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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If it wasn’t for Justice League, the DC films would be on quite the streak right now. Yes, if you look at all of their films besides Justice League, after Suicide Squad, youhave Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and SHAZAM!, each a success in their own way. Aquaman in particular made a shitload of money at the box office. Now, later this week we have the much hyped and much anticipated premier of JOKER. I think the direction of the DC Cinematic Universe from here on will be largely predicated upon how JOKER performs financially. If it’s a smash hit, I think they’ll probably continue trying stand-alone, “Elseworlds” style stories like JOKER that are independent of The DCEU (I’m not calling it The Worlds of DC! I’m not fucking doing it!!!). If the film under performs I would imagine they will go back to embracing universe building, single continuity films like the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman 2.
Out of all their upcoming projects, I am by far most intrigued by Matt Reeves’ new Batman film. I think Robert Pattinson is a great choice for Batman. I think he’s underestimated as an actor by a lot of people who don’t know his work outside of the Twilight series. Also Matt Reeves is a great filmmaker and writer, who wants to bring Batman back to his detective roots. Reeves seems to finally be making a Batman film that’s a noir-detective story, which is something we’ve never really seen from the character, ironically enough. Despite it being such a massive part of who he is and his mythology, we’ve never seen “Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective” on the big screen.
Then, we had the trailer for Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) drop like a ton of shit today. I’ll be honest with you,this movie kind of came out of nowhere for me. For someone who follows comic books movies so closely, I had no idea the movie was this close to release until I saw a teaser for during my screening of It: Chapter 2. First things first, I want you guys to get a chance to check out the trailer, which I’ve posted below and I’ll give you my thoughts after…
First of all, regardless of what I think about this film as a DC Comics adaptation, this is just a bad trailer. There’s no clear indication of what’s really going on, who the good guys and the bad guys are, what the hell the story is, it’s just a big goddamn mess. The only thing that is clear is that we’re getting a shitload of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn front and center. If I didn’t know better I would say this is just a straight up Harley Quinn solo film. It looks nothing like up what I would imagine a Birds of Prey movie would look like (I’ll get back to that in a minute). Don’t get me wrong, I really like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and I thought she was one of the high points of the otherwise abysmal Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, Harley Quinn is one of those characters that’s really popular with fans and tends to get over used. Just to give you an example from the world of comics, DC has at least three or four Harley Quinn-centric books being published right now. Four Harley Quinn comics is three Harley Quinn comics too many. Even though they’re very different characters, Wolverine came to mind as I watched this trailer. Some of the greatest X-Men comic book writers of all time have understood one thing: less is more with Wolverine when he’s with The X-Men. He such a popular character that the temptation for most writers is to put him front and center, make him the most important character in the story. However with Wolverine, (at least when he’s in the X-Men, not his solo books) if he’s used in small doses, the moments the writers let him off the chain and really allow the character to shine, the moment is that much more special because they showed restraint. With Birds of Prey, all I’ve seen is the trailer and I’m already sick of Harley Quinn.
In the comics Birds of Prey is a long running, very beloved series about 3 great female DC heroes, who come together to pool their skills, and eventually become a little family. The team classically consist of the wheelchair bound Barbara Gordon, who after retiring as Batgirl due to her injuries at the hands of The Joker, has taken up the mantle of Oracle. She is the ultimate hacker, she’s the hub of all knowledge and information for the heroes of the DC Universe. She handles everything from tracking criminals to hacking into The Pentagon, she’s the ultimate field support team. As Ned from the Spider-Man films likes to say that he’s the “man in the chair“, well Oracle is the original “woman in the chair“. Everything Felicity did on the TV show Arrow was basically Oracle. They even make a joke on the show about how Felicity should get a code name like everyone else on Team Arrow and Oliver mentioned he wanted her code name to be Oracle “but it’s taken”. She is the best of the best at what she does. Heroes all the way from Batman and Superman come to her for her help and expertise.
The field team usually consists of Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. Huntress, a violent Gotham vigilante who is almost always an outsider/pariah within the community of Gotham City vigilantes. Huntress is not afraid to kill to get the job done, which of course Batman does not approve of. But Huntress doesn’t particularly give a shit what Batman does and does not approve of.
Finally,there is Dinah Lance a.k.a. Black Canary, she is one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, she could easily go toe to toe with the very best hand to hand fighters in the DCU. She’s also a meta-human who can emit intense sonic “canary cries“. She can modulate the power of her sonic blasts so it can be used as a simple distraction or powerful enough to rip through a concrete wall. Gail Simone was the writer who made this series what it was. There have been a lot of other writers who’ve worked on Birds of Prey, but Gail Simone is by far the most well-known and beloved.
My point is Birds of Prey is about these 3 female Gotham vigilantes coming together to fight the good fight. There’s nothing wrong with throwing Harley Quinn into the mix, in fact I think that could be really fun. However, based on the trailer none of that seems to be there, it’s just all Harley Quinn, all the time.
