Why Making A Sequel To JOKER Is A Bad Idea

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

A man dressed as a clown writhing in pain, in a filthy alley, as he clutches at his groin. Hey man, we’ve ALL been there.

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. 

Hey guys, let’s take the enthusiasm down a few notches. This a Hollywood premiere, not a frat party!

    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...).

How fucking SICK is this poster? It was made by a company called Mondo and unfortunately they don’t carry this poster anymore. But God damn, is it cool.

  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.

As alway, thanks for reading!

-Paul

NEW COLUMN SERIES: Paul’s Picks!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


For a few weeks now I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a semi-regular article about some of the coolest graphic novels, Blu-rays, books, and more to come on the market that genre fans like myself and my readers would be interested in checking out. These are all products that I’ve personally purchased and can vouch for their quality. I buy stuff like this all the time and I thought it could be a fun way for me to share with my readers some of the cool stuff available (which I throw away my hard earned money for) that they might also want to check out themselves. So if you guys dig this new article, please let me know in the comments or on social media and maybe we’ll start making Paul’s Picks a semi-regular thing. So let’s get into it!

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Special Edition Blu-Ray

  This is one I pre-ordered months ago and just recently came out. This is the 20th anniversary of Batman Beyond, the classic animated series follow up to the equally classic Batman: The Animated Series. In addition to all three seasons of the show, the excellent sequel movie, Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker is included in the set, as well. The transfer is beautiful. It has someone some great special features. It even includes an exclusive Batman Beyond Funko Pop toy. This is a MUST BUY for Superhero fans, Batman fans, and fans of great fucking shows in general. You can get it for a steal right here at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Beyond-Complete-Limited-Blu-ray/dp/B07TLPBC7J/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2E7GRAMVYFVWL&keywords=batman+beyond+complete+series&qid=1573696267&sprefix=Batman+%2Caps%2C530&sr=8-2

Each set comes with 5 lithographs



The Art of Game Of Thrones

  I absolutely love “Art of…” books. I love seeing how so much of the creative process takes shape over time. Especially in genre storytelling, you get to see different versions of how some of film and television’s most iconic characters or locations could have looked at various stages of planning. It’s like looking in at an alternate earth’s version of your favorite movies. The very best “Art of…” books really spark your imagination and make you wonder what might have been. You get to see some of your favorite stories rendered beautifully by some incredibly gifted artists.Regardless of how you felt about the show’s final season, from across The Narrow Sea to Beyond The Wall, this is a beautiful and comprehensive book. It features locations, characters, battle designs, and so much more. I was really looking forward to this one. I had high hopes for this book and I wasn’t disappointed. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Thrones-Insight-Editions/dp/1683835336/ref=sr_1_1?crid=142XJ4INWO4NS&keywords=the+art+of+game+of+thrones&qid=1573701366&sprefix=The+Art+of+ga%2Caps%2C136&sr=8-1


Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus Vol.1

When they began their partnership with Batman #1 during DC’s New 52 initiative, not many would’ve predicted that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would go on to become one of the all time great writer/artist teams in the history of comics. Least of all Snyder and Capullo themselves. In fact the duo disliked one another so much at the beginning of their partnership that Snyder demanded to DC that one of them be taken off the book. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and after working together for a few issues, they fell into a groove. Now the duo with the rough start consider one another best friends, even brothers. It shows in their work because their run on Batman is one of the best in the character’s long history. This collection includes issues #0-33, starting stories like the now famous Court of Owls and ending with the epic Zero Year. This is also where the writer/artist team also began their unsettling work on The Joker, with the chilling horror tale Death of The Family, included in this volume. Snyder and Capullo add new and exciting elements to The Caped Crusader’s mythology, while reinvigorating iconic characters and offerings a fresh and insightful look into the mind of Bruce Wayne. The volume isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s worth every penny. This volume is an example of what the very best Batman stories are all about. Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus is The Dark Knight and his world at it’s very best. This comic book collection get my highest recommendation. You can find it on Amazon right here (*Make sure you check the alternate sellers under more buying options for cheaper prices on this product): https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Scott-Snyder-Capullo-Omnibus/dp/1401298842/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2EO5JZS7JTJR2&keywords=batman+by+snyder+%26+capullo+omnibus&qid=1573698863&sprefix=Batman+by+sny%2Cmovies-tv%2C452&sr=8-1

*When you comes to shopping on Amazon, I always recommend checking out the new and used alternate sellers, listed under Amazon’s price on every product page. Often you can find new, or next to brand new, versions of the item you’re looking for, well below the listed Amazon price.

