World’s Best Media’s SPRING 2021 Movie & TV Preview, Week 2\Week 3 continues! An insane amount of awesome trailers have dropped online over the past 24 hours, including some of the most anticipated projects of the year. Each of them looks fantastic in their own way, but I’ll let you be the judge! Check them out below…
Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1
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On this episode, The World’s Best Podcast crosses over with the Cuff’s Basement Podcast to review Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which recently premiered on HBO Max! Along with Tim and Ryan, we breakdown a film that is vastly different from the original 2017 Justice League theatrical release. In fact Zack Snyder‘s Justice League is more like a entirely new film, than a director’s cut. We go over everything from what worked to what didn’t, as well as what we loved about the film and what we may have disliked. In this fun and far reaching discussion which yielded one of our best episodes this year, so far!
While promoting the film, Zack Snyder offered up a lot of interesting information, teases, and images about what might have been, had things gone according to plan and the DCEU stayed on the track that began with Man of Steel. Snyder originally envisioned a 5-film “Lord of The Rings” style epic, that included Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and culminated in a massive Justice League trilogy. As a result there were a lot ideas and concepts that were played around with that were abandoned. A good example of how somethings could’ve played out slightly differently is, how in one of the subplots in Batman V Superman, involved Wonder Woman attempting to retrieve an old photograph of herself and her comrades-in-arms from WWI. This of course tied into 2017’s Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins. However, before the story for the first wonder woman film had been finalized there was still some to be about exactly how long Diana had been away from Themyscira fighting wars in “Man’s World”. Some beautiful images were commissioned showing Diana fighting alongside soldiers in wars much farther back in history, closer to The Crimean War than World War I. Snyder shared a few of them online that I thought were particularly interesting which you can take a look at right here:
Snyder offered up another sneak peek at The Snyder Cut, whe he confirmed the long running fan theory that General Swanwick played by Harry Lennox (Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice) was actually J’onn J’onnz: The Martian Manhunter, hiding among mankind. Snyder revealed that the character would indeed be making an appearance in his Justice League when it premiered on HBO Max, with Lennox returning for the role. DC helped Snyder give fans at hint at the character’s design in the film, by publishing variant covers of the JL comic book a few months back, featuring the movie version of this classic character drawn by the legendary Jim Lee. Take a look…
This also wraps up WEEK 1 of World’s Best Media’s Spring 2021 Movie & TV Preview! We have even more great content coming your way in WEEK 2, with exciting new series like Amazon Prime’s INVINCIBLE, from the creator of The Walking Dead!
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
I came across this video today as I was looking through YouTube today, and I realized that many of you may not have ever seen this cool animated short (or even knew it existed). Back in 2013 the amazing folks behind Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, released this short animated film called “Chase Me”. It’s a fun, quick little story about Batman trying to catch Catwoman after a minor heist she’s pulled off. But the whole chase is really a metaphor for the romance and attraction that’s at the heart off their relationship. There’s always the folks behind Batman: The Animated Series understand what makes The Dark Knight tick, better than most. If you haven’t seen “Chase Me” before, you can check it out right here and if you have seen, any excuse to dive back into the world Batman: The Animated Series, is well worth your time. Watch it here:
What did you all think of this short film? Let me know in the comments below!
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I’m really looking forward to the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League premiering on HBO Max next year. The more I hear about it the more I’m excited by it. Zack Snyder is a very polarizing figure among fans, personally, I find much more to like in Zack Snyder‘s work than there is to dislike. I love Man of Steel and though it’s a very flawed film, I love Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Based on some statements made by Snyder in recent interviews, it sounds like this project is more of a remake of Justice League than a director’s cut. Snyder has said he’s not using any of the material that Joss Whedon shot and the current runtime of The Snyder Cut is around 4 hours. I don’t know if HBO Max is going to release this as one big piece of content or divide it into a miniseries, but the bottom line is there is going to be a shit load of new stuff in this movie. New characters, new storylines, major scenes playing out completely differently.
