Joker has been running roughshod over its cinematic competition for the last two weeks. Since opening on October 4th, the film has impressively earned more than $600 million worldwide. This is quite the feat for a movie with a $55 million budget that no one was too sure of.
When the project was first announced, there were a lot of fans and critics who were apprehensive, but the pic has certainly proved the naysayers wrong and though it’s going to get a lot of competition this week, with both Zombieland: Double Tap and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil arriving, it’s still expected to perform well.
But even with all the success the movie’s had, the inevitable comparisons to the other iterations of the Joker have begun to pop up. In fact, comic book geek and auteur director Kevin Smith has added his own two cents, as when asked about who’s provided the definitive version of the Clown Prince of Crime, Smith was ready with a slightly surprising answer, stating:
The number one Joker on this list is Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, that took a long time to get to, but did you see how much serious consideration went into it? I think that’s the most serious that anyone’s ever done this exercise. I’m gonna get crucified for this on the internet, I’m gonna tell ya. The moment I said that [they’ll say], ‘You sold out on Luke Skywalker. You piece of Sith.’
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This was indeed unexpected, given the erstwhile Silent Bob’s affection and appreciation for all things Star Wars and for Mark Hamill in particular. Given that Heath Ledger is the only person to have won an Oscar for acting in a comic book movie though, this ranking is likely deserved.
But Joaquin Phoenix, while not considered number one yet, at least in Kevin Smith’s eyes, has been getting a lot of strong critical notices. There’s even some Academy Awards buzz for his performance in Joker. Whatever the case, it’s good that comic book movies are continuing with an upward trend and that Hollywood’s taking true notice of these films, not just as action blockbusters, but as thought-provoking, quality cinema.