By: Amanda Guarragi
To my fellow DC fans, I salute you, because we did it. The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement is a massive success and in 2021, on HBO Max, we will finally see our beloved Justice League come together as it was intended. Zack Snyder hosted a Man of Steel watch party today on the platform Vero, which he uses quite often. In his commentary, he discussed the choices he made in each scene in a very detailed manner and it showed how dedicated he was to bringing fans the best version of Superman. It was so much fun to watch because he gave his audience important information and pointed out a couple of easter eggs.
Zack Snyder has always created beautiful films that are deeply rooted in the source material. Most importantly, he has fun on set because he loves the material so much. Zack Snyder is a great director because he is also a fan of the content. When he was describing Superman’s first flight and showing his storyboards, you could feel how much love went into those scenes. Today was a very special day because towards the end of the film, Henry Cavill made an appearance and talked about how he felt putting on the suit. It was a great moment, considering we haven’t really seen Henry Cavill, let alone him speaking about the Snyder Cut, but I always knew there was a plan in place.
After 4 long years of being extremely vocal about Warner Brothers releasing the Snyder Cut of Justice League, it was finally confirmed from the man himself. At the end of the livestream, Zack and Deborah Snyder had a couple of fans join their Zoom call with Henry. This also proved that Zack has a very close relationship with his fanbase and loves having discussions with them. He answered all their questions, including the one in regards to the Snyder Cut. At first Henry, Zack and Deborah laughed. Zack awkwardly said, “It’s out of my control. It’s not up to me.” then he started talking about a tiny flash drive, that he left in a bathroom stall somewhere, to try and divert the question.
At that point, I thought we were duped. I thought there would be no announcement because he was diverting the question, but Henry came to the rescue. It fell silent for a moment and then Henry said, “You know what, I think I’d like to see it.” and Zack answered, “Oh, really? Well I can’t just show it but I can do this.” Zack then turns the camera to his big screen, where he was watching Man of Steel on, and this showed up.
Beautiful right? The moment we’ve been waiting for and he announced it in the most Zack Snyder way. Everything started with Man of Steel and Zack’s version of Superman. It all started with Henry Cavill. Superman hasn’t risen yet because Zack Snyder’s Justice League hasn’t been released. It was only fitting that Henry, Zack and Deborah would all join together to make this announcement. The internet pretty much exploded today and all DC fans are beyond happy. My Twitter timeline took me back to a time where we were gearing up for Justice League and it gave me that same feeling today. All the friends I have made in the DC community and the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement has truly been amazing. We went up to bat for our director and now his vision will finally be complete.
It is a very emotional day for so many people. This community has been through so many bad moments but our love for these characters and these films helped us push through. We have constantly been under fire and we have had to defend these films for the past 4 years. It has been a very long journey but it was definitely worth it because today, today we made history. To everyone that used the hashtag, to everyone who defended these films and these actors, this couldn’t have been possible without you guys. We have been a team since SDCC in 2015, ever since we saw the footage for Batman v Superman. We went through all the criticism and the hatred together, but we stuck to our guns and made the impossible happen. Today is for all of you.
To Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, on behalf of the whole fanbase, thank you a million times over for your love and dedication to these characters. The DCEU would not be the same without you guys. You have all made comic book films that deeply resonate with so many people around the world and with characters that have been iconic throughout history. You have all built the foundation for the future of the DCEU and we truly can’t wait to see what comes next.
Whether Zack Snyder’s Justice League, is a six episode television series, or a three hour epic released on HBO Max, we will all be there on the very first day it is released, watching it because it’s going to be a big moment. Hope is what got all of us here and that’s why today is overwhelming, especially by watching Man of Steel. It’s not an “S”, on Kal’s planet, it means hope. The definition of hope, the feeling of it and having it payoff, is what today is.
No one is doing it like DC.
Their lineup is so incredibly diverse and unique to each character’s world.
Birds of Prey has easily become one of my favourite team up films. EVER. Margot Robbie is undeniably Harley Quinn. No matter what other character she plays, (and we know how talented she is) this is her best. You can tell that she loves playing in Harley’s world and this film proves that she has understands her completely. From the very beginning it felt like we were inside Harley’s mind and the way Cathy Yan executed the story made it seem like we were apart of her thought process. It pretty much felt like Harley’s mind exploded on screen and we just happened to be in the room.