I haven’t even touched on the villain, Gotham crime boss Roman Sionus a.k.a. Black Mask played by Ewan McGregor. Black Mask is known for 3 things: first, he’s one of the biggest organize crime figures in Gotham, who leans more towards the traditional criminal side of things, than over the top insanity of some of Batman‘s other rogues gallery like Scarecrow, for example. Second, his entire head and face permanently resemble a black skull. Think The Red Skull from Captain America, but completely black instead and wearing a business suit and that’s exactly what Black Mask looks like. Finally, he’s known for loving to torture his victims to death. So all around he’s a really nice, pleasant guy. You don’t see any indication of him looking anything like the traditional Black Mask in this trailer, so why not just make him a different character if you’re not gonna use that interesting visual motif Black Mask possesses? But it’s hard to be too critical because I didn’t really get enough of Ewan McGregor in the trailer to get a sense of how he’s playing the part. I love Ewan McGregor so I hope they actually give him something interesting to do. The trailer is cut together so poorly I can’t even understand some of Ewan McGregor’s lines sometimes.
Look, obviously I want this movie to be good. I want it to be a success. I love the DC Universe and I love these characters. I hope I’m wrong and I hope they pull it off. However, at the moment the Birds of Prey a.k.a. “Harley Quinn: The Movie”, looks pretty shitty in my opinion.
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 for our podcast, 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!
The Justice League has battled a lot of cool, iconic foes over the years, but one of my favorites has to to be The Crime Syndicate. The Crime Syndicate hail from a parallel world dubbed Earth-3, where it’s occupants really subscribe to the philosophy of “survival of the fittest”. Each member of The Crime Syndicate is an evil doppelgänger of a member of the Justice League and they rule their Earth with an iron fist. So, instead of Batman, you get Owlman, instead of Wonder Woman there’s Superwoman, and instead of Superman you get Ultraman.
Ultraman is probably the biggest piece of shit of them all (actually Owlman probably takes the cake there). When he’s not bust freebasing Kryptonite to get his powers, he’s terrorizing the citizens of his planet.
The Crime Syndicate are most prominently featured as the villains in classic Justice League stories like, JLA: Earth-2 written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quietly.
As well as, Forever Evil by Geoff Johns and David Finch, which features Lex Luthor defeating Ultraman by using his addiction to Kryptonite AGAINST him. The message here: drug addiction makes you lose super villain battles. A valuable lesson for us all.
The live action DC movies may have gotten off to a rocky start, but I’m a big fan of movies like Man of Steel and even Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think Henry Cavill made a fantastic Superman and it’s a shame we probably won’t get to see him in the role again. Much like we won’t get to see Ben Affleck as Batman again. It would’ve been pretty cool to see these characters go up against a group of villains like The Crime Syndicate down the line had the Justice League film been any good. Sadly that movie was a big pile of shit, so we can only wonder what might’ve been. Which is why I thought it was really cool when I found two different artist renditions of Henry Cavill as Ultraman popping up online. Check it out here:
The first piece was done by an artist who goes by the handle HouseofMat. This is the first time I’ve see HouseofMat’s work, but I thought it was pretty cool and I wanted to share it with you guys. The second piece (which is my favorite of the two) was created by Barrett Digital, you can find them on Twitter @BARRETTDIGITAL_. There are some fantastic online artists out there like BossLogic, whose work I’ve posted on the site before. So I’m always on the lookout for cool stuff like this. What do you think of his rendition of Henry Cavill as Ultraman? Is The Crime Syndicate a group of villains you’d like to see pop up in a DC movie in the future? Please let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!
On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I review the new DC superhero movie SHAZAM! starring Zachary Levi.Shazam may not be well known, but at one time his comic book series was outselling Superman. DC may not be knocking it out of the park with their movies like Marvel, but they’re on the right track. With missteps like Suicide Squad and Justice League out of the way, DC has built up a solid roster of stand alone movies with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Shazam. SPOILERS are discussed in this episode, but I cover the characters history and some other interesting topics before breaking down the movie.
Listen to the episode here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
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….
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.
Aquaman is the latest entry in the DCEU or “The Worlds of DC” as it’s officially called… but FUCK THAT! They’re stuck with the DCEU as far as I’m concerned! Name your own movie universe or someone else will do it for you, dammit!You don’t get to, all of us sudden, finally give a name to already struggling, shitty Movie Universe after it’s been in existence for five goddamn years! (Ok… deep breat… rant over.)
My father (though I’m still holding out hope that my biological father is the mailman) Paul Sr. and I just came out of the new AQUAMAN film and decided to have a little discussion about it. We do go into some SPOILER territory, so BEWARE.
With movies like this, we usually do a deep dive spoiler filled review, covering the entire film from beginning to end,analyzing the story, as well asthe characters. This time was a little different, because we basically just sat around and had a conversation about the film. What we liked, what we didn’t like, our thoughts and the characters and the action sequences, etc.