PODCAST: JOKER Review With Paul & Ryan! (SPOILERS)

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

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!

Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/19353907

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000452307315

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=64371445&autoplay=1

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. 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!

-Paul

PODCAST: JOKER! Dave Chappelle’s New Special! Carnival Row Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here..

 We have a GREAT episode of “The World’s Best Podcast” this week! After dropping the final trailer last week,the upcoming film, “JOKER” (opening 10/4) starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), has screened for critic to rave reviews. Some even calling the movie a “masterpiece”. So on this podcast, I go through everything you need to know about the various on screen depictions of The Joker in the past, on TV and the big screen. What’s the deal with this new version of The Clown Prince Of Crime and why did I think this new movie broke one of the cardinal rules of the character? 

     We also give an update on the Marvel/Sony Spider-Man standoff. Is everyone’s favorite Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man really out of The MCU? Time will tell, hopefully some kind of deal between Disney and Sony can still be reached. 

Finally, we wrap up the episode with a couple of reviews, first for Amazon Prime’s new series “Carnival Row” starring Orlando Bloom. Then we dive into Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special on Netflix “Sticks and Stones”. Enjoy!

Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18985244

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F18985244

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=63635920&autoplay=1

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. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

NEW DC TRAILERS: Titans Season 2! Joker!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people out there don’t have the DC Universe streaming service yet. I think the majority of subscribers are Superfans like myself. I don’t know what kind of numbers DC Universe is pulling down, but I think eventually Warner Bros., the parent company that owns DC Universe, will bundle the streaming services with others that Warner Bros. are developing. Just like some of their competition is doing. When Disney+ launches in November, subscribers will be able to purchase a bundle deal that will include Disney+, Hulu, and an ESPN streaming service of some kind. I’ve read reports that indicate the Disney+ bundle is going to be available for around $12 or $13 a month, which is a fucking steal in my opinion. I only mention this because I think that’s what will probably happen with DC Universe eventually.

Anyway, back to TITANS. Even though the show premiered on DC Universe, TITANS Season 1 was available on Netflix for a while, I’m not sure if it still is (I just checked, it isn’t). It’s also available on Blu-ray and digitally through iTunes. It takes a few episodes to get going, but once the show found it’s footing, I thought it was a really strong first season. TITANS has some very interesting characters, some stand out action sequences, and it’s actually fairly unique. Even among the over crowded market of superhero TV shows, TITANS managed to stand out . In fact, every series that DC Universe has produced has been more or less excellent across-the-board: Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing are all fantastic shows.

Season 2 looks like it’s really upping the ante, the list of new characters include: Superboy, Krypto, Rose Wilson AKA Ravager, Aqualad, and Deathstroke, to name a few. However, the character I’m most excited to see is another new addition to Season 2, Bruce Wayne. Considering how large Bruce’s shady loomed in Dicks life and the series as a whole, he really felt like a character on the show despite not actually being featured in the first season (with the exception of dream sequences or partial views here and there). It will be great to finally see him in the flesh as a REAL character on the show this time. Also, I love the show’s excellent casting for Bruce Wayne, Ian Glenn a.k.a. Ser Jorrah Mormont himself from a Game of Thrones. I think that’s perfect casting for a older Bruce Wayne/Batman.

This almost seems like a almost The Dark Knight Returns era Bruce Wayne. Anyone who watched Game of Thrones knows that Ian Glenn is more than physically up to the challenge of playing Batman. I’ve heard the producer say that the focus won’t be as much on Batman, but Bruce Wayne instead. I think that’s a smart way for the show to have his cake and eat it too. Batman is such a huge figure, by not having him suit up he won’t overshadow the other heroes, but we still get to see and explore Bruce Wayne as a character. I can’t wait to see how he and Dick interact after all of the baggage that was built up between the two of them in the first season. The relationship between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne is one of the most interesting dynamics in comic books, finally seeing this pairing in live action for the first time (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin don’t count) is super exciting. You can check out the trailer for TITANS Season 2 below:

This week also saw the release of the final trailer for JOKER from director Todd Phillips, with Joaquin Phoenix playing the titular Clown Prince Of Crime. At World’s Best Media, I’ve dedicated little to no coverage to this movie. I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that I’m fundamental against the very concept of this movie’s existence.

