Ridley Scott has a lot to say about superhero movies and none of it will impress fans of the genre. Some comic book-inspired movies, on the other hand, the director can tolerate. Namely, the Gladiator helmer recently praised Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Todd Phillips' Joker, a role the actor earned a Best Actor Oscar for.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Scott compared Phoenix's roles on Gladiator and Joker, saying the actor's performance was "Shakespearean."
"He is elegant enough to contain his rage and say, what older, wiser man can do this instead of me? So, it's almost Shakespearean, and I think, you know, Joaquin can do anything," the filmmaker told the trade. "So, when he then does something like Joker, there are moments in the Joker that I've never seen before. There are reactions in the Joker which are silly. You can't just say they're not evil. They're coming from a damaged soul. And that's what I'm looking for: What will Joaquin's version of Napoleon be? He will be the painter of his own portrait, and I'll be there to monitor it as best I can because that's what I do."
Scott and Phoenix will soon begin work on Kitbag, a new period piece in which the latter plays Napoleon. It's in this same interview Scott derided superhero cinema, saying the features are often "f-cking boring as sh-t."
"Their scripts are not any f-cking good," Scott recently told Deadline over Zoom. "I think I've done three great scripted superhero movies. One would be Alien with Sigourney Weaver. One would be f-cking Gladiator, and one would be Harrison Ford's [Blade Runner.] They're superhero movies."
He added, "So, why don't the superhero movies have better stories? Sorry. I got off the rail, but I mean, c'mon. They're mostly saved by special effects, and that's becoming boring for everyone who works with special effects, if you've got the money."
Joker is now streaming on HBO Max.