Samuel Brace on why he think Joker could be the best DC movie since The Dark Knight Rises…
There’s little room to deny the dearth of quality found in recent DC movie offerings. For the most part it’s been lifeless, corny, directionless, and haphazard. The last six years have been a sorry state of affairs, to say the least. Ever since master filmmaker Christopher Nolan decided to move away from the genre post The Dark Knight Rises, a considerable, and demonstrable, diminution in quality has been seen and I see little opportunity to argue the contrary.
There was a time when one thought of great (not just good) superhero movies, that you instantly thought of Batman, that you thought of DC. This is no longer the case, but could it be again? It seems to me it very well could be, thanks to a film that has gotten a lot of people talking, a film, that despite its inherent weaknesses (a lack of Batman being the ne plus ultra), has incredible potential, a film starring a man named Joaquin Phoenix in a movie called Joker. I truly believe that this little flick can turn the tide back in DC’s favour, I truly believe that Joker can not only deliver the goods but become the best DC movie since The Dark Knight Rises, perhaps even since The Dark Knight. Why am I so optimistic? Well, because of four particular reasons. Allow me to explain myself.
It stands alone
DC, in recent years, has unsurprisingly tried to copy the Marvel model. We all know that this is the case so I see little point in recapitulating the point here. Thankfully, and although they have arrived here by a rather anfractuous path, DC has finally realised the error of their ways and appears to be forging a new route that also happens to be an old route. It seems to me that the folks at DC realised that they once had a mighty fine recipe for success, a recipe that brought them universal acclaim, but for some reason, they abandoned it in favour of something new. That recipe, of course, is simply making great movies that work by themselves and don’t connect to a larger universe. It was a recipe executed to perfection by Christopher Nolan in his Dark Knight Trilogy.
Thanks to the failures of the DCEU, however, it seems that Warner Bros is going to return to this dusty old formula in at least a limited capacity, and it seems that Joker is where it all begins. Hallelujah. I for one couldn’t be happier with this development. Joker has a chance to tell a tale that doesn’t need knowledge of concomitant stories, that stands alone, that entertains and enthralls for a couple of hours before sending its audience home without having to wonder where it all might lead or how Joker’s despair affects Aquaman. I pray that DC is rewarded, financially and critically, for this most welcome of moves.
Superhero movies, although presented in disparate ways, are really mostly the same; they nearly always involve the rescue of the world (or the universe) from some gargantuan threat. This is a tired trope that is trotted out time after time. But after a while it loses all impact because the audience doesn’t believe it, the audience doesn’t believe that the word will truly be devastated by this latest threat. And any film that bucks this trend, that instead decides to focus on something a little more local, a little more personal, normally reaps a nice reward.
This is an area where Joker can shine. This is an area where this film can set itself apart from the rest of DC’s recent library. I find it hard to believe that the world is going to be at stake in this solo movie about a clown turned criminal. This instead is going to be a personal story about a man who has found hell on earth, a man who has discovered no method for ordering the chaos of his life and instead inflicts his pain on others. Personal, relatable stories that simultaneously show audiences a side of life they might not know is always a recipe for success. If this adumbration is a correct one, Joker is going to stand tall as a shining beacon for all other superhero movies to follow.
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