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DC Should Avoid These Mistakes After Joker’s Success

Joker has defied the odds to become a critical darling and a commercial hit, but how can DC capitalize on that success without ruining what they’ve already created? After years of interconnected movie releases as part of the DCEU franchise, Warner Bros. are moving away from the shared universe format and more towards standalone fare. Yet even without this change in strategy, Joker was a highly risky proposition. An R-rated, low budget indie that showed about as much respect to superhero movie conventions as the Batmobile does to Gotham’s speed limits, Warner Bros. had kept Joker at arm’s length initially, and fans didn’t know quite what to expect either from the Todd Phillips movie.

In spite of this, Joker has proved to be a resounding success in every conceivable sense. The DC venture was warmly received on the festival circuit and is currently in contention for Oscar nominations in 3 major categories. Critical reviews have been glowing and Joker is heading towards the $1 billion mark at the box office, having already become the most profitable comic book movie of all time thanks to its relatively modest production costs.

Related: DC’s Joker Movie May Have Featured Villain Anti-Fate

Naturally, DC and Warner Bros. will now be wondering what comes next. Evidently, there is plenty of money to be made in Joker‘s characters, world and style, and DC have also hit upon a niche entirely their own, a world away from what Marvel is doing with the MCU. Alas, in other cases where an unlikely movie has become a major hit, studios have a history of scrambling to seize upon their new-found asset and ultimately end up stripping away the magic that brought success in the first place. How can DC avoid something similar with Joker?

The most obvious route DC could take with Joker is to green-light a straight-up sequel, but doing so would be fraught with problems and would almost certainly end up undermining the original. Firstly, one of Joker‘s major strengths is its ambiguity. Even after multiple viewings questions still remain over how much of the story was real, whether Arthur Fleck is the genuine Joker and whether some parts of the movie are set in the present day. The discussion around these topics (and, indeed, everything else in Joker) plays a considerable role in separating Todd Phillips’ movie from the rest of the superhero pack but the lack of straight answers is something a sequel would be obliged to address, stripping away the mystique.

It would also be incredibly difficult to make Joker 2 without it becoming Batman 1Joker sparingly incorporated elements of Bruce Wayne’s origin story, but any sort of direct sequel would be forced into addressing Batman explicitly, or else risk the Dark Knight becoming the elephant in the Bat-Cave. This would once again remove a quality that made Joker so special, taking some of the focus away from Joaquin Phoenix’s character and placing it onto an adult Bruce Wayne instead.

Lastly, Joker‘s release managed to capture lightning in a bottle. A perfect mixture of surprised fans, a wary studio and a director given free reign came together to produce cinematic magic, but those elements wouldn’t be present the second time around, making it impossible to replicate Joker‘s success in a sequel. Incorporating Phoenix’s version of the villain into other movies (perhaps alongside Robert Pattinson’s new Batman) is definitely an option, but a conventional follow-up should perhaps be avoided.

Related: Yes, Joker Is The Best Comic Book Movie Of 2019

One potential consequence of Joker‘s success is that DC will afford similarly introverted and artistic storytelling with other figures from their comic canon, and this could be a very positive step for the comic book movie genre. A dark, H. R. Giger-inspired Brainiac origin or a mind-twisting deep dive into the sadistic experiments of Dr. Hugo Strange, for example, could prove just as compelling and challenging as Joker. The potential pitfall DC might fall into, however, is the temptation to “go bigger” for subsequent efforts.

Now that the Joker format has proved successful, the door is open for Warner Bros. to throw more money at the concept, and perhaps even take a more active role in the production of similar movies. Once again, this would only serve to take away from the appeal Joker has enjoyed with audiences. Joker excelled in the comic book genre by keeping to a limited scale, forcing the story inwards and maintaining a laser-focus on Arthur Fleck’s personality. While there is undoubtedly a potential wealth of DC characters who would benefit from a Joker-style solo movie, the same DIY approach should be maintained, rather than allowing an inflated budget and corporate interference to turn a fresh concept into a generic blockbuster.

It’s unclear at present whether Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker will be integrated in the new Batman franchise that stars Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, either in 2021’s The Batman or in the inevitable follow-up. If this isn’t the case, however, DC will no doubt seek to introduce a new Joker for Pattinson to go up against, but this could prove to be a fatal mistake. Playing the Joker has become somewhat of a badge of honor among the acting fraternity and every new version of the villain is meticulously compared to the last. Jared Leto’s Joker was arguably afforded a negative response because Heath Ledger’s immortal portrayal was still firmly lodged in the cultural memory. The same will now be true of Joaquin Phoenix, at least for the foreseeable future, and any new Joker within the next few years could be doomed to fail from the start.

