There was a time when the news that Robert De Niro and Alec Baldwin were starring in a movie and you could bank on it being good. However, a whole bunch of bad comedies later and neither actor inspires much confidence in terms of a film’s quality these days. That’s not stopping the upcoming Joker standalone origin film starring Joaquin Phoenix from attempting to make magic with them once more.
Monday, it was announced that Baldwin would be joining the film’s loaded cast in a small role. That didn’t seem out of the ordinary as Baldwin has become something of a reliable character actor. What was surprising, however, was the role he would be playing.
Baldwin has been tapped for the role of Thomas Wayne, who in Batman lore is the father of Bruce Wayne, the future caped crusader.
Interesting. Considering Thomas Wayne is always presented as a contemplative and somewhat stoic man, it’s interesting casting since…wait a minute…
But this being a movie project that will veer off-center from the traditional Batman canon, sources say the script paints Thomas Wayne as a cheesy and tanned businessman who is more in the mold of a 1980s Donald Trump.
Oh. Huh. Okay.
That’s quite the creative choice they’re going for there. Number one, Baldwin is basically best-known for playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live at this point, so to have him step into a role that’s quasi-Trump when he’s already the guy we think of when we think of someone playing Trump seems like it’s not well thought out.
Also, does it make sense to posit Batman’s dad as a character we will ostensibly root against? You’re making a Joker movie so it stands to reason that you’re going to want to make him sympathetic to a point, but by creating a world in which Batman’s dad is an unlikable a-hole kinda undercuts the entire point of Batman.
Third, the movie is shooting this fall but probably won’t be released in theaters for another two years. A lot of people are already hoping Donald Trump goes away now. What makes them think we’ll want to watch a movie with a Trump-like character in 2020. Besides, what will Donald Trump even be doing in 2020? There’s room for the art of our era to explore ideas about him as a character but to basically present a character that we all know is him is more on the nose than Jared Leto’s Joker tattoos.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the director of The Hangover will find a way to make sense of an unnecessary origin story for a character who works best when we don’t know his origin story, coupled with a cast full of people meant to either remind us of better movies and/or a person we really don’t want to think about while also breaking with canon in a way that negates the fundamental nature of the main character in this universe.
That could work. Right?