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The Joker movie director says he can’t beat Marvel so decided to "do something they couldn't do"

Joker
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

The DC and Marvel movie debate has simmered for as long as superheroes have been on-screen. Now, the Joker movie director, Todd Phillips, has addressed how his standalone movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Crown Prince of Crime, can’t compete directly with Marvel – which is why he’s doing something different.

During an interview with ComicBook, Phillips bluntly said, “You can’t beat Marvel – it’s a giant behemoth.” Which is why, instead of fighting the MCU head-on, the director decided to give a succinct mission statement instead for his project: “Let’s do something they can’t do.”

The Joker movie, which exists away from the current DC universe of interconnected stories involving the likes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, has received praise for its unconventional approach to the genre. Sister publication Total Film’s five-star review said the Joker went to “deeper, darker and more disturbing places than any comic book movie to date,” suggesting that Phillips has pulled off what he was hoping to achieve.

Phillips may even have eyes on a sequel. He recently told Total Film: “If people show up to this movie, and [Warner Bros.] came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.”

Also, unlike any entry in the MCU thus far, the Joker movie has a confirmed R-Rating, with “strong bloody violence, disturbing behaviour, language, and brief sexual images” all being featured.

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I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.