As if enough things haven’t been written about this movie, here comes another one. Ever since the announcement of this movie, I’ve been skeptical. The Joker is a character who has, historically, never had a definitive origin story – nor has he ever needed one. The entire point (and fun) of the character is that he has no origin. Various stories have hinted at one (The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight) but all have shied away from suggesting any of those origins is the definitive one. So, this movie being entirely about how the Joker became the Joker worried me a bit, though that worry was squashed a bit when they made it clear this movie wouldn’t tie into the larger DCEU and would be the cinematic equivalent of one of DC’s Elseworlds stories. With that context, it was a bit easier to get on board with a film like this. Then came all of the controversy surrounding the film – the articles about how it was irresponsible, the security concerns, etc – and the whole thing began to get a little messy. It was difficult to know what the film was actually saying versus what people were accusing the film of saying. The big question, now that opening weekend has come and gone without much incident, is whether Joker is a good movie that gets across all that it is trying to say. The answer? Yes, mostly. (NOTE: This review will contain some light spoilers for the movie, but this is one of those films where you pretty much already know how it ends; it’s not filled with surprises, but the enjoyment comes from the journey it takes you on.)
Joker (written by Scott Silver and Todd Phillips; directed by Todd Phillips)
“Joker” centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night…but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a remarkably well made Batman film. It’s even more impressive that said amazing film is a straight-to-DVD animated adaptation of a short Elseworlds graphic novel – a series of graphic novels from DC Comics that takes popular characters and places them in new situations/settings/etc. Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name, originally written by Brian Augustyn and featuring art from Mike Mignola, placing Bruce Wayne/Batman squarely in the late 1800s in Gotham City, where it seems that the infamous Jack the Ripper has relocated to continue his spree of terror by murdering women. Written by James Krieg and directed by Sam Liu, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight follows the Caped Crusader as he works – from the shadows – to stop Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror before it can get any worse while dodging the ever-suspicious Gotham police. If ever there were a crime from the world’s greatest detective, this would be it. (Mild spoilers follow.) (more…)
Man, I desperately wanted to like this. I will go to my grave defending Batman v Superman (particularly the Ultimate Edition, where the story actually made sense), but Justice League is, unfortunately, a bit of a mess. A fairly enjoyable – at times – mess, but a mess, nonetheless, and I’m not sure whose fault it is. Directed by Zack Snyder (with substantial reshoots and editing supervised by Joss Whedon) and written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, Justice League is the DCEU’s equivalent of 2012’s The Avengers (also directed by Whedon). It brings the mightiest DC superheroes – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Superman (Henry Cavill) – together for the first time as they team up to defend the earth from an intergalactic – and multi-dimensional? – threat: Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). (Mild spoilers ahead)(more…)
Better late than never, I suppose. I meant to review the first volume of Jody Houser’s Mother Panic back when it came out a few weeks ago, but life gets in the way sometimes. So here we go. Mother Panic is one of the several new comics from the Young Animal line from DC, headed by Gerard Way.
Written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, Mother Panic: A Work in Progress tells the story of Violet Paige, a rich young celebutante with a bad attitude and a worse reputation. No one would ever suspect that this tabloid-fodder wild child has a secret hidden beneath her spoiled heiress exterior—a secret that has driven her to become the terrifying force of vengeance against her privileged peers known as Mother Panic! But even as Violet launches her all-out assault on the rich and twisted, her shaky allies threaten to betray her, and every one of Gotham’s guardians—from Batwoman to the Dark Knight himself—is hot on her trail. Will Mother Panic continue to strike terror into her enemies’ hearts? Or will her violent quest for justice reach an equally violent end?
Over the past month, DC Comics has been publishing a crossover between Tom King’s Batman run and Joshua Williamson’s The Flash entitled The Button. This crossover picks up from where the DC Rebirth One-Shot left off, with Batman and the Flash discovering the Comedian’s (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen) smiley-face button stuck in the wall of the Batcave. The crossover follows Batman and the Flash as they try to track down the source of the radiation being emitted by the button while facing off against a series of personal and emotional obstacles thrown their way, seemingly on purpose.
First off, I think it’s important to note that I have not been regularly following either of these comics. I read the first issue or two of Tom King’s Batman run, and it was enjoyable enough; I just got too busy and caught up with life to regularly read them and I have never really read any of the Flash’s solo titles. That being said, this crossover seems to stand apart from whatever ongoing storylines have been going on in the individual titles. As long as you’ve read the DC Rebirth One-Shot, you should be good to go with reading this crossover. (more…)
I don’t know how DC manages to keep screwing up their animated movies, but man they’re sure becoming good at it.
1) Why would you give your villain the same name as a popular character from a popular series set in the SAME UNIVERSE AS YOUR FILM and not make it the same character? The movie says we’re getting Destiny. Naturally, your first thought is “Ooh, are they gonna bring Destiny of the Endless (from the Sandman) into this? That could be interesting!” And that would’ve worked since it’s established that Constantine and Morpheus had a partnership. But nope. It’s not that Destiny, sorry anybody who was really hoping for an element of the Sandman mythos to make it into a film. It’s a completely forgettable magic villain wizard thing. I dunno. He was barely developed. Wasn’t even mentioned until the movie was 2/3 finished. It would’ve been much more interesting if Destiny had been the Destiny from the Sandman. But nope. They chose another forgettable villain who had no discernible motivations other than evil or destruction or something. He had a cool power that was used effectively at the beginning and at the end, but completely forgotten about throughout the rest of the film. And the character is barely given any kind of introduction, given nothing remotely close to a motive, and falls flat as an uninteresting, forgettable character.