Similarly, there has been some talk of Jared Leto’s Joker returning imminently. The Clown Prince of Rubbish Tattoos could feature in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie, but reports have also emerged concerning a joint venture between Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, although those plans look to be shelved for now. Leto’s Joker has already proven divisive with fans, but Joaquin Phoenix’s interpretation of the same character really does put the final nail in that coffin, making DCEU Joker about as edgy as a teenager cursing in front of their parents for the first time.

Related: Why Joker Went Inside The Fridge

In many ways DC’s Joker is somewhat of a kindred spirit to 2016’s Deadpool. Both movies were unconventional, mature comic book-inspired stories that certain figures in the industry had to fight to get made. Both films had a limited budget, and were eyed with caution by their respective studios, but ended up having the last laugh when the box office cash came rolling in. However, Deadpool 2 did make one mistake that DC would do well to avoid, either with Joker, a sequel, or in future projects of the same ilk: Once Upon A Deadpool. While Deadpool 2 itself didn’t noticeably tone down the outrageous humor or violence of the original, the popularity of the first film did give rise to a holiday-themed PG-13 cut.

Although part of the proceeds thankfully went directly to charity, Once Upon A Deadpool was a fairly pale imitation of the original cut, borne out of a misguided desire to sanitize the film for a younger audience. DC could learn from this slip-up by acknowledging that a movie is either R-rated or PG-13, and not attempting to blur the lines between them for extra profit. In any case, a family-friendly version of Joker would run shorter than the pre-movie trailers.

More: Watchmen’s Rorschach Is What Critics Feared Joker Would Be


2019-11-13 03:11:50

Craig Elvy

Joker: Every Big Screen Version, Ranked By Power | ScreenRant

The Joker is DC’s most iconic villain. While this crown may have been held by Lex Luthor at some point, several amazing performances as the Clown Prince of Crime across several fantastic movies have elevated the Joker to dizzying heights of popularity.

RELATED: 10 Genderbent Joker Cosplays You’ve Never Seen Before

This consistent love of the Joker, perhaps, started with Jack Nicholson’s performance in Batman 1989, persisted through Mark Hamill’s stellar portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series, and cumulated in Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. This article will rank Joker’s film appearances according to power. Rather than focus on the quality of the actor’s performance, this list will focus on the power of the Joker in the film, whether it be physical or political.

12 Jason Spisak – Hush

Maybe it’s unfair to place Jason Spisak’s Joker on this list as he played a fairly small part in the recent movie adaption of Hush. However, while we didn’t get to see the Joker in his ‘prime’ in this iteration, we did least get to see him so he must be on this list.

In this movie, Joker is kidnapped by Harley Quinn, then ends up shooting Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend Thomas Elliot. After doing this, Batman beats Joker to a pulp. Consequently, Joker appeared in this to get kidnapped, kill a guy, then get beat up – not too powerful.

11 Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

2019’s Joker was an incredible movie. Taking inspiration from Scorsese classics such as the King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, Todd Phillips managed to craft a movie that superbly grounded the Joker into a 1980s world without Batman.

Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime was also superb, he perfectly captured the struggles of Arthur Fleck before he became Joker and managed to nail that difficult joker laugh. However, with regard to power, this Joker is not at all powerful. He does rely on luck at times throughout the movie and would have undoubtedly been stopped had Batman existed.

10 Jared Leto – Suicide Squad

Jared Leto’s performance and look as the Joker have been much criticized. While Leto has claimed that most of his scenes in Suicide Squad were unfairly cut from the final release, there is no doubt that Leto’s Joker represented a sharp turn from classic Joker, as this version featured tattoos, grills, and no eyebrows.

RELATED: Joker: 5 Things That Make No Sense (And 5 Fan Theories That Do)

Regardless of his style in the movie, Joker also did not seem that powerful. While he was capable of breaking Harley out of prison several times, he wasn’t shown to bring a city to its knees like other versions of the Joker would do.

9 John DiMaggio – Under The Red Hood

This version of the Joker follows the character after he committed one of his most heinous crimes – the brutal murder of Jason Todd.

The movie follows Batman as he tries to stop the mysterious Red Hood from taking over the gangs in Gotham. While the Joker wasn’t shown to be exceptionally powerful in this movie, it does follow the villain after his most heinous crime and the Joker does also manage to defeat Black Mask in this movie. However, apart from that the Joker just gets beat up a lot.

8 Mark Hamill – Mask Of The Phantasm

Following on from the established canon in Batman: The Animated Series, Mask of the Phantasm helped to establish more of a history for the Joker. In this version, the Joker was a mob enforcer who was connected to the Phantasm’s own past.

This movie shows Joker to be extremely cunning and clever. He is able to deduce that the Phantasm is tracking him and, as a consequence, is able to lay a trap for her. The Joker would have defeated her too if it wasn’t for Batman showing up.