The buzz surrounding JOKER has been great, Joaquin Phoenix looks like he’s going to deliver a fantastic performance, and the trailers have been solid as hell, but that’s not really the point. It’s essentially a Joker origin story and, for me at least, there in lies the problem. Don’t get me wrong, there’ve been fantastic Joker stories that teased possible origins for the character. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, Batman: Endgame by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm, all of these classics stories present a possible origin for The Joker, but none of them present the origin as definitive. The stories never give you the whole picture of who this guy really is, why he does what he does, and is the information we just learned about him even real? The stories always leaves a question mark at the end, things are left ambiguous. However, this new film is just a straight up origin. This is the story of how one man, Arthur Fleck, goes from A to B to C and becomes The Joker.

If there is one character in all of fiction that will only be hurt by definitive origin story it’s, The Joker. I always say the joker is to the normal people of Gotham white Batman is to the criminals. This almost supernatural force who seems to be everywhere at once and 10 steps ahead of every move you can make, The Boogeyman. Chaos and Madness incarnate. Which is why he such a compelling antagonist for a Batman, because a lot of what I just said about The Joker could be said about Batman. When you have a character as iconic as The Joker, the reveal that the story could possibly give you, can never live up to what you have built up in your head. Your imagination fills in the blanks in a way the storytellers never can.

Sure, I get JOKER is it’s own standalone movie, it’s not affecting anything other DC films, TV shows, or comics. But fictional characters have pop culture capital and a high-profile project like this can increase or decrease that capital. That’s just another way of saying, if a Joker origin movie sucks, it hurts this fantastic character outside of this movie. The Joker is bigger than one film. You could make an argument that the character of The Joker is almost as important as Batman himself. When a character is as compelling, beloved, and interesting as The Joker, you don’t want to see them fuck it up. Like I said before, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this film and Joaquin phoenix looks like he’s putting on a hell of a performance. Still, Despite everything the movie has going for it, I’m just not that into this kind of Joker film. I’ll probably see Joker when it comes out. Then I can report back if I was right, or I was wrong and I need to eat a little crow, or things fell somewhere in the middle. Who knows? We’ll find out in a little over a month. Anyway check out the trailer 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 the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

PODCAST: Crisis On Infinite Earths!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I’m here to give you everything you need to know about The CW’s upcoming annual EPIC DC Superhero Crossover Event… CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! All of The CW’s DC shows, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, along with an all star cast of characters from throughout the DC Multiverse, are crossing over for their most ambitious event yet: an adaptation of the classic DC maxiseries, Crisis On Infinite Earths! “Worlds will live, worlds will die and nothing will ever be the same!” As the old saying goes. On this week’s show I go over when you can watch the event, what you need to know before watching, all of the amazing guest stars and characters scheduled to appear, and what The Arrowverse might look like when the dust settles. This a MUST LISTEN for fans of ANY of The CW DC superhero shows and DC fans in general.

This was from a recent EW cover story about The Arrowverse

When Crisis On Infinite Earths hit stand.30 years ago, it set the standard for massive, comic book superhero, crossover events. I can say without hyperbole, that Crisis makes The Infinity Gauntlet seem like a minor skirmish by comparison and that’s not a knock at the The Infinity Gaunlet. Which is a great story in it’s own right that was largely the inspiration for The MCU’s The Infinity Saga. While The Infinity Gauntlet was about saving The Universe, Crisis is about saving The ENTIRE Multiverse. Countless realities face total annihilation at the hands of a being of immeasurable power. More of a cosmic force of nature than a being with any kind of human motivation. He is know throughout The Multiverse by many names: The Anti-God, The Unmaker, he is… The Anti-Monitor.

Concept art for The Anti-Monitor

We’re getting a lot of cool cameos and characters new and old in this Crossover. So after you listen to the episode (or before, it’s a free country… for now), come and check out some spectacular art work showcasing the characters appearing in Crisis. Some of the images are actually concept art from the incredibly talented design teams that work on these shows and some are fantastic pieces of fan art from some of the best online artists from around the world, depicting what these characters will most likely look like in the Crossover. The great artists create these images based on character descriptions from people who work on the shows, what the actors playing the characters look like, and their most iconic looks from the comics. You can find all of the concept art on this page, below the links to this episode of The World’s Best Podcast!

