The year is 2018. There have been five movies released in the DC Cinematic Universe. Only one was good and one was okay. Continuity has been vague. The actor playing Batman is potentially being recast. There are now two Jokers that are from the same movie studio, yet are not connected.
How did we get here? Well, I have a few thoughts. The real question we should be asking is “Do we need a standalone Joker movie?” The answer is no.
Let’s pretend that the current state of the DC Comics movie franchises isn’t in shambles. They’re okay, but not great. Why would you want to kick a movie franchise while it’s down? That’s what Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are doing with this upcoming Joker film.
Don’t get me wrong, Joaquin Phoenix, who is set to star in the title role, is an amazing actor. He’s cooky enough to play the Joker and his acting chops are polished enough to take on the role. He isn’t the issue. The issue is creating a film that belongs to a certain universe and essentially…removing it from said universe. It’s unnecessary. It’s confusing and sadly, it’ll probably be the nail in the coffin of the DC Cinematic Universe.
Getting an amazing actor to star in an unnecessary movie for a studio that already has a huge problem on their hands in not the solution.
That’s like saying that Robert Zemeckis is starting production on Forrest Gump 2 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Forrest’s son. No. People actually liked Forrest Gump.
It’s really like saying that Anthony Hopkins will star in a sequel to the cursed Green Lantern flick as an older version of Ryan Reynolds. Great actor, bad movie, and a sequel that no one ever asked for.
Look, I want the DC Universe to succeed. I really do. It just seems to me that the people making the decisions clearly do not know where to move forward given the current state of things, so they move backwards.
I’m no film production expert but I have a few ideas. Perhaps DC Entertainment should focus on polishing up what they currently have and expand on ideas that we are NOT expecting but in a good way.
Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans were recently questioned about what they would do if they were in the shoes of the DCU writers. Their answer was to shift their focus to characters that not everyone is familiar with. They claimed that they were forced to do just that in the early days of the MCU with Thor, Black Widow and even Iron Man because they did not own the rights to their better-known characters. Now those characters are household names!
I think that instead of starting over (because let’s face it, I can’t take yet another Batman backstory, Superman recasting or build up), they should accept where the continuity is, and start picking at other players in their roster. If they make a movie about, let’s say, Blue Beetle, and it does well, great! Wait for the success and build around it accordingly.
I believe that DC’s first misstep was that after the release of Man of Steel, the success of Marvel’s MCU started to sink in and DC became impatient. They wanted more or less the same for their franchises. What they then did was say, “Hey, we just did a Superman film so let’s just build off that!”
From there, a rushed, unorganized web of messy storytelling and blatant use of fan-favorite characters started growing and now seems like it won’t stop.
This Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix is happening. There’s no stopping that. I hope it’s good but I’m not holding my breath. I’m just afraid that the reception of this unwanted film will decide the future of DCU films.