Last year I really was excited for the idea of an Elseworlds Joker movie that wasn’t connected to the DC Extended Universe because I thought it was a new and fresh idea for DC to treat their movies like comic books and do a “different series” that went on its own path.
Now I’m not nearly as excited for it anymore.
Don’t get it twisted, I’m still going to see it when it releases. It’s DC, it’s expected to be “darker and more experimental,” and it’s the Joker. That’s more than enough to get me in the theater.
The thing is, I’m partial to the 10 to 15 minutes of the most recent version of the Joker we got in Suicide Squad and I want to see THAT Joker get a whole movie to play with, but because I’m clearly on some sort of island with that idea, we’re already dealing with people ready and willing to tout Joaquin Phoenix’s speculated take on the Clown Prince of Crime as superior to that of Jared Leto’s, which lasted barely a tenth of the entire movie’s runtime, and that’s the extended edition.
I’m already tired of that and this new Todd Phillips directed Joker movie isn’t even in production yet.
Look, opinions on this truly are all subjective and yes it’s better to drown out the noise of the haters and the endless critic mob on social media so that we can just enjoy what DC is about to give us, but I don’t want to exist in an echo chamber any more than most of us fans do and it’s already been nearly two and a half years of this garbage. If you don’t like Leto’s “mob boss” take on the character because he sported one too many tattoos for you and you hated his voice then fine, but just because this new Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix has been greenlit doesn’t and SHOULDN'T spell instant death for anything Leto might still do for the DCEU.
That’s really the only thing that even remotely concerns me about this Elseworlds Joker movie, the idea that DC Films might no longer entertain Leto’s Joker within the DCEU as a viable idea. I don’t want to see that happen and that would honestly be downright unfair to pass judgment like that on a version of a character we barely got to know at all in a movie that wasn’t even his in the first place. I’m hoping that’s not the case though and that plans for a Leto Joker DCEU film are still in play. When you consider the reshuffling of DC Films that has been done in the past six months alone, and the scheduling conflicts with most of the cast that has kept Suicide Squad 2 in the “indefinite pile,” it’s not difficult to reason that this Elseworlds Joker movie, reportedly with a "paltry" budget of $55 million, would be much easier to produce and release at this time. After all, Phoenix isn’t the frontman of a band currently on tour after dropping its fifth album when he’s not acting in Oscar-nominated (or in Leto’s case, Oscar-winning) roles.
I figure we’re going to get more clarity on all of this at San Diego Comic-Con, especially given all of the pieces of the DC Films puzzle that we’ve been given since January, but for the moment I’ll just say I’m “cautiously intrigued,” not because I have worries about this Elseworlds Joker movie itself that I expect will be anything but a watered-down, kid-friendly and safe film, but because I want to know that DC is still going to keep its current “franchise” Joker as well. If the character can appear in multiple comic series at the same time like anyone else can, then he can certainly do the same with multiple movies and that’s seriously great if DC is doing that. I just want to know that they still are, that’s all. Here’s hoping.