A recent clip from The Snyder Cut that was released online is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The scene involved Superman visiting Alfred after his resurrection, to get the information he needed to help the rest of The League win the day against Steppenwolf and his forces from Apokolips. The key difference in this new clip is Superman‘s wearing his iconic post-resurrection, black costume, which is a cool call back to The Death and Return of Superman storyline from the original comic books. In a recent interview, Zack Snyder said that Warner Bros. was vehemently against a black suited Superman, but to keep his options open, he shot the scene with a version of the Superman suit with the traditional red and blue, but the colors and the tone were slightly different from other red and blue suits that were used. This was done because those slightly different color tones are easier to change in post-production using VFX. Now Snyder could go back and change the color of the costume to a sort of “ash” grey cape and Superman emblem, on a black body suit. I posted the short clip below. It’s a small, but cool change. And when it comes to sneak peeks at the upcoming “Snyder Cut”, the changes for the better don’t stop there…
One of the worst things about the theatrical cut of Justice League was it’s villain, Steppenwolf. Not only was he an uninteresting and boring character, but the CGI design was terrible. When Batman V. Superman came out, a deleted scene called “Communion” was released online that showed Lex Luthor using the Kryptonian ship to communicate with a very different looking Steppenwolf. Much cooler and much scarier. You can watch that below if you haven’t seen it:
I loved this design, Steppenwolf is one of The New Gods, a servant of Darkseid. I loved this almost demonic, monstrous take on the character. Thanks to these images released online, we know that Steppenwolf has been completely redesigned for The Snyder Cut. This is clearly much more in line with the creature we see in “Communion”. Take a look…
I thought it would be very interesting to see that same aesthetic applied to Darkseid and the other New Gods. Now, with Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it looks like I’ll get my wish. Darkseid was originally going to be the main villain of the film and with the added emphasis put on The Lord of Apokolips in the first teaser for The Snyder Cut, we should expect to see Darkseid as a prominent figure in the film. Early in the theatrical cut of Justice League, we’re show an ancient battle sequence at the beginning of Justice League, which features Amazons, Atlanteans, human armies, the old gods, and even a Green Lantern, fighting together to push back the forces of Apokolips, lead by Steppenwolf, during their first invasion of Earth. In the teaser for The Snyder Cut that I just mentioned, the invasion is now lead by Darkseid. Here’s that teaser to refresh your memory:
Interestingly, in one of his recent interviews Zack Snyder mentioned that the film won’t even be called Justice League anymore. I’m not sure what the new title will be and if the change is for legal or creative reasons, but we’ll find out sooner or later. DC is currently gearing up for a big event on August 22nd called DC FANDOME. The 24 hour online event will be showcasing DC characters and properties across all mediums. There’ll be some big announcements about upcoming DC projects in film, comics, TV, and more. We should definitely expect to get an update on The Snyder Cut in some form or another. It could be another trailer or new information, but regardless we will be comprehensively covering the DC FANDOME event here at World’s Best Media. For more on DC FANDOME, go to http://www.DCFanDome.com !
So are you looking forward to The Snyder Cut? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Big Paul Sr. returns to the show for a sobering reminder of how aging can lead to a steep cognitive decline! More importantly, we cover the big news of the week: Michael Keaton may be returning to play Batman alongside Ezra Miller’s Flash, in the upcoming Flashpoint movie? The man who many people think is still the best to ever wear the cape and the cowl, returning to the role of The Dark Knight is extremely exciting!
Getting a Flash movie to the big screen has been an enormous struggle for DC and Warner Brothers. The film has already gone through multiple writers/directors and was originally scheduled for release more than two years ago. Barring anymore disasters, The Flash is going to be helmed by Andy Muschietti, who directed the recent hit horror films, IT and IT: Chapter Two. Despite all the drama behind the scenes, one thing has remain constant: The Flash film will be an adaptation of the seminal Flash storyline, Flashpoint.
