Todd Phillips’ Joker is set to hit cinemas in October, but could it end up being the very best comic book movie of 2019? I think it could very well be, and here’s why.
2019 is already proving to be quite a special year for comic book movies. So far, we’ve had Glass, Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
That’s not a bad crop of movies at all, however, could Joker be about to blow all those other movies out of the water? I think it might well do, and for one simple reason: it’s not going to be a comic book film.
Let me explain. Joker is going to in some sort of limbo genre: part comic book movie, part gangster drama. The closest example I can think of is Road To Perdition, which is based on a graphic novel but doesn’t feel like it is.
Todd Phillips has already come out and said that Joker will anger comic book fans because it’s not actually a comic book movie.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” he told Empire Magazine.
“We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
To be perfectly honest, this is why I’m so looking forward to this film. Hopefully, it’ll follow none of the rules set up in the previous films or the comic books and in turn create something genuinely fresh within the genre.
Martin Scorsese acting as a producer on the film should have given us a hint that this would be the case. He doesn’t tend to associate himself with comic book movies, and he obviously saw something interesting and different in Phillips’ script.
It’s been said that the film was inspired by the Scorsese film, The King of Comedy, rather than any of the comic books involving Joker, and that really makes sense.
This film will also be set outside of the DCEU, which is in a bit of a mess at the moment, and hopefully, DC and Warner Bros. will continue to do these sorts of one-off films.
We’re already getting the connected comic book films from Marvel. What’s wrong with Warner Bros. and DC trying something a bit different. Answer: absolutely nothing.
If anything, they should embrace this and be as different as they can be from their Marvel rivals. Focusing on contained stories and making their films as good as possible is the best way forward for them.
They’ve tried to replace what Marvel has done with the DCEU and it didn’t really work. There have been some good films within the DC cinematic universe, yet the overriding feeling has been one of disappointment as far as the recent DC Comics movies are concerned.
Then there’s the fact that Joaquin Phoenix has agreed to star as the Joker in this movie. That’s huge in itself because he’s notoriously picky with his roles. He only does something for the craft, not the paycheck, and he must have seen something genuinely new in Phillips’ script to say yes to playing the role.
He also turned down Marvel to play Doctor Strange, which spices things up a notch.
The trailer which was released also made me think that Joker would end up being superior to the likes of Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home and Shazam! because feels so low key.
It doesn’t look like this will be the sort of film to have a big action-heavy final third. Instead, this film will focus on its lead character and include actual character development and explore themes never before tackled in a comic book movie.
There’s a lot to be excited about with this upcoming Joker movie, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being very divisive upon release because it does look so different to what’s come before it.
There’s also the fact that this will be the third iteration of the Joker character in a relatively short space of time, and people will naturally compare Phoenix’s version to Heath Ledger and Jared Leto’s.
I have a sneaky suspicion that I’ll end up loving the film, and even if I don’t, I would still want to applaud Warner Bros. for agreeing to do something unexpected with their comic book properties.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the 5 actors who could play Catwoman in The Batman, the 5 actors who could play The Penguin in the movie, and the 5 movies you should watch if you still think Robert Pattinson won’t be a good Batman.You can also have a read of our reviews of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Hellboy and Glass.
In the meantime, why not catch up on your Batman knowledge by watching the previous films in the franchise, which you can purchase here! It’ll be worth your while, I promise.
Joker will hit UK cinemas on October 4th, 2019.
Have you listened to our podcast yet? Small Screen Radio features Small Screen’s Film Club and Cinema Ramble. If you like movies, listen to our podcast!