Both images from EW.com

Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts/iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18822863

iTuneshttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F18822863

Stitcherhttps://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=63229324&autoplay=1

Character Concept Art & Other Character Images:

Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come Superman-

This was done by legendary Alex Ross who was the artist for the original KINGDOM COME series

Tom Welling as Smallville Superman-

Art from Barrett Digital

Kevin Conroy as Batman Beyond era Bruce Wayne (Plus Additional Batman Beyond Images)-

With Kevin Conroy coming on to play Batman in Crisis there’s rumors that Mark Hamill, who iconically played The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Batman Beyond will be returning to plan the character in live action for Crisis. Hamill has already made multiple appearances in The Arrowverse as The Trickster on The Flash. Here’s some concept art of Hamill as The Joker and it’s pretty fucking creepy:

It looks like this piece was done by an artist who goes by SKULL 101IFY

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. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

MOVIE REVIEW – Batman: Hush

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the direct to Blu-Ray and Digital DC Animated Movies. There’ve been some real classics to come out of these projects. Movies like Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns: The Deluxe Edition, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and Batman: Under The Red Hood, just to name a few. While there have been some enjoyable standouts, there hasn’t been a real homerun from these films in a while. Though Batman: Hush may not knock it out of the park, it comes damn near close. Based on the classic Batman run by writer Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) with art by the legendary Jim Lee (Justice League, X-Men), Batman: Hush does a great job of adapting this seminal Batman tale while still fitting the movie into the animated continuity (or DCAU) that DC created beginning with Justice League: War. The result is a pretty damn good movie that is less of a mystery and more of a tragic romance. Which may irk some fans, but I’ll get into more of that in a moment.

  I’ve heard some people complain about the animation in these films lately. Critics say that copying the general aesthetic of The New 52 and attempting to adhere to a visual continuity, makes each of these movies feel overly similar and blocky. Well, that issue isn’t completely absent from this film, but there are some notable efforts to step up to quality of the animation. Some shots feature fantastic little details that immediately draw your eyes. How someone’s eyes and face move before something dramatic is about to happen, the way a fight move is pulled off, small moments scattered throughout the film that make it feel as if the animators were going the extra mile and it shows.

   The real highlight of the movie is the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It’s so rare to see Batman in a successful and a functioning relationship. I should mention that Selina doesn’t know that Bruce is Batman at the beginning of the story.

It’s only when things begin to get serious that he reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne. In fact, there is a funny scene when he brings her to the Batcave for the first time and she’s enthusiastically greeted by Dick in the Nightwing uniform without his mask and Alfred attempting to serve her tea. When she‘s surprised to realize that Dick and Alfred know that she’s Selina Kyle. She even half jokingly asks “Does everyone know who I am?“ Dick blurts out “No, just us and Damian.” Selena asks “Who’s Damian?”, “Oh he’s Bruce’s son… He’s Robin.” Replies Dick with an awkward look on his face. It’s easy to see how being an intimate part of Bruce’s life isn’t so simple, which is why he and Selena are so perfect for one another. He is drawn to Selina as both Batman and Bruce Wayne and that’s where the key to their success of the relationship lies. 

     If Bruce and Selina are out on a date and The Bat Signal appears in the sky, Bruce doesn’t have to make up some bullshit excuse. She’s more than capable of coming along with him to stop whatever threat he’s facing and it even feels like a natural part of their “date night” that they both seem to get off on. Catwoman may have been staying on the straight and narrow, but she loves this world, she loves being part of a good fight. In fact, I think if she was dating Bruce and he didn’t have the Batman aspect to his life, the relationship wouldn’t work. Selina needs those kind of thrills.The film is mature enough to acknowledge that this relationship wouldn’t have worked if it began when they were younger. Maybe there would’ve been an intense fling, but nothing more. They’ve both matured, changed, and they both want different things than they did years before. It’s at this point in their lives that they’re ready to be together as both Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

   When comparing the graphic novel to the film, it’s important to remember that the  Batman: Hush graphic novel is a mystery at it’s heart. Who is Hush? Why are they doing this? Well the movie managed to do a great job with staying relatively faithful to the source material, while still managing to surprising fans of the graphic novel. Love it or hate it. Many of the iconic moments from the comic book are present in the film. Some are even slightly improved upon. However, there is one classic scene from Batman: Hush that was adapted to the film, but (without going into SPOILERS) the scene felt like it needed to be a little bit longer. I was impressed how Hush managed to both surprise those of us who’ve read the comic book, while still being faithful to the source material in a unique way. To say much more would be a SPOILER, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. You may think you know where the story is going, you may think you know the identity of Hush (and maybe you’re right), but things play out just different enough to make things fun, interesting, and surprising.

