It’s been nearly 20 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men officially kicked off the comic book movie boom, and despite plenty of people predicting that the bubble was inevitably going to burst at some point, the genre seems stronger than ever, with superhero blockbusters now accounting for many of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
The continued evolution of the genre over the last two decades has constantly given filmmakers new and exciting ways to tackle the material, whether it be Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’s video game-inspired approach, Deadpool’s R-rated fourth-wall breaking or Black Panther’s reputation as a cultural milestone that saw it become the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Todd Phillips’ Joker looks set to become the latest comic book project to put a fresh spin on a familiar genre, reinventing one of cinema’s most iconic villains as the tragic protagonist in a $55 million, period-set psychological thriller. The movie is already generating huge buzz ahead of its October release with plenty of people already tipping it for awards season success, particularly Joaquin Phoenix’s lead performance.
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Those involved are adamant that Joker will be an entirely different kind of comic book movie to what people are used to seeing and in a recent interview, Marc Maron, who plays a key supporting role in the project, both admitted that he had no interest in ever watching the likes of Avengers: Endgame and also had some scathing words for fans of the genre in general.
“I have some issues with them and I generally don’t like them. I don’t wanna be bullied into seeing those movies. I’m a grown-up, I’m not seven, and I think those movies are for grown, male nerd children. I just don’t go see them, I’m not interested.”
That sounds a little harsh and perhaps even hypocritical coming from an actor who literally just made a comic book movie, but Maron has previously addressed why he signed on to Joker despite not being a fan of the genre.
“I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little push-back in the press for being a hypocrite. Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey, do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’, your principals fall to the wayside.”
In the actor’s defense, much of the excitement surrounding Joker is down to the uniqueness of the project. The director behind The Hangover trilogy making an adult-orientated comic book movie with Joaquin Phoenix, one of the greatest actors on the planet, playing one of popular culture’s most iconic characters sounds absolutely fascinating, and the hope is that Joker will manage to live up to the sky-high expectations that now surround it.