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Andy Kubert, Flashpoint told the story of Barry Allen (The Flash) going back in time to prevent his mothers murder. However, changing this one event has dire and far reaching consequences that Barry never could have foreseen. Barry finds himself in a much darker and dangerous version of the DCU that he knows. Kind of like Back To The Future II. However, one of the most significant and interesting changes is revealed when Barry heads to Wayne Manor to seek out the help of his friend and fellow JL member, Batman. When Barry enters The Batcave, a nearly psychotic Batman attacks him. At which point Barry makes a horrifying discovery, the man underneath the bat cowl is actually Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father! As a result of Barry‘s manipulation of the timeline, one of the major changes effected the creation of The Dark Knight on that fateful night in Crime Alley, in Gotham City all those years ago when The Wayne’s were attacked by a mugger. Bruce was now the one shot and killed, instead of his parents. So Thomas Wayne became Batman. A much more violent and unhinged Batman. Working together, Barry and Thomas Wayne set out to fix the timeline. That’s the set up.
This is just speculation on my part, but like a lot of comic book adaptations of specific stories, I think a lot of liberties will be taken with the source material with this Flashpoint film. A good example is Captain America: Civil War, that story was based on the miniseries Civil War and is vastly different from the source material. So what I think will happen is, maybe instead of an alternate timeline, Barry will enter an alternate universe, like the universe of Tim Burton’s Batman and that’s where he’ll meet and team up with Michael Keaton‘s Dark Knight. Maybe he travels to another alternate universe with Barry, I don’t know how it will work. But you can definitely see how they could fit Michael Keaton’s Batman into a story like this.
I know DC also wants to use Keaton in a role similar to Nick fury in the MCU, one example that’s been rumored suggests Keaton’s Batman showing up in a Batgirl movie. However, I think if DC and Warner Bros. want to do a film about a young Bat-themed hero, they would be crazy not to adapt Batman Beyond. It works perfectly, an older Bruce Wayne played by Keaton, training Terry McGinnis as the next Batman in futuristic Gotham City. It was a phenomenal TV series and it could be a phenomenal film series, as well.
Bottom line is, there a lot of thrilling possibilities with Michael Keaton returning to play Batman and all of them are exciting! We get into in all on this episode so, enjoy!
The Flash or Flashpoint (whatever they end up calling it) is currently set to hit theaters on June 3, 2022
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter@PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
*Note: This article was written before the announcement that Ruby Rose, the actress who plays Batwoman, has left the series and will be replaced in Season 2.
Batwoman Season 1 ended almost two weeks ago, and I had intended to write a review on here when that happened, but I hadn’t realized the season had ended because it was an abrupt, COVID interrupted season. I won’t hold that against Batwoman obviously, and please don’t hold my tardiness on this subject against me.
I’m going to be frank with you, and tell you that while I might be in the minority, I really enjoyed Batwoman. I think there was a ton of things that were done really well. I also recognize that it had several faults, and I’m not blind to those. I think, for the sake of redemption, I will start us off with the parts that I don’t like, and work towards the things that made this show work for me.
I think it was back before the mid-season break, I had a conversation with Paul about the show, and one of the things that he pointed out that made no sense what-so-ever was the idea of The Crows. As I watched the second half of the season with this in mind, I realized he was completely right. The Crows, are Gotham’s premium and private ‘police’ service. They don’t exist in place of The GCPD, but in addition to it. They’re essentially independent contractors acting like Police, but with less restriction, and seemingly less self-restraint. A local law enforcement version of Blackwater.
