It’s been pretty clear for a long time to fans that the DC Comics Universe in the movies, at least, is a freakin’ mess.
With the exception of “Wonder Woman,” none of the recent movies have made anyone happy. “Suicide Squad,” “Justice League,” “Batman vs. Superman” — oy vey. They don’t hold a candle to the Marvel movies, and I say this as a childhood fan of DC.
One bright spot of “Suicide Squad” was Jared Leto as The Joker. This was a big deal since Heath Ledger had been so indelible as The Joker in “The Dark Knight Returns” and won an Oscar. But he’s gone.
But instead of giving Leto a standalone movie, or one with Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, DC and Warner Bros. announced a different Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, directed by Todd Phillips. So that would mean Phoenix in that film, Leto (maybe) in another “Suicide Squad” movie. The Joker’s wild!
Now, suddenly, a Leto Joker movie is back (reported by Variety). But so is the Phoenix film. Leto is bright and colorful, Phoenix is dark and wicked. Clearly, no one at DC and WB can decide what the Joker is. This would be as if Marvel had Ryan Reynolds in one set of Deadpool movies, and Daniel Day Lewis (as if) in another.
But Marvel knows what they are, with a clear editorial focus.
DC, on the other hand, doesn’t. That’s why they ousted DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson this week. She was also head of Warner Consumer Products. Nelson was with Warner Bros. for 20 years. But she is gone, completely, after all this confusion. (And that includes the Ben Affleck-Batman situation.)
So now what? Maybe DC/WB can find someone with a passion and clear understanding of the DC Universe. So far that’s been limited to Patty Jenks with “Wonder Woman.”
And two Jokers? It didn’t work for “The Two Jakes.” (Inside joke.) It won’t work here.