There's something very funny about the director of the upcoming Joker movie just plain admitting that his film is going to anger Joker fans. It's such a brazenly jerk move that you can't help but admire the chutzpah. It's also the kind of antagonising stunt you'd expect the Joker himself to pull.
But aside from being pleasingly true to character and wonderfully provocative I can't help but feel that it's the exact kind of "burn it all to the ground" attitude the world of cinematic superheroes needs right now.
Big budget blockbusters have been taken over by super powered people doing super powered things. And that's fine. I usually enjoy a comic book movie whenever I catch one. But because there's so many, we're talking two to three a year here, my enthusiasm has dimmed a little over the years.
The byproduct of having an endgame be "universe building" as opposed to simply "telling a great and unique story" is that all these movies started to feel the same. No matter who was making them.
Sure the colours changed - Oh, this one's 80s! Oh, this one's underwater! Oh, this one's 90s! Oh, this one has all of the heroes in it! Oh, this one has all of the heroes fighting each other! - but after more than a decade of these things, it's hard not to see the template showing through.
And while "superhero fatigue" isn't a recognised medical condition - yet - it's still prevalent enough among film goers for the term to have been coined in the first place. Still, these big, loud, flashy films make serious coin and are entertaining enough so fair play. The market wants what it wants.
But it does means that studios will soon stop taking gambles on big flashy movies that aren't superpowered because they just aren't making super amounts of money anymore. That's the business of creating art. Sir Pete, James Cameron and Luc Besson all had a crack recently and couldn't wobble, let alone topple, the superheroes.
Which is why I was so delighted by the answers Joker director Todd Phillips gave to the popular UK movie mag Empire in an interview earlier this week.
"We didn't follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about," he said. "We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That's what was interesting to me. We're not even doing Joker but the story of becoming Joker. It's about this man."
There's two takeaways here. The first is that Joker won't pander to loudmouth fans and their loudmouth expectations. Great!
In the genre's early days it made sense to court the diehards, but today there's no need. These are mainstream movies now and the quicker bleating YouTube "experts" realise that, get over it and stop flooding YouTube with their howls of manufactured outrage and their nitpicking nitwit takes the better.
Sure, I groaned when Joker was first announced as an origin film. But that's because we've all seen, read or heard that story a gazillion times already. But as more details were revealed the more I found to like and now, with Phillips latest revelation that he didn't give a flying flip about any established character history, it's become my most anticipated "super" film of the year. October can't come quick enough.
He's said he was inspired by the hard-edged 70s cinema characterised by Scorsese's early work, and it sure sounds like he's attempting to make the Taxi Driver of superhero flicks.
A worthy goal. I sincerely hope he gets close enough to shoot for glory. Because the other thing his answer to Empire revealed was that to make those sorts of movies again, and have them be financially viable, you're gonna need to stuff some superheroes in there somewhere. Even if they're a villain.
Because even with all his post-Hangover Trilogy directing clout Phillips was still only able to rustle up US$55 million to make his throwback psychological thriller about a disturbed dude growing into doing disturbing things.
That sounds a lot but it's a fraction of what these things usually cost. The same studio shelled out an estimated $160-200m for the recent Aquaman which was way less interesting than Joker sounds. I guess an army of CGI sharks don't come cheap.
But would Phillips even been able to even lock in $50m without the Joker brand behind it? And, bigger question, would anyone have gone to see it?