At best, their existence doesn’t make any sense. With the appearance of Batwoman, a vigilante acting outside of the law, of course The Crows declare her to be a dangerous criminal who must be brought to justice. Complicating matters, The Crows are lead by Commander Jacob Kane (Batwoman’s father, who has no idea that his daughter is the vigilante). In similar situations like Arrow, Batman, or even Spider-Man, if a hero or vigilante is seen as a criminal, they’re usually being accused as such by the police. While there is room for argument on the morality of vigilante justice on either side, the legality of the situation is clear because The Police Dept., The D.A., are all part of law enforcement that governments put in place to protect the public. It all makes some sense. This isn’t the case in Batwoman with The Crows because they’re a private company, not operating with any kind of government oversight. The potentially interesting morality/logic of that dynamic isn’t really touched upon until the last episode or two, and even then only in passing.
Along with The Crows and their non-sensical existence, is Commander Kane. I think he fails on pretty much every front. I think the performance, with him trying to sound grizzly and hardened comes off as two dimensional and uninteresting. As for the characterization, he’s written to have the same black and white moral code that someone like Quentin Lance on Arrow had, but again Lance existed within a real Police Dept which made much more sense. Also, while Lance may have been tough on his children and perhaps a bit too rigid, he never really wrote them off. Whereas Kane’s love is barely existent at best, and far from unconditional. Do I think we need to portray every parent as having unconditional love for their children? No, but in these types of characters and stories it leads to some interesting inner conflict. Trying to justify your unconditional love for your children, when your children test your own moral code, makes for fascinating character drama. Commander Kane doesn’t do that. There are very few, if any, moments when it appears that indicate if he finds out his daughter Kate is Batwoman, that he’ll hesitate to treat her like any other criminal.
My last complaint about the show will probably be more controversial and this is way more a matter of opinion, but Kate sporadically write’s letters to the missing Bruce Wayne. It’s not the idea that she’s writing them that doesn’t work for me, it’s more a matter of delivery. There is something about it that comes across as awkward and unnatural, it interrupts the flow of the show. I think it is possible that it’s Ruby Rose, who is Australian, trying to do an American accent in these long slow, uber-articulated monologues, that doesn’t work.
Three characters work perfectly for me on this show, there will be some mild-spoilers.
I think The Big-Bad, Alice, head of the Wonderland Gang, works perfectly. I would make the argument that she may be the best villain in The Arrowverse this season. Alice, as we learn very early on, is Kate’s twin sister, Beth. Beth was believed to be killed in a car accident when they were both 12 or 13. As the season plays out, we get to see how Alice isn’t just a menacing thug, but a deeply troubled (and for good reason) woman, who is trying to get reconcile a sense of normalcy with her sister and revenge with her father, step-mother and sister. Every emotional twist and turn is believable within the circumstances, and the performance by Rachel Skarsten rides those emotions completely and makes you feel genuine empathy for her, while also understanding that she must be stopped. I would argue that her character’s complexity exacerbates how poorly Commander Kane’s character is developed.
Alice’s right-hand man, is Mouse, who we learn is the son of the man who took Beth from the accident, and through neglect and abuse, turned her into Alice. Mouse is himself a very damaged man from his father, in addition to some physical scarring. Mouse has the ability to mimic any voice, and with Beth’s help, to make skin masks. He can turn into nearly any one within the show. It’s not Mouse’s abilities that make him interesting though. It’s his relationship with Alice/Beth. He starts off as her best friend, trying to help her exact her revenge. But as soon as Alices plan shifts from revenge to reconciliation, he begins to fear she’ll abandon him for not being enough. As well as expressing his own desire to eventually get away from Gotham and the chaos and pain he sees as being a symptom of the place.
Lastly, is Mary, Kate’s step-sister. Mary starts the show off appearing to be a vapid socialite, but its quickly revealed that she’s actually running an underground clinic for those who cannot afford emergency medical attention. She helps Batwoman early on, making something of a connection with her. Even as she struggles throughout the season with her relationship with Kate, which is strained by Kate’s distance, and Kate’s inability to let go of Beth. Mary’s feelings of inadequacy and longing to bond with Kate are well developed and expressed, and it comes to a head when she finds out Kate is Batwoman and Kate still refuses to tell Mary her secret.
