Almost no adaptation takes everything exactly from its source material. Things change when translated from book to screen. In the case of the upcoming Joker film, pretty much everything has changed.
Speaking to Empire magazine as part of their August cover issue, director Todd Phillips said that the new film starring Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t take inspiration from any particular storyline in the DC Universe. In fact, the film doesn’t follow the comics at all.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
That man is Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who goes insane and turns to a life of crime in Gotham City. Phoenix stars as Fleck, with Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz co-starring.
Are you excited for the upcoming Joker film? Do you think not taking inspiration from the comics will be a good decision?
A smash-and-grab crook stole $42,000 worth of comic books from a Denver Store. Shouldn’t I be explaining this to you? isn’t that our thing? Also, which Denver Store?
Mile High Comics. Fox31 Denver says the store “is known for its large collection” and “has some of the rarest and most expensive comic books in the world”. Once he broke the glass, the dastardly devil stole valuable books that “had been locked in Mile High Comics’ showcase at 4600 Jason St. ahead of Denver Comic Con this weekend”.
Do we know who did it? Was it the Joker? It was the Joker, right?
We don’t know who did it, but this cruel crook cut himself on the glass and afterwards he tried to clean up the blood with toilet cleaner.
Just one question: Did he steal a Batman comic?
Image Via Fox 31
On a serious note, the merchandise stolen from the Denver store “includes the first ‘Avengers’ comic book, the first ‘Iron Man’ book and a rare autographed ‘Spider-Man’ edition”. It’s some expensive comic, and supposedly that Avengers comic book is wroth “about $14,000, according to experts” and fourteen books stolen are, all together, total about $42,000.
“Whoever did it knew what they were going for,” William Moulton of Mile High Comics told Denver7.
This seems right on the money, given that the security footage shows “the thief picking specific comics and putting them in a plastic bin”.
Image Via The Denver7
His plan didn’t go off without a hitch, however, because in the process, “the burglar cut his hand or arm on a piece of broken glass” before proceeding to grab window cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner wipe up the blood.
The thief eventually took both the comics and the trash can filled with the bits of broken glass.
As of now the thief remains at large, but even Batman encourages anyone with information to call Denver Police at (720) 913-2000.
How do you give a character who’s infamous for having no definitive origin an origin? Let’s face it: Joker has stayed around long enough because he’s fascinating, but it seems that we’re afraid that fascination might leave our collective consciousness if we know anything about him. So, again, how do you give a character who’s infamous for having no definitive origin an origin?
To answer this question, let’s starts with the basics:
Although we know now that Martin Scorsese won’t be producing the new Joker movie, his touch is still prevalent in the film. Thought interviews, official statements, and just the general feel from the trailer, we can see the cinematic inspirations bubbling to the frame.
Before we dive straight into this pool, let’s start with a little background. Specifically, let’s look at who’s producing this film. There are 3 of them.
Image Via Fandom
Not them. Well, at least, I don’t think so… but let’s give a face to these three smiles.
Third, but certainly not least, is Emma Tillinger Koskoff. You may not know her name, but you’re likely to know her work. Screenplay Daily broke the news a few years back that Koskoff joined the Martin Scorsese production company Sikelia Productions in 2003 and, in only a few short years, was promoted to Production President in 2006. She was one of the producers onThe Wolf of Wall Streetand has been a driving force in Scorsese’s films for the last ten years.
Come 2017, we got news that Scorsese himself would be the producer along with Scott Silver and Todd Philips. Todd Philips and Scott Silver are now the sole screenwriters, and Scorsese himself has left. But Emma Tillinger Koskoff stayed. Now it might seem I’m hammering this point in, and I am. With good reason.
Let’s look at what we got:
Image Via IMDB
Robert DeNiro. Yeah, he’s really all we need. He’s been in a great many of Scorsese films, but his first notable one isTaxi Driver.
Image Via IMDB
Here’s the premise, courtesy of IMDB: a mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Dark. Gritty. Grim. Those three words are most often used to describe this film. It’s a descent into madness as one man slowly loses himself in the crowds of the city. The film is rife with looming shots of harsh city streets, crowds bustling around and blending formlessly together, endless cigarettes being smoked down to the filter.
Image Via Daily Mail
Sounds like anyone? Maybe you’re not convinced. Maybe the fact that Thomas Wayne is apparently running for Mayor in the upcoming film doesn’t mean Joaquin Phoenix will shoot him Tim Burton style with shots reminiscent of Robert DeNirio firing at Mayor Palantine. Maybe the fact Joaquin Phoenix ends up becoming the Joker doesn’t make you think of the movie where this guy…
Image Via Mental Floss
Became this guy.
