Considering how the Marvel-DC rivalry has persisted for decades and has only heated up with both publishers inspiring various movies of their own in recent years, it probably won’t cool down anytime soon – if ever. In my opinion, it’s okay to like both, yet others will forever keep their swords drawn.
Even as someone who does lean in the direction of DC, I’m not dense enough to not concede to the fact that Marvel has gotten far ahead of what Stan Lee would call their “distinguished competition” on the film side of things. Had Justice League Mortal taken off back in 2009, we’d probably be looking at a different landscape right about now. Instead, Kevin Feige and company built the highly lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe while Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League failed to resonate with moviegoers at large.
On the plus side, though, other DC flicks have proven to be hits, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman becoming box office juggernauts on their own. And while Shazam! didn’t rake in a ton of dough, it was a damn good movie. Soon enough, Joker will help keep the momentum going, as it’s being showered with praise from critics far and wide.
Obviously, director Todd Phillips has done something much different with his own film and in a recent interview, he pretty much said all you can really do is put forth your best effort in so many words, confessing:
“You can’t beat Marvel — it’s a giant behemoth. Let’s do something they can’t do.”
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In my view, that’s a pretty sound strategy because Disney has yet to consent to there being an R-rated character piece being done for a Marvel icon on the big screen. If enough DC movies of great quality are released in succession, then consumer confidence should improve – but that leaves little room for slip-ups. That’ll put a lot of pressure on Birds of Prey, though that’s a discussion for another day.
In fact, this somewhat mirrors previous comments made by Phillips, as he was quoted as saying the following a couple months back:
“I said ‘Let JOKER be the first, then let’s get f-cking great filmmakers to come in.’ Instead of trying to live in the shadow of the beast (MCU), let’s do something they can’t – $30 million budgets, no CGI hoopla. Let’s strip that all away. It’ll be liberating.”
Based on early projections, Phillips’ gamble will pay off not just with critics but with general audiences as well, because Joker‘s expected to open big. I guess we’ll find out for certain though once the Clown Prince of Crime storms theaters on October 4th.