7 Zach Galifianakis – Lego Batman

This version of the Joker, while not entirely memorable, was certainly unique and watchable. The return to a more clownish and PG version of the Joker felt fresh and new, allowing for a different take on the character.

With regard to power, this version can build Lego blocks in his lego world. So, world rearranging powers is a fairly decent superpower, but as every other Lego character can do this it isn’t too impressive.

6 Cesar Romero – Batman 1966

It may not be fair to include this version as he was working in tandem with the Riddler, the Penguin, and Catwoman, but it’s always fun to talk about the 1960s’ Batman.

In the feature-length movie, The United Underworld, comprised of the Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman, hatch a plan to dehydrate the United Nations Security Council. Despite being ultimately successful in dehydrating the Security Council, the Dynamic Duo are able to reverse the dehydration and defeat the villains. That being said, Joker and Co were successful for a short period of time, so that counts in his favor.

5 Jack Nicholson – Batman

Jack Nicholson’s involvement in this movie earned him top billing, even above Batman himself. Nicholson’s portrayal was closer to the comics than Heath Ledgers, as Nicholson stuck far closer to the cartoonish image from the comics.

RELATED: 30 Years Of Batman: 10 Things You Never Knew About Tim Burton’s Movie

This Joker is also fairly powerful in Gotham. As he was fairly well respected in the mob before he became the Joker, this version was able to use his experience to rise to become the leader of the Gotham mob. If this wasn’t enough, this Joker even poisoned several different varieties of cosmetic products sold in Gotham.

4 Mark Hamill – The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke may be the Joker’s defining moment. In the graphic novel the Joker, famously, shoots Barbara Gordon through the spine, paralyzing her from the waist down. This brutal act changed the character of Barbara Gordon, forcing her to retire as Batgirl and to become Oracle.

This movie, however, showcased a Joker that was incredibly powerful and cunning. He was able to trick his way out of Arkham and then defeat both Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon. The ambiguous ending of the Killing Joke could also make this the most powerful Joker, did he drive Batman to kill him? If he did this would be one huge win for the Joker.

3 Michael Emerson – The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns is a two-part feature based on Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel of the same name. In the first part of this movie, the Joker is not very powerful at all, as he is in a catatonic state. however, in the second part, the Joker is almost at his peak.

Joker appears on a talk show, kills the host and the audience. After the talk show, the Joker then tracks down a congressional representative and then uses mind control lipstick to make her order a nuclear strike. While it is true that Batman goes on to defeat the Joker in this movie, in a way, the Joker also wins here too. The Clown Prince of Crime, after having his neck broken by Batman in front of witnesses, then goes on to fully break his own neck so batman would be branded a murderer. Even in death, this Joker damaged Batman.

2 Mark Hamill – Return Of The Joker

This version of the Joker is in the same continuity as the Mask of the Phantasm Joker, but also deserves his own place on this list. The conceit behind this Joker has been missing for 35 years, but suddenly appears one night in Gotham to ambush the new Batman.

This list won’t include spoilers behind the Joker’s return, but you should certainly watch this movie. The reasoning behind the Joker’s return places him quite high on this list, as well as the fact that he is in command of an intimidating street gang.

1 Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight‘s Joker was, arguably, what elevated the Dark Knight to its high status. Heath Ledger turned in a stellar performance as the Joker that grounded the clown in the realistic world that director Christopher Nolan was trying to build.

Powerwise, this Joker ought to be ranked high. Despite not using mind-controlling lipstick, this Joker had deep connections in the Gotham mob and used them to bring the city to its knees.

NEXT: Joker: 10 Directors Who Should Make One-Off Comic Book Movies (& Who They Should Be About)


2019-11-13 03:11:07

Sam Hutchinson

Joker Director Says Joaquin Phoenix Improvised Insane Deleted Scene

Most comic book movies are never seriously considered for acting, writing, and directing awards. If superhero movies do win prestigious awards, it’s usually for sound editing, film editing, or special effects. However, after Joker won the Golden Lion award at its Venice Film Festival premiere, the film has broken new ground for the genre. Now, Warner Bros. is launching a serious Oscar campaign, pushing for Joker in the Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture categories. And, like many classic films, some of the movie’s best scenes were the result of a close working relationship between the director and leading actor.

Related: Joker Oscars Campaign Includes Best Picture, Director & Actor

Speaking recently with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Society (SBIFF), Phillips explained how Phoenix improvised two of the movie’s most memorable scenes. The movie’s cinematographer previously explained that the scene where Fleck climbs inside a refrigerator was improvised on the spot by Phoenix after a day on set. Now, Phillips gives more insight into the actor’s improvisational approach to filming Joker. In addition to the famous refrigerator scene, Phoenix also improvised another important character moment. After following a neighbor into her apartment, Fleck laughs hysterically in a living room, another scene that wasn’t in the script. In the video below, the comments begin at about 13:15.

