The name Martin Scorsese does not tend to come up in the discussion of Geek culture all that often. Or ever, really. (Please, if I’m forgetting something, please point it out to me!) But that’s about to change if a rumor floated by Newsarama (via Deadline) is anything to go by.
And as names-ordinarily-having-nothing-to-do-with-comic-books go, this one is a twofer: not only is Scorsese allegedly on board to produce but Todd “The Hangover” Phillips is the intended director to boot, on a script he’ll co-write with Scott Silver.
This is not the part that bothers me. Non-obvious geeks taking on comic book movies has worked out well for Marvel (the Russo brothers, Taika Waititi, Peyton Reed, etc.), Scorsese is one of our best and wisest living filmmakers, and Phillips is a studio-friendly (ie; Stays within budget and delivers on time) director that had at least one interesting movie in his oeuvre. I’m willing to see where this goes creatively, especially if Geoff Johns is really the DCEU’s Kevin Feige, as has been reported.
No, my problem is the desperation evident in Warner Brothers’ move. According to the article:
This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.
The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie.
What this says to me is that there were discussions behind closed doors that went something along the lines of:
“Hey–Suicide Squad was terrible. But you know what? It’s a bona fide hit! Question is why?”
And then, of course, it was decided that the only thing appealing about the movie was that it was about villains, and it was “gritty.” Hence, when chasing some more revenue that is not directly tied to the “main” DCEU they decide to go with the only thing they know has worked so far: criminals and “grittiness.” The early comparisons are that they’d be aiming for a Raging Bull type of project.
On top of that, for the public/critical buy-in, they rope in Scorsese for the free publicity (it’s working already; we’re writing about it!) and the whiff of authority Scorsese brings to the whole affair. On paper, and in the boarding room, this is not a bad idea. In fact, it’s probably a good idea; the only character in Batman’s universe almost as recognizable as Bats is the Joker. Making a whole movie about him is guaranteed money.
But as a company that is trying to build a competitive alternative to the MCU? This just smacks of grasping at straws, not building something genuine and cohesive, which is a large part of why the MCU is so popular and so successful with every one of the products they produce. Warner Bros. should be making decisions based on what’s best for the stories, characters, and the universe they’re trying to build, not what’s best for their bottom line only. Marvel’s genius is that they do both and make it look easy.
So…I’m concerned, to say the least. How about you folks? Is this the wise move? To allegedly follow up Wonder Woman and Justice League with a spiritual successor to Suicide Squad when that movie is already getting its own sequel?
Images: DC Comics, United Artists, Warner Bros. Animation