The problem with any film that’s a part of a ‘larger universe’ of films is that it can often be limited storytelling wise. A movie has to be tonally and visually consistent with that universe, has to (often frequently) acknowledge the wider universe around it, and has to conform to the ‘image’ that the overall brand wants to project.
That’s not the case with Warner Bros. Pictures’ post-“Justice League” plans for their DC Comics film adaptations. Instead of trying to copying the Marvel template, the studio has smartly chosen to differentiate itself by taking the opposite path – offering standalones and pushing for a diversity of vision with auteurs allowed to make some big swings that risk upsetting the faithful.
That proves true with Todd Phillips’ “Joker” film which has already drawn plaudits, awards, discussion and controversy over its content. In a new interview with ComicBook.com, Phillips says the creative freedom he was allowed and how he didn’t have to namecheck Batman at every turn was one of the best aspects of doing the movie. Talking about the lack of comic influence in the final film, he says:
“There was probably a little more [Batman references] in earlier cuts, maybe. There definitely was a little more everything in the earlier cuts, but it was really about how fun it is that we get to keep one foot in the comic book world and one foot in not and… find that balance.
It’s hard to quantify how we found that balance, but it was, the movie is very liberating because DC, just speaking about comic books, DC as a company and Warner Bros as a studio really just let us do whatever we wanted with it. It wasn’t like ‘oh and you have to mention the Batmobile and you have to…’ none of that. It was literally like ‘yeah, were going to take this leap on this movie. Just go for it and do it.’ The movie just stands on its own. I don’t see Arthur Fleck fighting anybody.”
Phillips and Phoenix have made it clear there are no plans for this take on Joker to tangle with Batman, Bruce Wayne is seen in the film as a child at this point in time. Tickets for the film are now available over at Fandango ahead of its cinema release October 4th.