I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the upcoming Joker movie has been a bit of a…joke (nailed it). The Batman cinematic franchise has been a tossed around like a beach ball at a Nickelback concert. The Joker’s most recent cinematic incarnation was an internet meme from the moment the first still of the character was released.
Even the recent Killing Joke animated movie–which brought back the iconic voices of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy–was met with a resounding “eww“. I say again…the DC animated universe (which consistently puts out great stuff) produced a movie adaptation of one of the most iconic comic storylines for one of the most iconic characters ever using the actors whose voices you definitely hear in your head when you think of them…and it bombed. To be fair, that was mostly due to the nonsensical addition of a sexual relationship between Batman and Batgirl.
All this is to say that Joker has an uphill battle in the court of public opinion.
And then this happened:
It would be going too far to say something like “and the internet lost its mind!!!!!!!!” but, from what I’ve seen, it is safe to say the atmosphere seems to be optimistic. Now, I’m not on social media right now so I’m sure the world there is aflame as it is every time Ben Affleck sneezes.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) September 16, 2018
But I actually think there are some good reasons to be optimistic about Joker. And it’s not just because I love Batman so much I’m willing to do the mental gymnastics that make even a turd like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice watchable.
First off, Joker has taken a lot of heat for being directed by Todd Phillips; a guy who is primarily known for stoner buddy comedies like The Hangover, Old School, Due Date, Starsky & Hutch, and Road Trip. While it’s true that’s what makes up most of his catalog, it is worthwhile to note that those are pretty well-made movies (apart from the varying levels of actual comedy in those flicks). There is definitely something to be said for someone who can pull off tired tropes in interesting ways. I’d certainly rather a competent director step out of his wheelhouse than let Zack Snyder show us 300 for the 12th time or let Brett Ratner do literally anything.
But the real kicker is the one outlier on Phillips’ IMDB page. His first feature film is Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies. Which is one of the–if not *The*–seminal documentaries about legendary punk musician GG Allin. For those of you who don’t know GG Allin, let’s just say this: if The Joker actually existed, he would probably tell GG Allin to take it down a notch. If Phillips can coax even a fraction of GG Allin out of the very talented and Joaquin Phoenix, this could be a really great movie.