How to Move Forward
The other three main characters in the show are a bit of a mixed bag for me. I think Ruby Rose as Kate is very good at the aloof part of the character, but in the genuine moments of connection, I think she’s still seems to struggle. It’s likely that they are trying to draw a parallel between her and Bruce Wayne, (but as someone who knows very little of the comic version of Bruce Wayne, take that with a grain of salt). However when you have so many characters who do have an emotional connection with Kate, like her sisters, her father, Luke Fox , or Sophie (her ex-girlfriend who works for her father on The Crows) the performance doesn’t work as well for me.
I think Luke had a pretty good second half of the season, but he didn’t start off great. There was a flatness in the character or the performance and it just didn’t work. What eventually won me over, is two-fold, Luke is very clearly the voice for the absent Bruce. As his relationship to Kate developed, he even shares things that perhaps he never would, about his loneliness, his responsibility. We also see Luke’s own dedication and search for justice by finding his father Lucius’s killer, and how he will risk his own life in order to protect his father’s secrets. As a small side note, Luke is the guy back at HQ role, so I like that he is very different from similar characters in The Arrowverse like Cisco, Felicity, and even Winn.
Sophie probably would have made the first section, except that I’m not sure she’s made enough of an impact on the show yet to say she’s failing. Sophie is kind of a bland character, who’s at her most interesting as we see her and Kate struggle throughout the beginning of the series. With Sophie being closeted and Kate being out, how this tore them apart in military academy, and is married to a man. On top of all that she also works for Kate’s father, it’s impossibly complicated between the two of them. The writers seem to have trouble picking a lane with Sophie, she’s not bold and empowered, nor is she timid and weak. She kind of flip-flops back and forth.
Going forward, into season 2, I think that these three characters can all be improved and really work for the show. I think with Kate, they were starting to work on the aloofness problem in the last couple of episodes, (maybe if they’d been given the whole season run I wouldn’t have this complaint at all). The same can be said with Luke, I think he was a slow start, but they’re getting there, and I hope that they go even further with him. With Sophie, I think she kind of has to embrace herself more in season 2, even if she goes a bit overboard at first, it would make sense, and propel her forward.
I think they should find someway in season 2 (and I kind of think they may have been working toward this at the end of season 1) of getting rid of The Crows. They just don’t work. Getting rid of them wouldn’t be difficult from a writing stand-point, and I would argue that if you just put one character in (a Mayor or something) who realizes how ridiculous they are, dismantling them could take a couple of episodes tops.
As for Commander Kane, there are three options that I see, they could kill him off, try to turn him into a human with emotions (I don’t really think this works without ignoring some of what we already have seen of him), or lastly make him outright a villain. The series could dismantle The Crows and Kane could become a vigilante hell bent on avenging them, it’s the only way I think you can keep him on the show and have him work. I just really think the dude is broken beyond repair.
The letters to Bruce Wayne are maybe the toughest fix. I think the series has been fairly inconsistent in doing them to be completely honest, I think maybe they should just get rid of them altogether. At the end of the finale, Alice has transformed the villain Hush, into a doppelgänger of Bruce Wayne. I think having a few episodes of ‘Bruce Wayne’ around will make the letters redundant. Unless Kate knows right off the bat (I swear that wasn’t intended) that he’s not the real Bruce.
The show has a lot of potential, and needs a lot of growth, but I think it’s a worthy inclusion to The Arrowverse. If they work out the kinks in Season 2, there could be some really cool opportunities for interesting character work. Don’t go in expecting a finely tuned machine, but a diamond in the rough.
It’s been an open secret in the world of comic books that The Joker knows, and has always known, that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He just doesn’t care. It wouldn’t be funny for him to sneak into Wayne Manor in the middle of the night and put a bullet in Bruce Wayne’s head while he’s sleeping. It’s Batman who he’s interested in, Batman is his playmate. Well after years of teasing it looks like The Joker is finally going to pull the ripcord on pretending he doesn’t know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same man. He’s finally going to play that Ace up up his sleeve. This awesome art from Jorge Jimenez gives us a little preview of things to come in the upcoming Joker War storyline. It certainly looks like The Clown Prince of Crime is not holding back.
