Martin Scorsese Explained Why He Abandoned Joker


The world has had a very difficult time digesting Martin Scorsese’s perspective on superhero movies. While he never said anything especially damning about the form, he did dare to suggest that these unapologetically profit-obsessed corporate products are escapist entertainment, not art. Some have attempted to call Scorsese out by drawing attention to his short-lived involvement in Joker—and he recently offered an intriguing response.

“I thought about it a lot over the past four years, Joker, and I decided I did not have the time for it,” he told BBC. “Anyway, personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and incredible Joaquin and all that, so you have remarkable work. But for me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step, which is this character developing into a comic book character. You follow? He develops into an abstraction. That doesn’t mean it’s bad art. It could be, but it’s not for me.”

In spite of this comic book element, Scorsese believes there’s a difference between Joker and other superhero films. “It’s very different,” he argued. “Superhero films, as I said, are like another art form. They’re not easy to make. There are a lot of very talented people doing good work and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them, but I do think it’s more of an extension of the amusement park. I saw this happening in the early ’70s in Hollywood where heads of studios were talking about really wanting to have, in the industry, a Disney World, basically… they’ve always been aiming in that direction.”

The Scorsese-influenced (but Scorsese-less) Joker is in theatres now. Check out the trailer below.