Kevin Smith is not short on opinions these days. Despite his heart attack scare and dedication to his work, Smith still finds time to lament his lack of invitation to the Bruce Willis roast on Comedy Central or talk about Star Wars and Avengers: Infinity War. This time he’s sharing his thoughts on the new DC Comics take on the Joker, telling the Batman villain’s origin on a slim budget starring Joaquin Phoenix.
During a recent edition of Ralph Garman’s Hollywood Babble-On Podcast, Smith went on to defend the idea of a Joker origin film and praised DC and Warner Bros. for the direction they seemed to be taking for the film. His reasoning? Well just look at what Fox did with Logan according to Indiewire:
“I think what they’re doing is smart,” Smith said. “This is a cheap movie, it’s $55 million. They’re not spending…$55 [million] for a comic book property? That’s very inexpensive. They’re going ‘Logan’ model, which is keep it low-budget and make it more adult.”
Logan certainly worked, and the story behind it is well-treaded territory at this point. But the build there was also superb on many levels, the biggest being Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as the character. The same can’t be said about the Joker film and the poison cloud that is currently looming over Warner’s DC Comics properties for some reason. Though for Smith, this direction indicates the studio is attempting to right the ship and get to what works while figuring out their extended universe:
“They’re experimenting. You gotta applaud ’em for this,” Smith said. “Everyone’s always sh*tting on Warner Bros. going, ‘You’re f*cking up your movies!’ And like, this is them trying a new direction where they’re like, ‘Look, obviously the extended universe stuff we’re having a problem with. How about we just go back to the old way, which we used to do, where we just f*ckin’ take material, give it to a director, and say f*ckin’ go, and we don’t worry about a fanbase and connecting the movies.’”
I would argue that no director was told to just “f*cking go” with a DC Comics property on the big screen. If so, then Steel, Green Lantern, and Catwoman were really off the mark and could’ve used a little studio interference. There’s also Smith’s own experience working on Superman Lives that might indicate that the old ways aren’t entirely safe.
Still, he’s right about the direction this Joker film seems to be taking. It could be the perfect kind of film to give DC that Dark Knight juice back.