Hayden Adams | Wednesday, February 12, 2020
I remember it as if it were just about a year ago, and it was. I was writing my very first inside column ahead of the Oscars, and in honor of those as well as my passion for Marvel Superhero movies, I wrote a piece giving my Oscar superlatives to the movies of the MCU.
Now, it won’t be as clean-cut as the Marvel since the company has a very broad array of films that are loosely connected if connected at all, but I might as well acknowledge DC as well. First, however, a little trashing.
You see, the thing about Marvel versus DC is that, as weird as it sounds, Marvel makes more realistic movies than DC … with the exception of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” Trilogy. Marvel took the time to steadily build a cinematic universe, time that allowed them to introduce and explore characters’ intricacies, especially the lesser known ones.
DC jumped headfirst into the deep end and has been floundering ever since. It hurts that you have somewhat paper-thin and/or basic protagonists like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But the area they actually have Marvel beat is in complex antagonists (e.g. The Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Deathstroke).
Exploring these characters means taking risks, something, admittedly, Warner Bros. wouldn’t let its filmmakers do. Now, they’re starting to try and take advantage of this niche category (with “Joker” and “Birds of Prey”), but they’re at a point where they are just viewed as the “Little Brother,” and sadly, it’s an accurate label. With that said, on with the show:
Best(est) Picture — The Dark Knight
Was there ever any doubt? No. There wasn’t. Ever. It’s Nolan (who I also give best director to), Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, the latter of whom actually won a REAL Oscar for playing the Joker in this movie (which is why I also give him best performance). All the credit to Joaquin Phoenix for his take on the character, but the standard has been set immeasurably high.
From here on out, all awards exclude the Nolan movies, because otherwise it just ain’t fair.
Best Picture — The Joker
It was dark and it was derivative of Scorsese movies. But who better to rip off if you’re DC than the guy who said Marvel movies aren’t cinema? A lot of this goes to Joaquin Phoenix for giving a very provocative performance and, while the ending was predictable, to the director for giving a look behind the curtain (think DC’s “Wicked”).
Worst Picture — Take your pick…
I would say “Justice League,” but you could just as easily argue “Aquaman,” or a host of the Joel Schumacher-era Batman movies. In Justice League’s defense, it’s not entirely their fault. Zach Snyder had to leave the project and Joss Whedon’s reshoots didn’t blend well. To Aquaman’s credit, it never paraded as more than what it was, but it still was what it was: stupid.
I would say, again, that a lot of this is because the studio won’t always let directors take risks. But even so, you can still make due with limited range (think the new Star Wars trilogy/spin offs).
Best Casting — Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
I would go Phoenix, but there’s no need to heap all the award on one movie, or I’d just leave The “Dark Knight” Trilogy in here. This is mainly because casting for an Amazon role is difficult to do, and Gadot does an admirable job of filling it.
Most Fun Picture — Suicide Squad
Not a great picture, but fun. Margot Robbie swinging a hammer, Will Smith nailing headshots and the star power (he said with heavy sarcasm) of Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. It may have tried harder than Aquaman to be something more than it was, but it wasn’t completely in vain.
Solid performances helped mask a flawed story and gave us a bunch of Harley Quinn/Joker cosplay Halloween costumes, so brownie points.
Like the Oscars, I would like to honor the (possibly) awesome projects DC has contemplated but it looks like will never get to make:
The “Justice League” trilogy that would fulfill Batman’s nightmare vision from “Batman versus Superman” and reportedly had Darkseid murder Lois Lane.
The plan to introduce Green Lantern in “Justice League.”
“Flashpoint,” the movie that would have given us Thomas Wayne’s Batman and Martha Wayne’s Joker when the Flash decided to mess with time.
A host of other interesting projects that would have worked so long as DC had taken the time to do it the right way and build up their DC Extended Universe, but will now likely never happen or not be done proper justice, the kind of justice one would think a comic book brand built around the FREAKING JUSTICE LEAGUE would be able to deliver.
Now, when does the next Marvel movie come out again?
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.