Joker may finally be winding down its record-breaking run at the box office, and is now gearing up for a big awards season push, but the knock-on effects from Todd Phillips’ R-rated origin story will likely continue to be felt for years to come. Not only has the movie’s success reopened the debate about how viable and marketable adult-skewing superhero stories have become to modern audiences, but some in-production projects in the genre like Venom 2 are also thinking about now following suit.
Hollywood’s big budget output tends to follow whatever trends are popular at the moment, whether it be dark and gritty reboots, post-converted 3D or cinematic universes. Joker’s billion dollar haul will likely mean more R-rated blockbusters will start getting the green light, as rival studios look to capitalize on the critical and commercial fanfare that greeted Arthur Fleck’s origin story.
However, it would be much better for all involved if the latest off the comic book movie production line attempted to bring something entirely new to the genre, instead of just aping what worked for Joker and hoping it works for them, too. Luckily, that movie’s director of photography, Lawrence Sher, will shoot Dwayne Johnson’s upcoming DCEU debut Black Adam, and he sounds keen to bring something different to yet another superhero origin story.
“One of my interests about it is to continue to sort of, and we’ve talked about it with Dwayne and obviously with Jaume Collet-Serra and DC, can we continue to sort of reshape what a comic book movie is? Like yes, of course you want it to be entertaining and it has to make a decent amount of money, so it can’t love in such a fringe place that it doesn’t bring people in, but can we do something inventive? So that’s the goal, to continue to try to do something a bit inventive with it.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Black Adam is going down the dark and violent route, especially given star Dwayne Johnson’s established screen persona, but with the character being an anti-hero, we could well see a comic book blockbuster with distinct shades of grey. Sher’s work in Joker is being heavily touted for an Academy Award nomination, too, so we can at least expect his second consecutive DC Comics movie to look fantastic when it hits theaters in December 2021.