So, we would finish our days early sometimes, and we started doing this thing Joaquin and I, we called it…’A study of insomnia.’It was our own fun little thing…we would do these things, the fridge is one of those, it wasn’t in the script, it was something that Joaquin just did…There were two or three other [scenes] we shot, one that is amazing in a bathtub, but I don’t think we could actually include it in an R-rated movie. And it’s not because it was pornographic, it was just insane.

That’s all the description of the “insane” bathtub deleted scene that Phillips provided during the Q&A. Based on his brief description, it’s possible it contained either nudity or extremely explicit language. Even R-rated movies have hard limits. Unfortunately for fans of Joker, Phillips has been clear about his attitude toward deleted scenes: he doesn’t do them. That means fans will likely never see deleted scenes from Joker, no matter how insane they might be. Ultimately, any improvised deleted scenes from Joker will probably remain on the cutting room floor.

Even so, the director’s comments are a testament to the unique movie that he created with Phoenix. By taking an unusual, low-budget approach to the superhero genre, the duo have created something truly original (not to mention the most profitable superhero movie of all time). Whether the film wins any Academy Awards or not, superhero movie fans won’t be forgetting it for a long time to come.

Next: Is Thomas Wayne Really Arthur Fleck’s Father?

Source: SBIFF


2019-11-12 03:11:04

Timothy Beck Werth

The Dark Knight: How Did The Joker Actually Get His Scars?

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight offered a more realistic interpretation of the Joker, and one of his particularities were the scars on his face, forming a permanent “smile” – but how did he get those scars? The Dark Knight is considered by both critics and viewers as one of the best superhero films of all time and the film that introduced one of the best versions of the Joker thanks to Heath Ledger.

The Dark Knight was the second entry in Nolan’s Batman trilogy and followed Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale), James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) as they joined forces to dismantle organized crime in Gotham City – but everything crashed and burned with the emergence of a unique type of villain known as the Joker, who really just wanted to watch the world burn. This version of the Clown Prince of Crime kept some characteristics from the “classic” look of the Joker, especially the suit, but his signature “pale white” face was actually washed up face paint (as well as his red lips and green hair), and he had very deep scars that formed a “smile”.

RELATED: What If Joker Was In The Dark Knight Rises

Those scars were hard not to look at, even for the characters in the film, prompting the Joker to share the story behind them – which ended up being quite confusing.

The Joker shared two very different stories about his scars throughout the film. The first one said his father was a drunk who used to beat his mother up during his drunken rages. One night, when his father went “crazier than usual”, the Joker’s mother decided to defend herself with a knife, something that his father didn’t like, so he took the knife from her and turned to a young Joker, who was watching the whole scene. His father taunted him with the knife, repeating “why so serious?” as he stuck the blade into his mouth, ready to “put a smile on that face.”

The second story was very different from that. Instead of his father, it was the Joker who did that to himself, all to help his wife. According to the Joker, his wife – who used to tell him he needed to “smile more” – got into trouble with gambling sharks who “carved her face”. As they didn’t have money for surgery and he wanted to “see her smile again” and let her know he didn’t care about the scars, he disfigured his own mouth in solidarity. Problem was: she couldn’t stand the sight of him, and she left. He ended the story by saying he now saw the funny side, as he was always smiling now.

A real reason behind his scars was never given, and the different stories were all part of his chaotic nature. The Joker didn’t care about telling people how he got the scars: he just wanted to plant fear, any way he could, and this also built his reputation and legend in Gotham City. And given this chaotic nature of his, it’s also fairly possible that he gave himself the scars simply because he could, and not because he had a wife with a disfigured face.

NEXT: What Happened To The Joker After The Dark Knight (He Didn’t Die)


2019-11-09 04:11:39

Adrienne Tyler

Joker Oscar Campaign Includes Best Picture, Director & Actor

Joker’s Oscar campaign includes pushes for best picture, director and actor. The controversial Todd Phillips film has had a lengthy road to its current box office glory, and with Oscar season starting to gear up, it remains a strong awards favorite for many. Having taken home its first award after a premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this past summer, Joker proved it wasn’t just another comic book movie. The film won the Italian festival’s Golden Lion – an award for best film which had previously gone to numerous other high profile films destined for Oscar glory, like Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma as well as Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

Since then, Joker’s progress has been anything but smooth, with controversy after controversy plaguing it. Many cinemas in America feared the film could inspire mass shootings, like the one which occurred in Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight in 2012. At one point during Joker’s press junket, Joaquin Phoenix – who plays Arthur Fleck/the Joker walked out of an interview after being asked if he thought the film might end up inspiring the kind of people it’s about. Yet through all its battles with media and critics, Joker has persevered in a big way.