   The final fight between Batman and Hush is particularly well animated, well choreographed, and thrilling. The animation of the fight has a very dynamic quality. Batman employs one of my favorite tactics of his, that we’ve seen in animation and comics many times, but almost never in live-action: He gets in the villains head to gain the upper hand. He plays mind games with his opponents and that’s used here to great effect. Batman use his genius, his ability to manipulate the psychosis of the villain he’s facing, to exploit their fears, insecurities, and weaknesses to give him that extra edge for the win. Batman’s greatest weapon is his intellect. 

       The combination of the surprising reveal of Hush’s identity, the fantastic animation, and Batman using his intellect to exploit the mental and emotional weaknesses of his opponent, make this for a pretty memorable final battle.

   It should be noted that Selina Kyle/Catwoman is a notorious criminal and accomplished superhero in her own right. However, Batman can be such a larger than life figure, that it would be easy to make even the strongest of women look like a damsel in distress in one of his stories. The film does a great job of avoiding problems like this. Selina is her own woman. Her choices are not defined by Bruce’s choices. She doesn’t necessarily need his help to get out of some of the most serious jams she finds herself in throughout the movie. Particularly in the climax of the film, Selina finds herself in a very precarious life and death situation. I’m fairly certain she would’ve been fine, whether Batman showed up or not. The storytellers did a phenomenal job making her an interesting capable character.

    At the end of the day this is still a love story between Batman and Catwoman. The sad realization of how, at least in this point in their lives, that love story is also a tragedy. Bruce lets Selina in, in a way we rarely see from this character. There comes a point in the story, when Bruce makes a decision that looks like madness to Selina. In fact, it would look like madness too many of us in the audience. Once the threat has been neutralized and the villain dealt with, Selina has an epiphany. She realizes that no matter how much she loves Bruce, no matter how much she changes for him, no matter how much more she’s willingto change for him, he won’t change himself.

     There are things he will not become. There are lines he cannot cross. Because of that Selina will always come in second place to Bruce. She willing to let herself evolve with this relationship, but she realizes that in the end, Bruce is an immovable object she’ll break herself against. It’s profound, it’s sad, and it’s veryBatman.

  Batman: Hush is a flawed, but solid Batman mystery/adventure with a fantastic romance story, great fight scenes, some stand out bits of animation, and some surprisingly thought-provoking character and story elements. Some things land better than others and I think the film may have benefited from another 20 minutes or so of storytelling to help flesh out some of it’s more interesting ideas. The climax in particular feels like it comes out of nowhere, when there should’ve been a bit more tension and build up to Batman‘s final confrontation with Hush. Whether you’ve read the original graphic novel or not, this movie will still keep you guessing. 

      While not the complete return to form I was hoping for from Warner Bros/DC Animation after the strong combination of The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen, I’d say this is still a MUST WATCH for any Batman fan!

Thanks for reading!

Batman: Hush – 8/10

Reviewed by Paul J. Wright

COMIC BOOK PREVIEW- Batman: Last Knight on Earth!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’m a massive comic books fan. Every week I read my Must Read comics on my tablet and I go to my favorite comic book store, The Hall of Comics In Southborough, MA, to get all of my graphic novels (More on The Hall of Comics below). There are a lot of great comics being published right now, but my favorite writer by far is Scott Snyder. His 50 plus issue run on Batman with Artist Greg Capullo is without question the best Batman run of this generation. Anytime Snyder and Capullo come together, they make magic. Stories like The Court Of Owls, The Death of The Family, Zero Year, and Dark Nights: Metal are all modern classics. Of course, there’s also Snyder’s incredible introduction to the world of The Dark Knight, The Black Mirror (as fantastic as that story is, it wasn’t with Artist Greg Capullo). Now, after putting their stamp on Batman’s origin in the excellent story Zero Year, they’re closing the circle by telling their version of the final Batman story: Batman: Last Knight on Earth. The miniseries is a 3-issue prestige format book, shipping bi-monthly under DC’s Black Label, with Issue #1 coming out on 5/29/19. DC’s Black Label was created for their best writers and artists to tell stories that are the best of the best. If Zero Year was their Batman: Year One, Batman: Last Knight on Earth is their The Dark Knight Returns. Below is the official synopsis from DC Comics:

Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane.