To add another interesting wrinkle to the story, The Joker’s got a new girlfriend and her name is Punchline. The Joker and Harley has been consciously uncoupled for several years now, with Harley Quinn leaning more into hero than villain territory these days. So it looks like Mister J. has moved on to a woman who is more interested in keeping up with his bloody, homicidal antics. We’ve only seen a little bit of Punchline in the current Batman comics, but expect her to play a bigger role as we get closer to Joker War. Here’s more beautiful art by Jorge Jimenez, who designed Punchline, so you can get a better look at the character and how she is different from Harley Quinn.
Joker War will be written by James Tynion IV, the current writer of DC’s monthly Batman comic. Tynion’s been doing excellent Batman work at DC for several years now, on books like Detective Comics and his current run on Batman. He also worked closely with Scott Snyder, arguably the greatest modern Batman writer, on Snyder’s Batman books as well as co-writing multiple issues of Snyder’s recent run on Justice League. This storyline has been teased for awhile now and we’ve been treated to sneak peeks at The Joker while he’s planning his masterpiece.
As you can see in the images below, any doubt about how much knowledge The Joker really has about Batman and his family, is quickly erased…
Because of the national health crisis, there haven’t been any new monthly comic books shipped to vendors over the last few weeks. Regular comic book distribution to Comic Book Store‘s and apps like ComiXology, is expected to begin again in mid-May, in a few weeks. So the release dates of storylines like Joker War, that were supposed to start at the end of April or the beginning of May with Batman # 95, No loolike a late May or early June beginning for the joker war. Fortunately however long it takes, things will get back on track. This is definitely going to be a big story for the Batman franchise so look for more coverage when Joker War begins in late May or June. I know I’m excited!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
We got our first look at the new Batmobile from the latest big screen incarnation of The Dark Knight, The Batman directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson. People always tend to get excited about the new Batmobile whenever a new Batman project is on the horizon. Folks get almost as excited about the car as they do about the Batman suit. I love the more grounded look of this design, something that looks it’s based on a souped up Dodge Charger. Take a look at the pictures posted below.
Personally, my two favorite versions of The Batmobile are The Tumbler from Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and the futuristic Batmobile from the classic animated series, Batman Beyond. But like I said before, I really like this new look for The Batmobile, it’s definitely a different direction to go in.
There has been a few rumors going around lately that The Batman will feature Robin in someway or another. This new Batmobile design lends some validity to the rumors because, as many others have pointed out, this Batmobile is very similar to the version Batman had when he met the boy who would go on to become the second Robin, Jason Todd. Batman caught him trying to steal the wheels off of the Batmobile and decided to take the orphan boy in. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to readers that Jason was eventually beaten to death by The Joker with a crowbar and was still inside the warehouse where The Joker was keeping him when the building exploded. A kid who tries to steal the rims off the fucking Batmobile isn’t exactly the brightest bulb around. Anyway, the similarity between the two designs are leaving some people to speculate that Jason Todd may appear in this new film in some way. Personally, I’d rather see Dick Grayson or Tim Drake, but I’ll take what I can get.
This is similar to the speculation that was taking place a few weeks ago after images of Robert Pattinson as Batman on his motorcycle surfaced online. The Bat-Suit Pattinson was wearing and the bike he was riding, were very similar to the suit and motorcycle Batman in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s story Zero Year.
I really dig everything I’ve seen so far from The Batman. Do you like the new design?Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
It’s been recently announced that director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix, may be returning for a sequel to their critical and commercial smash hit, JOKER. A lot of fans, may initially be very happy to hear this news, but today I’d like to put forth the argument that making a sequel to JOKER is a bad idea.