So, while we do discuss some spoilers, there aren’t nearly as many as other episodes of The World’s Best Podcast. We discuss Jason Mamoa in the title roll, Amber Heard as Mera, the villains: King Orm AKA Ocean Master & Black Manta, as well as where the films falls in quality among the other DCEU films. All this excitement and so much more on the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes
Aquaman is fast approaching it’s release date and I am filled with both extreme excitement and dread. Everything I’ve seen from the trailers and promotional material looked fantastic. Despite how unbelievably cool the trailer looks, we all know how, now more than ever, a great trailer doesn’t make a good movie (cough*suicidesquad*cough). It seems like director James Wan could be delivering on some really unique and fun world building. Seeing Atlantis and characters like Black Manta, Ocean Master, and even creatures like The Trench, being brought to life is so thrilling. Just a quick aside, even though we really do get some terrible superhero movies, we should appreciate this golden age of having some of our most wonderful dreams from our favorite comic books brought to life on the big screen and TV. Anyway, I love how Wan even managed to give us the classic Aquaman costume. Which brings me to another point, despite how much I dislike Justice League, I thought Jason Momoa did a great job for what they gave him. So he definitely has the charisma to make Aquaman a memorable hero, if he’s given a good film to showcase the character.
It’s really a shame the way DC chose to go about making these films. As I sit here writing this article, I’m imagining all the cool things that could have been had they just taken their time and done movies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman (God willing), and yes even Man of Steel, from the beginning and then built on that.
I really think the wild card here, that makes this film stand out from other movies from TheWorldsofDC (Yes, that is now the official name for the DC Cinematic Universe) is the director, James Wan. He’s a prolific filmmaker behind some excellent movies in completely different genres (Insidious, The Conjuring 1 & 2, Furious 7). He’s also directing the pilot and executive producing the upcoming new, live action Swamp Thing series on the streaming service DC Universe. I find myself coming out of his films thinking that what I saw wasn’t just a great action movie or a great horror movie, but just a great movie period. I’m cautious optimistic that he’s going to crush this flick.
So, over at EW.com they had a set of new character posters for the upcoming Aquaman film. If this movie ends up being good at all, I think I definitely might have to snag a Black Manta or Aquaman poster (I think those are the 2 coolest ones). I honestly think they all look pretty cool though. Take a look below. Which character posters are your favorite? Are you guys looking forward to Aquaman as much as I am? Or do you think it’s going to be a Suicide Squad level disaster? Please let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!
Aaaaaaaand I’m sorry, I’m not proud of it, but I had to include this picture…
This weekend was the New York Comic-Con. Probably the second largest Comic-Con in the world after the San Diego Comic-Con. Much like SDCC, this Con premiered some very cool trailers. Though there were a few interesting movie trailers, most of the big trailers for NYCC were for shows on TV or streaming services. Below I’ve rounded up all of my favorites so you don’t have to go looking yourself! It’s your best stop for all the coolest trailers! Enjoy!
Good Omens (Amazon Prime)
This one caught me by surprise and is probably my favorite trailer of the Con. Good Omens was a fantasy/comedy novel written by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, The Sandman) and Terry Pratchett and published in 1990. For years people have tried turning the novel into a movie, most notably director Terry Gilliam. Television being what it is now, where it’s able to bring big screen production values, casting, and talent to long form story telling, Amazon Prime seems perfect for Good Omens. With a cast that includes Michael Sheen, David Tennant, and Jon Hamm, Good Omens has just become one of my most anticipated television projects in 2019.
American Gods Season 2 (Starz)
Speaking of Neil Gaiman, we also got our first look at Season 2 of American Gods. Season 1 was pretty damn great, but by no means perfect. I’m a little concerned about some behind the scenes issues the show has had. They changed Showrunners between seasons, for example. However, a lot of shows go through growing pains and this trailer looks like they’ve kicked things up a notch for Season 2. I definitely recommend checking out Season 1 if you haven’t already.
Daredevil Season 3 (Netflix)
Now we’re talking! We have two trailers here. There have already been a few trailers for Daredevil Season 3, but this is the first real story trailer we’ve seen for this season. It looks to be largely borrowing from the graphic novels “Born Again” and “Guardian Devil”. However, the Showrunner has said that the season is its own unique tale while still borrowing elements from those classic stories.
This is a quick character trailer focusing on Bullseye! I’ve been waiting since Season 1 for them to introduce this villain. Bullseye is probably Matt Murdock’s greatest rival besides Wilson Fisk. I can’t wait to see The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen face off against the Assassin Who Never Misses. October 19th can’t come soon enough.
TheBoys (Amazon Prime)
The Boys is based on a comic book by writer Garth Ennis (the creator of Preacher) and artist Darick Robertson. It’s an extremely fucked up, but fantastic story about a group of CIA black ops psychos who “deal” with out of control superheroes. And when is say “deal” I mean brutally fucking kill. The cast is certainly good and it looks like Amazon Prime is really upping their game.
Finally, we have an extended look at Aquaman. I think this looks fantastic and I hope they knock it out of the park. I LOVE Black Manta’s costume and Aquaman’s more classic look that we see in the comics. James Wan is a spectacular and versatile director. This definitely has the potential to be something truly unique in the genre. Aquaman opens on 12/21.