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Adam Schulman
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Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 1462
Posted: 18 January 2020 at 4:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The only `darker tone' made to the Joker really was making him insane in the 1970's. Before they were forced to tone things down in the 1950's and made him less...murderous....the Joker was just plain pure evil. He killed people just because he could. 


Was he really insane, in the strict definition of that term? I agree that the "Laughing Fish" story by Steve Englehart was, well, nuts. But was it really that far off from the 1940s Joker? And it's true, the Joker killed any hired help that pissed him off. That's hardly unknown among criminals at the top of the "food chain." (See BREAKING BAD.) 

I do wish that Arkham Asylum would go away -- the word "asylum" isn't used anymore, anywhere, in the U.S. -- and mass murderers like the Joker would be put in solitary confinement, as they would in the real world. 

Of course I realize that DC's Prime Earth isn't the real world. But a bit more verisimilitude would be nice. 
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Sergio Saavedra
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Joined: 13 August 2007
Location: Spain
Posts: 436
Posted: 22 January 2020 at 7:34am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I don't know, but when I saw the film I didn't feel that it was just a case of “changes must be made.” It felt like the film was just sugarcoated with all that Batman lore, but the core of the film had nothing to do. The film would have worked with no reference to Joker or Gotham, and it wouldn't suprise me to lear that it was originally conceived like that. 
Actually, I enjoyed the film (perhaps "enjoy" is not the most accurate term, but...), although he wasn't the Joker to me, unless I see it as an imaginary tale.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 121600
Posted: 22 January 2020 at 7:39am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Actually, I enjoyed the film (perhaps "enjoy" is not the most accurate term, but...), although he wasn't the Joker to me, unless I see it as an imaginary tale.


And that's why Hollywood wins.

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James Woodcock
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Joined: 21 September 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5772
Posted: 22 January 2020 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I've spent long and hard thinking about this film, especially after the whole spat I got into on this forum over the use of a Gary Glitter song.

I've come to the conclusion that things like Elseworlds have provided some justification to films like this, along with how readily people accept people adapting Shakespeare stories (for example).

But, while I accept that people should be allowed to have different takes on characters, placing them in different situations, this should not be carte blanche to fundamentally change the actual nature of the character, otherwise you are cheating in the exercise you are trying to carry out.

It's a bit like saying 'I am going to write a film about  a serial killer but move them from country A to country B, because I want to look at how country B's methods and laws would have affected the situation.
BUT, Although the killer will be named after killer C and we will say they are based on killer C, They are not going to share a single attribute with killer C at all.

That's cheating and that is what JOKER has done. It bears no similarities to The Joker, other than we are told that's a name he will use and other people are called names we are familiar with.
No one and nothing seems to connect to the characters and situations I have read over the past 45 years of my life.

It's a cheat but people seem to be lapping it up.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2088
Posted: 22 January 2020 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I can't even look at stuff like that. I had an Oscar hand puppet as a kid. It's like an underground comic or Mad magazine idea to twist it, but when people are making such things official sanctioned representations... yeeeesch. Did it start with the Brady Bunch parody movie maybe? The tongue is so far in the cheek now people must be choking on it. As an adult I can look back at Oscar as, I think, meant to be a safe way for little kids to 'deal' with that kind of emotion and maybe deflate it too, make fun of it gently. I seem to have had a few more problems health wise as a kid and I bet the puppet was a good release, someone to 'grouch' with. That 'property' someone is deconstructing or outright murdering could be genuinely beloved... how would they feel if they elicit not cruel laughs but an actual tear? Someone doing a Ted or whatever with Oscar does that to me. :^(

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 22 January 2020 at 1:10pm
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Brian Hague
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Joined: 14 November 2006
Posts: 8515
Posted: 22 January 2020 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

We are now long past the point where simply doing a deconstructionist take on an existing, especially an otherwise innocuous, property is clever. It's now just about the most obvious thing one can do. No doubt the perpetrators of much of this feel they are "edgy" or "clever," but the path is too well-trod now. Just about every dumb "edgy" take on the Peanuts that can be done has been done. Ditto Disney. And Dick and Jane. It's tedious now. The recent "Banana Splits" slasher film, starring the actual Banana Splits characters, made nary a ripple. No one cares, not just about the Banana Splits, although that was part of it, but about that approach. Marvel had zombies. DC had zombies. Archie had zombies. No one gives a rat's ass if you "zombify" My Little Pony." It's done.

"Grouch" still works because it's cannily mirroring the exact approach the tired, lame Joker movie used to disassemble it's licensee. It's funny to see it done exactly as Joker did it, showing the exact mechanism of Joker at work on another IP. 

Sadly what's been missed by most concerning the Joker film is that it is, in itself, a joke. The film maker is trolling the moneymen, the critics, and the audience, apparently quite successfully. But the upshot of it all is still a gag.

He couldn't get a big budget for a comedy film anymore. That's not where the box office is. Plus, his trademark bad taste laffs were no longer fashionable. What were the moneymen giving a "thumbs up" to? Comic book properties. What if he did a Scorsese riff with a comic book property? Would anyone catch on? If he just took a comic book cartoon character and gave it all this (cue organ sting) heavy drama and sturm und drang and all that bullsh*t, would critics and audiences line up for that? I mean, it's completely stupid to think they would, but y'know, the way the market is today... If the Nolan weepers and Snyder garbagefests can put butts in the seats; if the studios are actually going to pony up for Ben Affleck* of all people to grimace, growl and stomp around in a big, clunky bat-suit, it might work...

And it did. Which is kind of the punchline to the whole thing.

Unfortunately, Hollywood then immediately one-upped him by casting Robert Pattison as the next growly grimacer, but hey, that's the comedy biz for you...

* Affleck... "A."... "Fleck"... C'mon, people, catch up... These ARE the punchlines here...

Edited by Brian Hague on 22 January 2020 at 4:08pm
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Brian Rhodes
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Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3168
Posted: 23 January 2020 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Hague nails it, again. 

Edited by Brian Rhodes on 23 January 2020 at 11:00am
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