Related: Joker Becomes Most Profitable Comic Book Movie Ever

As the race for Oscar glory now begins to heat up, Warner Bros. has revealed Joker’s For Your Consideration campaign on its website. The film is being put up for consideration in all categories, including best picture, director and actor. This likely won’t surprise many who have been following Joker since it first began to be screened in public, but the entire process is now official and the film will undergo the often laborious process of winning over Oscar voters.

It has previously been estimated (as recently as 2016) Hollywood studios typically spend anywhere from $3 million to $10 million in order to lobby Oscar voters. In the case of Joker, the film has arguably one of the greatest advantages going for it – a solid surrounding narrative. Love it or hate it, Joker has captured the public’s attention in a very big way, and that sort of attention does not easily escape those who vote for Hollywood’s biggest awards. This isn’t to say Joker will necessarily be successful in its attempts to bring home awards as highly revered as best picture, director and actor, but it does put the film in a rather advantageous spot.

On the flip side, however, there are still those who feel the film glorifies a particularly repugnant view of society and humanity. The controversies surrounding Joker may have died down somewhat, but the fact they existed in the first place could still pose problems. On one hand, if Joker is awarded best picture or director, the Academy risks siding with subject matter which some still believe encourages anti-social (and potentially lethal) behavior. Whether or not this is true in this case isn’t really the issue, either – a best picture win for Joker could mean more films of a similar nature in the future, leaving the Academy to look as though supports such subject matter. Ultimately, Joker should be considered for its worth as a film and not some imagined impact it could have on the public. But as we all know, there’s always more to any film’s popularity than what we see on the big screen.

Next: Joker’s Staircase Dance Scene Is The Movie’s Defining Moment

Source: Warner Bros.


2019-11-08 03:11:47

Mike Jones

Joker: 5 Things That Make No Sense (& 5 Fan Theories That Do)

Without a doubt, Joker is one of the most controversial films of the year. Not only has the dark subject matter gotten a lot of attention, but the reception of the film has also been quite divided. While the initial critical reaction was hugely positive, that response cooled leading up to the film release. Yet there are plenty of audiences who loved with film, leading to a record-breaking box-office performance.

RELATED: Joker: 10 Quotes That Will Stick With Us Forever

Nearly a month after its release, people are still talking about the movie and dissecting it. While it’s clear that not everything in Joker fits together neatly, there are plenty of fan theories that actually make the film more interesting. Here are some of the things that didn’t make sense in Joker and some fan theories that do.

10 Makes No Sense: Age Difference From Bruce

Leading up to the release of the film, the filmmakers made it perfectly clear that this origin tale of Joker would stand on its own, separate from the rest of the DCEU. While that seems to be largely true, the film did manage to fit Bruce Wayne into the Joker’s story. However, while Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, is a grown man in the film, Bruce is just a small child.

Whether or not this film is meant to connect to any other stories, the film seems to fully be implying that this young Bruce will grow up to become Batman. But how can there be such a huge age difference between him and his archenemy?

9 Fan Theory: Arthur Killed Sophie

The character of Sophie (Zazie Beetz) is one of the more interesting aspects of the film. Sophie is a single mother living in the same apartment building as Arthur. She is one of the few people who is nice to him and they form a romantic relationship. However, we later discover that the romance was imagined by Arthur.

RELATED: Joker: Top 10 Worst Things Arthur Fleck Has Done

The scene in which Arthur breaks into Sophie’s apartment and we realize the truth is a haunting moment. We then abruptly cut to Arthur going back to his own apartment and we never see Sophie again. Many fans have speculated that he killed her after faced with the truth of their relationship.

8 Makes No Sense: The Cops

Dumb cops in movies are a bit of a cliché at this point, but in a movie like Joker that is going for a more realistic feel, the incompetence of the detectives is a bit distracting. After Arthur kills the three men on the subway, two detectives show up and immediately think he’s a suspect. Then they do nothing.

Every time the detectives talk to him, he seems more and more guilty. Yet after killing his mother, killing a co-worker and leaving a witness, the cops are still inactive. Arthur does his iconic dance on the steps and these two detectives just stand there watching this suspected murderer dance then shout to him from far enough away that he can easily escape.

7 Fan Theory: Inspiration For Joker

Many fans have pointed out that, despite his transformation throughout the film, Arthur Fleck never seems like the same Joker we know from Batman mythology. This has led some to speculate that he is not actually the real Joker but rather the inspiration.

Arthur is not a man with a plan, yet he accidentally starts a violent and destructive movement in Gotham City and becomes the figure at the center of it all. The theory suggests that somewhere a young boy was taking in all the madness and inspired him to become the Clown Prince of Crime.

6 Makes No Sense: The Death of Bruce’s Parents

Few scenes have been recreated as often as the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. While Joker does shake the mythology up a bit by making Thomas Wayne a selfish and cold businessman, the film still felt the need to include the death scene in the same way we’ve seen it countless times before.

