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.
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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.