And…he was never Batman.

So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…

From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of “Court of Owls” to the bombastic power of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, DC Black Label is proud to present the bimonthly, three-issue miniseries BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, published at DC’s standard comic trim size.

This could be the last Batman story ever told…

Snyder and Capullo NEVER fail to deliver a spectacular Batman story and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint. With the book’s 5/29 release date right around the corner, DC put out a trailer for Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1, to get people hyped for the event miniseries. Check it out below:

We also have some great interior art from the book, released by DC Comics. These pages are from Issue #1:

Below we have the cover for issue #2 of the 3-issue miniseries, which hits stands on 7/31/19.

You have to give Snyder and Capullo credit because they’re certainly swinging for the fences on this one. I love how this series looks batshit insane. This book looks nuts in the best possible way and it is this month’s pick for Must Read Comic Book!!!!!!

Earlier in the article I mention the comic book store The Hall of Comics in Southborough, MA. I just wanted to take a minuet to sing their praises and why you should check them out if you’re in the Boston area. Whether you’re a long time comic book reader, a lapsed fan who wants to get back into comics, or someone who’s never picked up a comic before, but you love superhero films and don’t know where to start, the guys at The Hall of Comics will hook you up with anything you need. Not only do you feel welcome when you walk in the door, but they also have awesome special events like Midnight Release Parties, INCREDIBLE Cosplay appearances, and their coolest events are when they frequently have some of the best comic book writers and artists in the business come by for signings and meet and greet with the fans. As I mentioned in one of my recent podcasts, I had the chance to meet and chat with iconic comic book artist Bob Layton and it was a wonder full experience. So, if you want to check out Batman: Last Knight On Earth (you’d be crazy not to) and you’re in the area, The Hall of Comics is the place to go! You can check out their website right here: https://thehallofcomics.com

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (of 3) hits stands on 5/29/2019

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK: Batman: Hush! New Trailer! Pictures & More!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Photo from IGN.com

Even though they haven’t knocked one out of the park in a while, I love the DC Animated Movies that are released digitally and on Blu-ray every year. A few of these movies are even in my top 25 favorite films of all time. I’d consider more than a few to be among some of the best superhero movies ever made (I’ll probably make a list below, cataloging the best of the best). Today, DC released the first trailer for their next DCAU film, Batman: Hush.

   For a while now, it seemed like the DC Animated Movies were adapting all of the classic Batman stories as animated films, one by one. Which is fine with me! Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns both received excellent movie adaptations. Unfortunately, Batman: The Killing Joke didn’t work as well when it received the DCAU treatment. After TDKR and Year One, The Killing Joke fills out the trifecta of the best and most revered Batman stories ever told. All 3 graphic novels came out of the “dark and gritty” comic book renaissance of the 80’s (for better or for worse). Batman: The Killing Joke received a controversial release a few years ago with a mixed response at best. I don’t think it’s the disaster that a lot of people make it out to be, but I understand the issues people have with the film.

    If DC is going to continue down this path of adapting all of the most famous and revered Batman graphic novels, the story I’d love to see them tackle is Batman: The Long Halloween. If you’re going to adapt the most iconic Batman graphic novels of all time, after The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and The Killing Joke, the story that makes the most sense to give the fans next, is The Long Halloween. Especially if they released it in two parts, like they did with The Dark Knight Returns. It could be something really spectacular. It’s a sprawling, epic mystery taking place early in Batman‘s career. The Dark Knight faces off against a serial killer, whose murders coincide with holidays. It’s The Godfather meets Seven with Batman in it, how is that NOT fucking awesome?! The Christopher Nolan films heavily borrowed from this story with Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent being key characters. I think they’ll probably get around to it eventually, but when they do, I hope they give it the same incredible treatment they have for movies like Under The Red Hood and The Dark Knight Returns.