RELATED: Joker: 10 Essential Films To Watch Next

What makes the moment seem even more pointless is that it appears to come out of nowhere. During the riots, a random man in a clown mask guns the Wayne parents down rips the pearl necklace and walks away. It’s like the film was just going through the necessary paces without any meaning to it at all.

5 Fan Theory: It’s A Flash Forward

The last scene of the film has been discussed endlessly by audiences. After seeing Arthur celebrated by the rioters, we cut to him inside Arkham Asylum. The obvious first reaction to the scene is that Arthur was locked up following the murders. But some fans have suggested a different timeline.

One popular theory suggests that the final scene is meant to be Arthur’s first stay in Arkham while everything we saw before it was a flashforward. It could be a simple way of suggesting that Arthur always had this madness in him.

4 Makes No Sense: Talk Show Appearance

Probably the most infamous scene in the film is Arthur’s appearance on the talk show with Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). After coming on, dressed in his Joker make-up, Arthur admits to the murders, condemns society and shoots Franklin dead on live television. While it’s a shocking moment, it also feels a bit contrived.

By this point, it’s pretty much a guarantee Arthur would be wanted for murder. Not only would the cops have pegged him as a suspect but Gary would have gone to the police by now. How was Arthur allowed to walk on to national television without being arrested? And why would the network wait until long after Murray was murdered to finally cut the feed?

3 Fan Theory: Multiple Choice

Before the film was released, some fans were pushing back against the idea of a Joker origin tale, as they felt the character did not need an origin. In the comics, Joker admits that while he might tell one story, his origins are more multiple choice. Some fans believe that the film is following a similar path.

RELATED: Joker: 10 Moments Arthur Fleck Was Absolutely Terrifying

The idea is that the entire film has been Joker telling his origin story to the doctor in the Arkham. The reason he is laughing and telling her she wouldn’t understand is that he knows none of it was true and he is not the pitiable Arthur Fleck.

2 Makes No Sense: The Message

The movie garnered a lot of controversy leading up to its release by some people suggesting the film might inspire violent acts with its message. That criticism seems a bit unfair, as the film isn’t reckless with its statements. However, the real issue is that the movie doesn’t even seem to know what it wants to say.

Some have said the film is about mental illness, others have said it’s class divisions, some say it makes Arthur sympathetic, others say it’s all in his head. But while the movie touches on all these ideas, it doesn’t really commit to any of them.

1 Fan Theory: The Joke

The popular idea that the movie was all in Joker’s head has some issues when you revisit the entire story, but one interpretation of this idea is quite interesting. Again, with the mysterious final scene, Arthur is laughing at some joke in his head while explaining to the doctor that she wouldn’t get it.

The theory suggests that this man we’re seeing at the end of the film is the real Joker that we all know and that the movie was an elaborate and disturbing joke he imagined. But the punchline is not about his own origin, but rather the origin of his enemy Batman which he created. To Joker, this is a hilarious idea.

NEXT: Joker: 6 Reasons We Need A Sequel (And 4 We Don’t)


2019-11-04 03:11:38

Colin McCormick

Joker: Why Martin Scorsese Didn’t Direct (But He Considered It)

Martin Scorsese reveals why he didn’t direct Joker. By now, it’s no secret Todd Phillips’ latest takes numerous cues from Scorsese’s iconic filmography, particularly drawing inspiration from Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. In fact, for a while it looked like Scorsese was going to help produce Joker, but he ultimately did not receive credit on the final film. When Phillips came onboard, Scorsese walked away and moved on to other endeavors, like The Irishman.

That Scorsese flirted with a comic book adaptation is a bit amusing, considering his controversial comments about the Marvel Cinematic Universe that have dominated headlines over the past month. But anyone who’s seen Joker knows it’s a far cry from the typical “comic book movie.” Rather than relying on blockbuster spectacle, Joker is a dark, disturbing psychological drama about a man’s slow descent into insanity. It’s unlike anything the genre’s seen before, and it’s easy to see why the material might have been appealing to Scorsese.

Related: What Martin Scorsese Really Means By His Marvel Movie Criticism

In an interview with BBC (hat tip IndieWire), Scorsese addressed why he passed on helming Joker. Apparently, his decision boiled down to scheduling and doubts if he was the right fit for the project:

“I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. It was personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and Joaquin. You have remarkable work.

For me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character. You follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn’t mean it’s bad art, it’s just not for me…The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They are not easy to make. There’s a lot of very talented people doing good work and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them.”

It sounds like Scorsese seriously contemplated taking on Joker before passing. Phillips was hired as director in 2017, so Scorsese’s decision must have been made before then. By that time, Scorsese was already deep into pre-production on The Irishman, finally forging ahead with a passion project that lingered in development hell for years. Scorsese’s films always have a great deal of ambition behind them, but The Irishman was a tall task even by his standards, relying heavily on de-aging visual effects. The crime epic was a major commitment, and Scorsese obviously didn’t want to delay it any further. Rather than direct something he had reservations about, he opted to hand it off to someone else and pursue another film.