Are there Tarantino-esque elements? Yes and the one movie it reminded me of was Reservoir Dogs. Yan was able to structure the film that intertwined each character and their backstories, while moving through time at Harley’s pace. Everything just suited Gotham City and each character brought something different to the table. Renee Montoya, Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli and Cassandra Cain all had their own motives and working together made the most sense.
I loved everything about this, especially the fact that it focused on the many ways women can be mistreated by men. It definitely has a different girl power energy and maybe it’s because I’m older but this badass, anarchist, violent, r rated energy just gives off a higher level of empowerment. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something like that. Seeing all those women on screen, harnessing their powers and setting aside their differences in order to take a villain out. It’s just refreshing to see women beating the bad guys up for a change, I know that sounds incredibly basic but it’s true.
I loved seeing these women kick ass so much that I almost started crying, actually I did cry. I’m not afraid to say it. I cried because I saw my favourite character on screen for the first time and she embodied her in every way possible, I could only dream of this Dinah Lance and Jurnee Smollett-Bell nailed it. THAT WAS MY BLACK CANARY. Everything about her was perfect; her fighting style, her attitude and most importantly her heart made me love her so much more. I’ve been waiting so long for a live action Canary and I truly hope we get a stand-alone and some sequels!
Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ella Jay Basco were all perfectly cast as well. Winstead’s ‘Huntress’ wasn’t as developed as I would have liked her to be BUT the good thing is, is that they left me wanting more of her. The mafia side of her story is really interesting and I would love to see my Italian Princess of Crime at the forefront eventually. Perez brought so much sass to Renee Montoya and she looked so done with everyone’s shit for majority of the film, so that was great! Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain was so adorable and really brought everyone together.
Last but not least, our villains for Birds of Prey... Roman Sionis and Victor Zsasz were fantastic in this. Ewan McGregor has truly never been better. He brought such high level energy to Sionis and it was different from his other roles, so I was pleasantly surprised. Sionis was sadistic, eccentric and managed to throw the best hissy fits. McGregor was so good, I would laugh while he was yelling, only to be silenced shortly after because of how dark he became. Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz was creepy and very twisted. Messina’s chemistry with McGregor was interesting, there’s so much more to unpack with their characters because of all the tension they had. They fed off of each other so well!
Birds of Prey is a lot of fun. I can see myself watching this time and time again. Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson did a great job bringing these character’s to life. The fighting styles for each of them were choreographed perfectly and the final fight scene was so well done! It’s also very brutal because Margot Robbie did not want to hold back one bit and she definitely kept her promise.
In the past six years, DC Comics has released films, that go against the grain of the comic book universe, in which audiences are accustomed to. Release after release, DC and Warner Brothers have been faced with countless (pointless) controversies that are still being discussed today. With the release of the Joker, the discourse surrounding it has reached new levels of ignorance and bias.
The first form of controversy came directly from CNN and other news sources claiming that there would be an uprising after the release of Joker. They continued to spread paranoia across the United States, by warning people that there could be a possible shooting at any of the screenings. They carried this narrative out because of the violence that is depicted by a villain in his own standalone.
This is the same argument that has been plaguing single shooter video games, such as Call of Duty. Media does not influence anyone to kill, the access to weapons does. The media continues to blame art and media in different mediums, rather than blaming their own corrupt system. As opening weekend for the Joker approached, undercover cops and extra security were placed at multiple screenings across the country for Joker. This narrative was completely forced by the media, it was almost as if they wanted this particular narrative to unfold, AGAIN, in order to fit their narrative of blaming the media for the violence in their country. There were even extra security guards placed in theatres in Canada and statistically, Canada does not have the same gun violence percentage as the United States.
The fictional character of the Joker has been a staple in pop culture for decades, so why are people finding an issue with him now? There have been multiple films that included violence, from John Wick to Rambo: Last Blood and every basic action movie in between. The controversy behind the Joker, lies with it being a DC character. With the rise of formulaic action films or comforting live action remakes, audiences are not used to a different moviegoing experience, especially ones that don’t leave you feeling all warm and toasty inside.
DC has and always will be the dark knight of the live action comic book universe, but they are the only ones putting out humanistic stories for audiences to reflect on. Man of Steel was a symbolic immigrant story, Batman v Superman was about unity over differences, Wonder Woman displayed love for humanity, Aquaman showcased power struggles between land and sea, Shazam showcased bullying and Joker depicted the treatment of those who suffer with mental illnesses in the most raw and brutal form we could have ever imagined.
