Years before when Joker was greenlit for development by Warner Bros., Director Todd Phillips' desired to have veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese on board as well. Even though Scorsese didn't end up having any direct involvement in the DC film, the director confirmed that he did consider working on the project. The Irishman director has lately been all over the news due to his criticism of Marvel films and comparing them to amusement parks.
Scorsese has stood by his earlier comments and continues to refer to superhero films like MCU movies as another art form. But what of the recently released Joker movie? here's what he had to say: "I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it," said Scorsese speaking to BBC's Sam Asi. " I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. It was personal reasons why I didn't get involved. But I know the script very well. It has real energy and Joaquin. You have remarkable work."
As Phillips has earlier stated, Joker took influence from gritty character study movies like Scorsese's Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. The veteran filmmaker is aware that the R-rated comic book film has taken inspiration from his early 70s movie and though he isn't sure if he views the DC film as a "theme park" style art form, the director offered a detailed response on his criticism.
Scorsese seems to have turned away from Joker for the same reason he doesn't seem to like superhero films. A narrative that eventually explores the comic book character arc rather than prioritizes following the story of the original character isn't the director's cup of tea. Similarily to Joker, the movie centers over Arthur Flecks's transformation into the clown prince of crime. But Scorsese intended to explore Arthur's life instead of Joker.
"For me, ultimately, I don't know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character," Scorsese said. "You follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn't mean it's bad art, it's just not for me...The superhero films, as I've said, are another art form. They are not easy to make. There's a lot of very talented people doing good work and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them."
Scorsese's latest comments sum up his frustration with superhero films/genre. But particularly, in the case of Marvel Studios - the director wrote a lengthy op-ed to NY times where he states that Marvel movies don't take risks. Joker is currently on road to possibly end its theatrical run with a potential $1 billion earning. Joker and Scorsese's The Irishman are both in theaters now.