainly say so. There will be a few hurdles along the way and plenty of potential pitfalls, but if the movie can avoid all of them then there’s no reason it couldn’t be incredibly successful. Phoenix is a great actor who commits himself entirely to a character. He considered the role of Doctor Strange, turning it down because he didn’t want to be tied into multiple movies. So if he’s happy going for this Joker film then we have to assume that it sparked some interest.
A release date for the movie has yet to be confirmed but recent reports suggest that a 2019 release date is on the table. I guess we’ll just have to be patient and see how this story develops!
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on the news of this Joker origin story? Does it excite you or worry you? Comment down below!
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