   Director of the upcoming new stand-alone Batman film, Matt Reeves has repeatedly said his film will go back to an earlier time in Batman’s career and feature a cavalcade of Batman’s unique and fascinating villains. Reeves has also said the film will be a mystery, that will lean heavily into and play up Batman’s title as “The World’s Greatest Detective”. This is huge part of the character in the comic books, but it’s barely been touched on in the live action Batman film’s. In all of literature, Batman is a detective on par with Sherlock Holmes, but none of the live action Batman films ever give us the sense that he’s a brilliant detective. Everything Reeves said about his film fits perfectly in line with The Long Halloween. A live action adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween would make my decade. However, there are a lot of great stories that fit Reeves’ description his new Batman film, so we’ll just have to wait and see what he comes up with. The movie is still several years away and things haven’t been exactly smooth sailing on the Batman front over at DC and things can change at the drop of a hat. 

Photo from IGN.com

    Considering that this article is supposed to be about Batman: Hush, it’s probably a good idea that I actually start talking about Batman: Hush now. The classic, Batman story is heading to the small screen this summer as the next DC Animated Movie to be released this year. The tale is an adaptation the mega-hit Batman mystery saga: Batman: Hush written by Jeph Loeb with art by the legendary Jim Lee. Hush is definitely not one of my favorite Batman stories. I’ve always had some serious problems with certain writing choices made throughout the story. Which is ironic because Hush was written by Jeph Loeb, the same man who wrote one of my favorite Batman mysteries ever; The Long Halloween (As much as I have my problems with Loeb as a writer, I think The Long Halloween is one of the coolest titles ever for a dark Batman mystery). Even though Hush isn’t one of my go to Batman stories, I have to admit, I am very, very excited to see this movie. For every issue I have with the story, there are just as many fantastic and cool moments in the graphic novel that any Batman or DC fan would love to see. The people behind the DC Animated Movies have made magic in the past while adapting huge comic book stories like this. If they’re able to do for Hush, what they did for a story like Flashpoint for example, we could be in for something really special. Check out the trailer right here to see for yourself:

  This story has some absolutely classic moments that, based on the trailer, the movie seems to embracing: Batman’s first in continuity fight with Superman, Batman and Catwoman’s attraction to each other blossoming into a real romantic relationship, a showcase of the best of Batman’s rogues gallery, and much more.

You can see from these pictures that they’re pulling moments straight from the source material.

The film is available on Blu-Ray on August 13th, a digital release date hasn’t been announced yet, but expect the movie to be available digitally at least a few weeks before the Blu-Ray. I’d say late July is the most likely time for it to premiere on iTunes and other digital platforms. It may not be getting a theatrical release with a massive worldwide marketing campaign, but Batman: Hush is definitely one of my most anticipated movies of the summer.

For those interested in checking out some of the other DC Animated Movies, below is a list of my favorites. The top 4 or 5 are among my all time favorite comic books movies, but all of the films listed here get my personal recommendation:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition *(This film was initially released in 2 parts. The Deluxe Edition allows you to watch both parts as one movie, but they can be watched separately as Parts 1&2)
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  • Batman: Under The Red Hood
  • Batman: Year One
  • Wonder Woman
  • Justice League: New Frontier 
  • Justice League Doom
  • All Star Superman
  • Green Lantern: First Flight
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
  • Justice League: War
  • Justice League Dark
  • The Death Of Superman 

Anyone interested in reading Batman: The Long Halloween or Batman: Hush can find them at your local comic book store, on the ComiXology app, or Amazon. I’ve included the Amazon links to purchase each book below.

Batman: Hush-

Batman: Hush 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC-

Batman: The Long Halloween – 

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul 

A Look At DC’s New Film JOKER


Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

The Red Hood. The Pale Man. The Clown Prince of Crime… THE JOKER. Without a doubt the best villain in comic book history and one of the best characters in all of fiction. 

  Batman is the best superhero in comics, so his arch nemesis should reflect his greatness. All of Batman’s villains, the best rogues gallery in superhero fiction, reflect Batman in some way, some aspect of his psyche. Harvey Dent represents Batman’s struggle with duality, Ra’s Al Ghul represents Batman’s temptation to take his mission too far and commit to a darker way of trying to save society, The Penguin represents the idea of the wealth and privilege he was born with turning into something ugly, greedy, and gluttonous, and so on…

    Then, there’s The Joker. Batman’s true, broken reflection. To paraphrase better writers than me, Batman is an engine of meaning. He turns tragedy into purpose. As The Dark Knight Detective himself once famously said “My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for not reason at all. They taught me that the world only makes sense… when you force it to.” Everything Batman does is built upon the foundation of that idea. That his actions and his mission have meaning.

