Remember that Oprah episode – don’t pretend you don’t – where she gave everyone cars? You get a car! You get a car! That’s what DC is doing with its character roster. The latest victim of this is the Joker, whom Deadline is reporting will see his own standalone origin story.
The film will reportedly be directed by Todd Phillips of The Hangover and produced by Martin Scorsese. Yes, that Martin Scorsese. The screenplay will be co-written by 8 Mile screenwriter Scott Silver along with Phillips.
The spin-off is said to be a “gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City” and will focus on the Joker’s origin and early days. This portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime won’t be played by Jared Leto, the current Joker-in-residence within the DCEU, and it won’t be connected to any previous portrayal of the character.
Despite some of my concerns about comic book movies in general, like the incoming glut of Spider-Man spinoffs, I’m actually super stoked about most of the movies on Marvel and DC’s dockets.
But this? This might be the worst idea DC has had yet. I’d love to find myself eating crow, or maybe Joker Fish, in a couple years, but there’s so much wrong with this picture, it’s hard to know where to start.
The relationship between the Joker and Batman is unlike anything else in comics, even after decades. Sure, various heroes have their arch-nemeses, but none are quite as elemental as Batman and Joker. Joker is less like a person and more like a flesh-and-blood manifestation of chaos and entropy that exists to oppose Batman and his single-minded crusade against crime. The Joker can’t exist without Batman, and Batman can never take the final step to stop the Joker.
One thing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight did a good job of was establishing just how important a lack of origin story is for the character. Joker’s lack of origin is as integral to the character as Batman’s all-encompassing origin story is integral to his. To make a movie of the Joker’s origin is the deepest possible misunderstanding of the character.
The principal crew on the movie doesn’t seem to make much sense, either. Phillips’ back catalog is mostly bro comedies like The Hangover and Old School. Fun movies, without a doubt, but it’s hard to see where the jump to gritty crime movies sits. Speaking of gritty, hard-boiled crime set in the 1980s, that does sound like Scorsese, and I have to wonder if the whole idea wasn’t hatched to get his name into the DCEU.
Here’s another take: So little about this whole plan makes sense, that it might just be the most Joker-esque plan we’ve yet heard.
The movie doesn’t have a release date or a cast just yet. What about you – jump into the comments to let us know if you think this is a good idea or not.