Image Via Rotten Tomatos
You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here.
But these people were certainly reminded:
JOKER looks fucking insane!!! Has a very TAXI DRIVER vibe to it, but def a lot more twisted. You’ll see the footage we just saw tomorrow. #CinemaCon
The absence of Batman in this trailer make Joker both hero and villain. Will Joker get taken down by a cop or just get away with it all? Whatever it all is🤷♂️… There’s a reasonable argument that Phoenix is the most underrated actor today and the Taxi Driver vibe here is chilling pic.twitter.com/DgMcdTAJt4
Robert De Niro, but in The King of Comedy, which also was directed by Scorsese. Here’s the premise, again from IMDB: Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.
Let’s replace Rupert Pupkin with “Arthur Fleck” or “The Pre-Joker Joker,” and we got our Joker movie. Seriously. Just look at these images:
IMage Via Collider
Joker, head thrown back, sporting a white polka-dot suit.
Here’s a still from The King of Comedy:
Image Via Indie Wire
They wearing the same suit! Heck, the red suit Phoenix is wearing in these leaked set photos…
Image Via USA Jacket
….looks like Pupkin’s.
Image Via Public Transportation Snob
Tomorrow you’ll know I wasn’t kidding, and you’ll think I was crazy. But I figured it this way: better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!
Polygon summed it up with this: “The script was reported to have ‘ties’ to The King of Comedy; the latest poster should dispel any doubts as to that being the case.”
That should be obvious. The King of Comedy is about a man who tries to be a comedian but doesn’t yet know that he just isn’t funny. And you know what?
Image Via Zoom Comics
Batman thinks the Joker isn’t funny, but Batman isn’t in this movie, and that should scare us. When he kidnaps his comedic idol, played by Jerry Lewis, Pupkin doesn’t even have a loaded gun, but he’s absolutely terrifying.
“Tomorrow you’ll know I wasn’t kidding and you’ll all think I’m crazy,” Pupkin tells his idol, “but I figure it this way: better to be king for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime.”
Image Via Youtube
Throughout this film, we are entangled in Pupkin’s brain, and in there it’s nothing but ego. Pupkin is funny. Pupkin is the greatest, loved by all, hated by only the fools. He’s a man who deserves his shot at the big leagues, and if he doesn’t get it, he’s going to loose it. Maybe he does. The ending of the film shows Pupkin getting what he wanted: a show with an eager audience who can’t get enough, but the tone leaves us unsettled. Is this real? Or has he become completely lost in the narrative of his own construction?
Fandom summed up the film as: “a cautionary tale about the kinds of rewards and adulations we shower on celebrities. Don’t be fooled by the word “comedy” in the title. This flick isn’t there to make you laugh. It’s there to scare you.”
The only shot of De Niro in it is a quick glimpse of him on stage and, long before that happened, I couldn’t stop thinking about KING OF COMEDY. Todd Phillips is clearly thinking about it, too.
Plus, Pupkin even meets up with another stalker, Masha, who aids him in his quest to kidnap Jerry and blackmail the studio into giving Pupkin his literal 15 minutes of fame. Notable, IGN notes that Marsha, played by Sandra Bernhard, delivers “a proto-Harley Quinn performance.”
Image Via IMDB
Then there’s Robert De Niro, but in Raging Bull, which was also directed by Scorsese. Here’s the premise, again from IMDB: The life of boxer Jake LaMotta as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside of it.
Image Via Mubi
I hear your words, “the Joker ain’t no boxer!” Well, he can fight, but that’s not the point. The film starts off in 1964 when an aging boxer named Jake LaMotta practices a comedy routine. The film is about how this man fights and keeps fighting, ultimately realizing his life is a joke. (And what a mood.)
Image Via Robert Ebert.com
“I’m the best, I can take it more than anybody.”
It’s the internal life splattered on the silver screen, just like with Taxi Driver, just like with the next film we’re going to look at (yes, that too is Scorsese).
Image Via Digital Spy
Deadline even mentioned the film back when the movie was first announced in August of 2017:
The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy.
Image Via Collider
In each of these three films, the character’s internal life is splattered on the screen. They are directionless people who find a direction that leads them hurdling towards a terrifying path.
“I used to think my life was a tragedy, but I now realize it’s a comedy.”
These films are character studies, which is exactly what Joaquin Phoenix has been gunning for. He told Collider:
Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done.’