Normally, missing out on working with Scorsese would be a big blow, but Warner Bros. is probably pleased with the way things turned out. Phillips’ Joker won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is garnering Oscar buzz, and set multiple box office records. It recently became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time and is on pace to hit the $1 billion mark. As for Scorsese, The Irishman is poised to be one of Netflix’s biggest awards contenders this year, so it’s safe to say this whole situation was a win-win for everyone involved.

More: Standalone DC Movies We Want After Joker

Source: BBC (via IndieWire)


2019-11-04 03:11:15

Chris Agar

Joker Broke The R-Rated Box Office Record (But Beat The Wrong Movie)

Deadpool 2 is currently the second highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time behind Joker, but does it deserve that high ranking? The Merc with a Mouth’s second big screen adventure was recently usurped in box office terms by Todd Phillips’ Joker. A low-budget DC movie with no connection to any wider franchise, Joker was already a risky proposition before fans discovered it was essentially a detailed and disturbing artistic character study in which Joaquin Phoenix explores the mental state of a character who may or may not be Batman’s future nemesis. Joker has virtually nothing in common with the superhero movie genre or the general blockbuster format, but has still enjoyed phenomenal box office success thanks to strong reviews, an award-winning festival run and positive word of mouth. As the cyanide-laced cherry on the cake, Joker recently became the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time at the worldwide box office.

The film Joker toppled at the top of that pile was another comic book adaptation, albeit one from the Marvel camp – Deadpool 2. Ryan Reynolds’ original 2016 Deadpool effort was hailed as a perfect balance of violence, action and comedy, proving to studios in no uncertain terms that mature superhero movies could still bring in tons of cash. The follow-up introduced Josh Brolin’s Cable and Zazie Beetz’s Domino, and although the sequel perhaps wasn’t received as rapturously as its predecessor, Deadpool 2 was still a very worthy continuation that greatly expanded the fictional world of Wade Wilson and his friends. It also gave the world Rob Delaney’s Peter.

Related: Joker’s Staircase Dance Scene Is The Movie’s Defining Moment

Deadpool 2 currently sits as runner-up some way behind Joker in the worldwide box office rankings, but it could be argued that the original Deadpool movie is more worthy of that spot, not because of any difference in quality between the two installments, but due to how Deadpool 2 was released. Six months after Deadpool 2‘s initial theatrical run began, a re-edited PG-13 cut called Once Upon A Deadpool hit cinema screens, removing some of the grislier material for a more kid-friendly audience and inserting a framing device in which the film’s story was being narrated to Fred Savage in a nod to The Princess Bride. It was only because of this festive re-release that Deadpool 2 overtook the original, approximately raking in an additional $50 million and narrowly attaining second place with $785,046,920 to Deadpool‘s $782,612,155.

As such, it’s somewhat unfair for Deadpool 2 to sit above Deadpool at the worldwide box office rankings, and that ordering doesn’t provide an accurate reflection of the respective financial success of the two films. If the original Deadpool had also been re-cut for younger eyes and ears in Once Upon A Deadpool style, then it would currently be the movie sitting directly behind Joker in the 2019 table, and perhaps even could’ve seen off the Clown Prince of Crime’s challenge.

Arguably adding to the sense of injustice is the fact that many fans consider Once Upon A Deadpool to be an unnecessary addition to the series. The censored edit was largely deemed too similar to the first cut to warrant its own separate release, and this was highlighted when the UK’s film certification board gave Once Upon A Deadpool the exact same classification as the full-fat version of Deadpool 2. For many, Deadpool without an R-rating also seems like an entirely pointless exercise; akin to a Batman film without intense nighttime brooding on top of tall buildings. This was a key point of contention in Ryan Reynolds’ attempts to get Deadpool made in the first place, and the only saving grace is that part of Once Upon A Deadpool‘s takings were donated to charity.

If Deadpool 2‘s PG-13 edit had felt a little less like Diet Deadpool, it might’ve earned its position underneath Arthur Fleck at the worldwide box office, but the cynicism behind the Christmas re-release means that the original Deadpool has been cheated out of its rightful place.

More: Deadpool 2 Spoiled X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s Major Deaths


2019-10-31 01:10:48

Craig Elvy

Before Joker, Joaquin Phoenix Investigated Snuff Films With Nicolas Cage

20 years before playing The Joker in Todd Phillips’ acclaimed DC origin film, Joaquin Phoenix hunted snuff filmmakers with Nicolas Cage in 8MM. Lots of eventually acclaimed actors cut their teeth in Hollywood via horror films, and while 8MM straddles the line between horror and thriller, its subject matter is certainly horrific. Directed by Joel Schumacher – yes, the same one that made Batman & Robin8MM casts Cage in the lead role of Tom Welles, a private investigator who thinks he’s about seen it all.