Throughout the making of this film, right up to press interviews before the premiere Phoenix and Phillips stuck to their guns, as they did from the very beginning. Even when the box office juggernaut opened to critical and commercial success, Phoenix and Phillips said loud and clear that this was a one off. This was meant to be a standalone story. Which is partially what made the movie so interesting. Every movie studio, especially when it comes to comic book properties, is always looking for their next franchise. So when the trailers for JOKER dropped and the movie garnered seriously positive buzz, mostly due to what looked to be an incredible performance from Joaquin Phoenix, chatter began about the possibility of a sequel. When asked if a sequel could possibly be in the cards, the answer from Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips was always an unequivocal NO. That’s not how they approached this project, it was a character study with a beginning, middle, and end.
In this franchise driven environment, it’s refreshing to hear filmmakers say we’re here to make one movie and one movie alone. Especially when every film studio is trying to copy the success of Marvel and make a 20 film series. These guys came along and said, we want to do this one, fucked up little movie, on the cheap, let us do it our way and fuck off.
Clearly that strategy paid off. Though it’s by no means perfect, JOKER is one of the best films of the year. The movie coming close to $1 billion in box office revenue with such a low budget, makes it one of the most financially successful comic book films ever made. Not to mention, Joaquin Phoenix is all but a shoe in for an Oscar nomination next year. So, with the film being complete home run, one can see why Warner Bros would have serious interest in reuniting their director and star for a sequel. I’d argue the film’s success is due to audience’s looking for some diversity in their entertainment. Instead of making a sequel to a film that was designed to stand alone, get another talented filmmaker with a unique, singular vision for a different DC property, keep the budget low and let them have at it. Evolution is the only way that superhero films will survive. Change or die.
I would also argue I’m not sure where the sequel to JOKER would go from here. Todd Phillips has been on record saying that pitched JOKER to Joaquin Phoenix as “sneaking a gritty, art house character study through the studio system”. Phoenix’s interest was in telling a story about a man’s descent into madness, not a story about The Joker we know from the comics. In fact, Joaquin Phoenix didn’t even want Todd Phillips to have Thomas Wayne in the movie, he wanted the character to have a different name, even that was too much of a connection to the comic book for him. The connections to the greater Batman mythology in JOKER are minimal to say the least. Todd Phillips basically bullshitted Joaquin Phoenix and kept in things like the Thomas Wayne character and the murder of The Wayne’s at the end of the film.
Now this is just my opinion, but I think there are two ways to go with a sequel to JOKER. The first would be add a Batman into the mix. However, keep him at the periphery, don’t make him a main character and keep him very grounded. As grounded as they made The Joker in the first film. It would be incredibly fascinating to see how Arthur Fleck, who has now become The Joker would approach the emergence of someone like The Batman.
The problem is Joaquin Phoenix would never make a movie like that. While doing the interview rounds for JOKER, one of the reporters asked Joaquin Phoenix, how his version of The Joker would react to someone like Batman appearing in Gotham. Phoenix smiled, he seemed to genuinely like the question, and after a moment of thought he said “That’s great question. I don’t know I’ve never thought about it.”. Really?! C’mon! YOU NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT?! Batman is only the most important and fundamentally driving force in the life of the character you’re playing, but you’ve never thought of it, OK that makes sense (in case you can’t tell I’m oozing sarcasm and mild disgust as I write this).Batman and the Joker are one of the great yin and yang characters in all of popular culture. They are defined by one another. But hey, he never really thought about it! (….fucking dipshit...).
So if Phoenix never once gave a fuck about how his character would feel about Batman, I think it’s safe to say he would never agree to appear in a movie featuring Batman alongside his version of The Joker. Now, the second way to go for a JOKER sequel, would be to do some version of the classic Bruce Timm and Paul Dini story Mad Love about the creation of Harley Quinn and the beginning of her love story with The Joker. I’m not talking about the bullshit nonsensical version of their love story we saw in the god awful Suicide Squad film, I’m to I’m talking about the classic graphic novel Mad Love.