Oh, it will be done, and I’m screaming for this movie. These films seem to serve as a template to give this classic comic book character a fresh new origin, and hopefully this film will be new but familiar territory instead of a whirlwind of a chaos.
But I’m hopeful, and you know why?
The JOKER teaser is pretty great. Joaquin never disappoints. I’m in. #cinemacon
DC is doing things right lately. Aquaman was epic. Shazam! is better than anyone would have guessed. And now, even though Todd Phillips’ and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker won’t be included in DC’s cinematic universe, it seems like the newest take on the iconic villain will knock the cinematic world off its axis.
The trailer has arrived. I was wrong to ever doubt.
We’ll be seeing a Joker origin story that takes place against the backdrop of Earth One’s Gotham City mayoral campaign, where Thomas Wayne (Batman’s dad) will be running for office. Many of the film’s aesthetics and atmosphere appear to borrow from the TheJokergraphic novel as well.
And even if the film doesn’t quite live up to the high expectations it has just set, you can be certain that acting legend Joaquin Phoenix will do an excellent job. He is already convincing as The Joker who has had “one bad day.”
Batman has the best rogues gallery in comics. I’m sure you could rattle off over ten Batman villains without breaking a sweat. From archenemies like the Joker and the Penguin, to more minor characters like Man-Bat and Clayface, Batman’s villains are each classic in their own right. But who are some of the best obscure characters of the Dark Knight’s menagerie of bad guys? Here, we list down some of the most memorable obscure baddies who battled the Caped Crusader…
5. Professor Pyg
One of the creepiest, most insane Batman baddies ever created, Professor Pyg was introduced in Grant Morrison’s Batman run and certainly left an impression. Running the equally freakish Circus of Strange, Professor Pyg lobotomizes unwilling victims into becoming mindless dolls to act as his muscle. Pyg turns out to be a mere minion for the main villain Simon Hurt but he proves to be much more memorable, both for his strange design, his disturbing methods, and his bizarre manner of speech, which manifests itself as random nonsense akin to a word salad. Pyg has since gone on to appear in various other forms of Batman media, such as Batman: Arkham Knightand Gotham, cementing himself as one of the best new Batman lunatics.
4. The Condiment King
Image Via Batman Wiki
From the scary to the ridiculous, the Condiment King is one of the sillier bad guys of the Batman universe but he’s made an impression for being so ridiculous he’s actually incredible. His gimmick is, you guessed it, condiments, as the Condiment King wields guns that shoot out ketchup, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, etc. If that doesn’t sound like a threat, well, its because it isn’t. The Condiment King always gets taken down very easily, as the most he can do is give you some stains. But he’s always hilarious when he does show up and he’s so little of a threat its easy to feel kind of a bad for him.
Image Via Batman Wiki
Another ridiculous Batman villain, Orca first appeared in the ’90s. A former marine biologist, Dr. Grace Balin got into an accident that left her paralyzed. Experimenting on orca whale DNA, she injects herself with the genetics and transforms into Orca the Whale Woman, with all the powers of a whale at her disposal! Her motives were always rather unclear and she had a few unmemorable appearances before being shot dead by Two-Face. Luckily for her, she’s appeared alive and well again in the DC Comics reboot Rebirth, now an opponent to Nightwing.
Image Via Pininterest
Cooperhead, real name John Doe, was an assassin who took up a snake motif for his acts of villainy. He could use his costume to strangle people to death in its powerful coils and also had a venomous bite. His weakness was that he became obsessive toward a chosen target, ignoring everything else to his often detriment. Copperhead was killed during the Blackest Knight storyline and a new Copperhead, a woman called Jane Doe, took up the mantle of the snake in the New 52 reboot, antagonizing both Batman and the Flash.
1. Kite man
The poster child for silly super villains, Kite Man first appeared during Batman’s Silver Age. He was exactly what he sounded like, a kite-themed villain who tried to pretend he was something of a threat. After a scant few appearances, Kite Man joined the D list roster of Batman’s rogues gallery, languishing in obscurity for years. It wasn’t until the DC Rebirth where he was given a new lease on life, returning as a recurring joke villain who always got the short end of the stick from Batman and other heroes of Gotham. Whenever the writers needed a one off villain to get punched or humiliated, Kite Man was there. But Kite Man in this run is more than he appears and is given gravitas unexpected of the character, which we won’t spoil here. All we’ll say is: “Kite Man. Hell yeah.”
Who are some of your favorite obscure Batman bad guys? Tell us in the comics and get hyped for Batman Day on March 30th!