Welles’ resolve to that end is challenged after being hired by a wealthy widow to investigate what appears to be a snuff film, found in her recently deceased husband’s belongings. While never definitively proven to be a real thing, the idea of snuff films – murders recorded on video – has persisted for decades, and it’s not hard to understand why the prospect both fascinates and unsettles many. Gory murders in a fictional film are one thing, recording real ones for pleasure is a different beast entirely.

Related: Nicholas Cage: His 5 Best Movies (And 5 Worst)

Welles’ quest to uncover the truth behind the alleged snuff film in 8MM leads him to some shady places, and that’s where he meets Max California (Joaquin Phoenix), a clerk at an adult video store. Max’s knowledge and connections are able to assist Welles in his search, and before long, it’s clear that he’s really a decent person at heart, terrified by the prospect of a real snuff film just as much as the veteran investigator. This is of course in sharp contrast to Arthur Fleck in Joker, a Phoenix character who ends up so twisted that he might well be fine making his own snuff movies.

Sadly for Joaquin Phoenix’s Max California, the character doesn’t survive 8MM. While Welles and Max do eventually discover that the snuff film they’re investigating is in fact real, Max ends up taken hostage by the filmmakers, who use him as a bargaining chip to make Welles bring them the only surviving copy of the film. Being murderers, they naturally double cross Welles, burning the film, and killing Max by slicing his throat. This comes after Max was already brutally beaten. In this case, unlike Joker, Phoenix doesn’t respond to the beating by getting revenge.

Unless one counts Joker itself, which is one of the darkest comic book films to date and features multiple gruesome kills, Phoenix has sadly never really returned to the world of horror. The closest he’s come is starring in the M. Night Shyamalan films Signs and The Village, released in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Still, neither of those get nearly as close to straight-up horror as 8MM does. Phoenix has been mostly happy to star in prestige dramas, such as Walk the Line, Her, and Inherent Vice. Hopefully one day Joaquin Phoenix will bring his talents back to the genre.

More: Is Joaquin Phoenix The Best Joker? We Compare Arthur To All Previous Versions


2019-10-29 02:10:29

Michael Kennedy

Joker’s Zazie Beetz Stars In Both Highest-Grossing R-Rated Movies

Actress Zazie Beetz has starred in the two highest-grossing R-rated movies ever – Deadpool 2 and now Joker. In 2o18, she appeared in Deadpool 2 as Domino, winning audiences over with her cool, collected demeanor and refusal to put up with Deadpool’s sass. Earlier this month, she starred as Arthur Fleck’s “love interest” in Joker, but her actual importance and involvement in the plot have been subjects of great debate.

In Deadpool 2, Beetz played a fairly large role, one that proved important both to the plot and to the future of that franchise. She will more than likely be back, too. In Joker, she was a tertiary character, living in the same apartment building as Arthur. Fans have speculated that either she or at her encounters with Arthur are simply a figments of the failed comedian’s twisted imagination, but her character remains an important role in Arthur’s life regardless. And thanks to the controversial film’s box office success, Beetz can now add a second R-rated movie to her top box office earnings.

Related: The Biggest Clue Joker Is In Arthur’s Head

Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld shared a photo of Beetz in both roles to Instagram, proudly announcing that she has now appeared in the top two highest-grossing R-rated films of all time. Deadpool 2 grossed over $785 million worldwide and Joker just passed $800 million. The latter film doesn’t appear to be losing much traction (if any at all), which is great for director Todd Phillips, lead Joaquin Phoenix, and Warner Bros. Early predictions pointed to a strong theatrical run but no one expected Joker to near a billion-dollar bow. Check out Liefeld’s post below:

Few people had likely noticed that Beetz is the link between both of the highest-grossing R-Rated movies, and who better than Liefeld (along with Reynolds) to enlighten us. It’s a seemingly pointless, “so what” observation, but it also indicates Beetz’s status as an up-and-coming star in Hollywood. She’s talented, funny, and a delight to watch onscreen. Her is career is definitely on an upward trajectory. At this point, who wouldn’t hire her? Beetz has also appeared in Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone for CBS All-Access and can currently be seen in Lucy In The Sky.

Now, technically, Deadpool 2 only reached the top spot at the box office for R-rated films because of its Christmas-themed, PG-13 release. While Joker, on the other hand, has reached the milestone in just the opening weeks of its release. Still, Beetz remains the constant between the two successful films, possibly proving Liefeld’s theory that she is a key ingredient for success.

Next: Every Box Office Record Joker Has Already Broken

Source: Rob Liefeld/Instragram

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2019-10-27 07:10:40

Hayden Mears