Dr. Harleen Quinnzel is a new psychiatrist at Arkham. She’s young, beautiful, and ambitious. She imagines getting rich writing some kind of breakthrough book about the psychology of these colorful super criminals. She manages to arrange sessions to meet with and attempt to treat The Joker, confident that she can handle him. As their sessions go on, The Joker begins to completely manipulate and control her. She falls completely under his spell, breaks him out of Arkham and becomes the now iconic Harley Quinn. A film like that could really work, but it has the same problems my first proposed scenario does. It has too many ties to the comic book source material, which Joaquin Phoenix has no interest in whatsoever.
An even bigger mistake would be for the studio to try to replicate the “JOKER Formula” of a gritty, dressed down, no frills take on another Batman villain. Admittedly, I think there are a few members of Batman’s rogues gallery that this could work with, but who the fuck really wants to see that?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d be very interested to see what a sequel to JOKER would look like. However, it’s all a question of if they even have a story to tell. If Joaquin Phoenix didn’t even want the name of Thomas Wayne to even be in the movie, he’s certainly not going to want to include some version of Batman or Harley Quinn in a potential sequel. There is a third way they could go, but I don’t think it really works either. They make a movie that’s a continuation of the first film and focus on The Joker and his continued transformation into one of the greatest super villains in all of fiction.
Here’s why that concept doesn’t quite work either. Based on where we leave The Joker at the end of this film, The only way to go for him is to fall deeper and deeper into the persona of The Joker. He would have to evolve into a more “classic”, for lack of a better word, version of The Joker. As he becomes more insane and embraces his identity as The Joker, we’d see things like his deadly Joker laughing gas, elaborate plots against the city, the personification of terror and evil. Just as I don’t think Joaquin Phoenix would ever do a movie with Batman and Harley Quinn, I also don’t think he would want to play a version of The Joker that’s more like the Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger version. The character’s natural evolution is to get more “comic book-y” and it seems, based on multiple interviews that I’ve seen and articles that I’ve read, the aspects of JOKER that were connected to the comic book were the things he was always least interested in.
One might counter with the point, So, Paul what’s wrong with that? Couldn’t they just continue to tell the story of Arthur Fleck becoming The Joker? Well, if you continue this character’s story when you don’t want comic book elements to be a significant part of the story, the problem becomes, he’s just some lunatic guy. He’s not The Joker. If the character is nothing like The Joker, then what’s the point in doing the movie? The biggest flaw of JOKER was how derivative the story was. It was very reminiscent of other films about men being broken by society, like Falling Down, Taxi Driver, or Fight Club. What made JOKER great was Joaquin Phoenix and his mesmerizing performance as the man who would become The Joker, not necessarily the film itself. If we ever see a JOKER 2, we want to see The goddamn Joker.
If they want to move forward with a sequel, Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips have to really understand what kind of movie they want to make. At the end of the day, you have an extremely successful comic book film that was designed to be a standalone story, with a star who has absolutely no interest in anything from the DC Universe becoming a part of the story he’s acting in. I think the best thing for Warner Bros and the movie going public, would be to get another visionary filmmaker, to tell another small budget story from the DC Universe. Re-create the success of JOKER by giving the audience what they really responded to in their first place, a unique movie going experience, not another financially driven sequel.
JOKER, the highly anticipated new film from director Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix has hit theaters! The movie is already receiving rave reviews, with many critics declaring the movie a shoe in for Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. The early buzz has praised Phoenix’s tour de force performance as a broken man’s decent into madness and his transformation into the legendary Clown Prince Of Crime! But does it live up to the hype? That’s exactly what Ryan and I discuss in the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! The Joker is one of the best characters in all of fiction and the film asks provocative questions about society, mental health, and morality. Does the film live up to its lofty ambitions? Where does this Joker rank among the other classic performances of the character? Can you tell a Joker story without Batman? We answer all these questions and more! Listen and enjoy!
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