     That’s why The Joker is Batman’s greatest antagonist. The Joker’s point to Batman is that nothing we do has meaning. It’s all pointless. The Joker is trying to prove to Batman that his mission, his ideology, is pathetic. It’s a joke. There is no greater meaning to life. Nothing you do matters. He’s inviting Batman to abandon his beliefs, to come with him and embrace how The Joker sees the world. In doing so, he’ll become truly transcendent and immortal, but most of all, free.

    Which brings me to the upcoming film JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix….

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck the man who’ll become The Joker

Over the past several years DC has announced literally dozens of films. Many of which will never see the light of day. Remember that Flash movie that came out back in March 2018? Yeah, me neither, because they didn’t fucking make it. They’ve announced so many movies at this point it’s hard to take them seriously when they do. So when a stand alone film focusing on The Joker was announced I really thought it would never be made. DC seemed to be trying to build a coherent movie universe like Marvel and I didn’t see them realistically making a movie focusing on Jared Leto’s Joker, who was divisive at best. 

   Then I started to here that they were going in a different direction. That Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro were involved and my skepticism grew. No way was Martin Scorsese directing a DC film. Finally, it became clear that this was a stand alone movie existing OUTSIDE the established DC movie universe that Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and SHAZAM! exist in. Todd Phillips would be directing, whose credits include Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover Trilogy, and War Dogs. Martin Scorsese would produce the film, co-staring DeNiro, with Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in an origin movie telling the story of the man who becomes The Clown Prince of Crime. This is the movie hitting theatres this October and you can check out the trailer below:

Looks pretty good, right? However, at no point have I had any interest in this project. Despite the fact that the trailer seems to show a genuinely good movie with what could be a great performance from Joaquin Phoenix, the only reaction I can have to this movie is ambivalence. The reason being that I think telling a straight up origin story for The Joker is kind of missing the point of a large part of the character. If this were “officially part of the DC movie universe”, I’d be genuinely pissed this movie is being made. However, because the movie is it’s own thing, a one off crime story that doesn’t involve Batman (even though we do see a young Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne is a major character) I can live with them telling their fucking Joker origin movie.

  Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s a real fucking shocker the movie is drawing inspiration from comic book stories like… wait for it… THE KILLING JOKE! Brav-fucking-vo! How original! 

  Don’t give me wrong, the comics have hinted at possible origins for The Joker in the past. But that’s what they were: HINTS, possibilities, not a concrete origin. That was one of the reasons The Dark Knight was so brilliant, the story of how The Joker got his scars was different every time he told it, one of my favorite aspects of the film. They had no fucking idea who this guy was. He had no past, he came out of nowhere, he was like the fucking bogeyman. I’ve always said that The Joker is to the normal citizens of Gotham, what Batman is to it’s criminals: a terrifying, unexplainable nightmare.

  The only reason DC is choosing to tell an origin story for The Joker is because everyone and their fucking grandmother knows who The Joker is. Even if you fucking hate comic books or comic book movies you know who The Joker is. 

   I think it’s kind of a shame that Joaquin Phoenix looks like he may be giving an excellent performance as The Joker. Wouldn’t it be so much more entertaining to see that performance in a real Batman film? 

   If he knocks it out of the park in the role, it would be kind of a shitty scenario because we always want to see Batman go up against a great Joker. As I wrote earlier in the article, Batman and The Joker have this very complex relationship that spans years. Yet we’ve only ever seen them face off against one another in one film in their different incarnations. In Tim Burton‘s Batman they killed the character off and the tragic death of Heath Ledger meant we wouldn’t see that character in Nolan’s Batman universe beyond The Dark Knight. One thing we genuinely haven’t seen from the Batman and Joker dynamic on film, is how that relationship plays out over years of twisted, violent confrontations. 

   Well, that’s my two cents anyway. I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who will disagree with me and that’s fine. For now, I just needed to comment on this project, but this is not a film I’ll be rushing out to the theater to see.

JOKER hits theaters October 4th

As always thanks for reading!

-Paul