The reason why audiences are turned off by Joker, is because they feel disgusted with how society treats people. Joker puts everyone who has every treated someone horribly at the forefront because of how Arthur Fleck’s internal pain fills the screen. People will constantly treat others poorly but they will never know how much their cruel acts truly affect them. People do not walk out of the Joker feeling uncomfortable from the violence, they are uncomfortable with the treatment of Arthur Fleck, or how terrible the world can be. No one sympathizes with the killing aspect of the Joker, the film showcases the mind of someone who has been so traumatized and feels so much pain because the world has treated him unfairly.
The lesson in Todd Phillips’ Joker is to be kind to everyone because they could be going through anything. That’s the real tragedy of life in general, no one considers their fellow person, it’s always for personal gain. There are moments in the Joker that are very emotional or even frustrating to sit through because of Arthur’s condition. It’s hard to watch him lose himself and come to terms with the fact that his whole life was a lie. He takes his suffering and transforms into this character of the Joker, he feels safer putting on the facade of a clown because clowns are unpredictable.
Lastly, since the Joker won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and has been getting major Oscar buzz, Joaquin Phoenix is a lock for Best Actor and articles like these will not and SHOULD not stop him for getting the Oscar gold. Headlines such as these are laughable for multiple reasons. The headline on the right, does not match the article whatsoever because it resorts to clickbait. How have we gotten to the point where a film that amasses such success does not deserve the box office revenue that it receives? There have been many films that have not been good, and still made billions of dollars, but I didn’t see an article questioning the success of those films. Unfortunately, it has become a thing to piggyback off of controversies in order to gain clicks without having anything beneficial to add to the film and its process after it’s released.
As we head into Oscar season, the Joker has every right to be nominated because it changes a genre that has gotten very tiresome in the past 11 years. Todd Phillips truly changed the game and no matter the controversy, Joker belongs in the race. If we take away Joaquin’s brilliant performance, we are still left with unique direction, a haunting score, stunning cinematography, an in depth character piece, many references and nostalgia, many social issues being brought to the forefront, and a well rounded film overall. Joker will most definitely be nominated, not only for the reasons stated above BUT because the Oscar telecast hasn’t been doing well and they have been gaining viewers due to relevant films with the 18-34 demographic AND of course, the magic word, controversy.
The Joker is a film that demands to be seen and the message is booming throughout. People are afraid to feel terrible after a film because it’s a reflection on their own behaviour and how society actual treats people. It’s raw, realistic and a painful watch but it is definitely necessary.
I’d like to begin by saying, that this is NOWHERE NEAR a comic book film. Todd Phillips takes what we know and throws it out the window.
Joker has a very simple storyline and Joaquin Phoenix’s character study takes it to another level. It’s a vengeful take on how the government and society treat the mentally ill or those who suffer financially.
The first half of this film, analyzes the mental illness of Arthur Fleck. He is verbally, physically and mentally abused by people around him because he has a condition. It showed how society paints victims of mental illness and how they label them as less than humans. Joaquin’s performance in the first half made me sympathize with his illness, his vulnerability and timidness made me feel for Arthur. He lived with his mother, watched the Murray Franklin Show and went to work, that was his reality. Anyone can sympathize with Arthur Fleck in the first half of this film AND can understand his frustration when things keep getting worse for him as the film goes on.
Naturally, we know that Arthur Fleck becomes a villain BUT the human qualities and the education of mental illness makes audiences relate to that aspect of him.
The second half of this film highlighted Arthur’s descent into madness. His transformation into the Joker was slow but the build up was worth it. The reason why this performance was so incredibly stunning, was because his movements and facial expressions became more crisp and rigid. He went from timid poverty stricken every day working man, to confident, stand up comedian, who has A LOT to say about how society has treated him. His growth in this film is beautiful to watch but also incredibly unnerving to know that it leads him down this violent path.
The score by Hildur Guðnadóttir, is sinister and accompanies Arthur’s descent so well. There were soft moments and then booming ones, that made this ride so enjoyable from beginning to end. Phillips’ direction was his best to date and I valued the extreme close ups of Joaquin so much. Joaquin’s eyes were enough to sell audience’s on the fact that this man was crazed.
The character of the Joker has never been an easy one to play but Joaquin brought a human element that people could relate to. Arthur Fleck’s story is heartbreaking and it is a tragedy, until HE decides to change his story and turn it into a comedy. Comedy is subjective and what the JOKER finds humorous… well, we don’t relate to that.
This is not a comic book film, so do not compare it to any of them. This is a singular entity putting the government and society on blast. This is the most different and challenging film of the year.