There’s been so many superhero projects, across the MCU and DCU in the last 15 years that they’ve experimented with different genres and forms – there’s thriller movies such as Captain America: Winter Soldier, historical war movies like Wonder Woman, and sitcoms like WandaVision.
Because the DCU has far less movies than the MCU, which now has over 50 titles across film and TV, they’ve been less experimental with genre. When watching all of the DC movies in order, you won’t find a huge amount of variation, but Matt Reeves’ The Batman attempted a noirish detective-type feel, and Todd Phillips’ Joker was considered a drama movie to the extent it was nominated for Best Picture.
One less successful medium for the superhero has been the stage musical – with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark from the early 2010s being a notorious disaster. Although, it looks as though Todd Phillips is ignoring this warning, because the Joker sequel Folie a Deux is going to be a musical starring Lady Gaga as one of the best DC characters, Harley Quinn.
But the superhero musical goes back a lot further than you might expect, as they’d previously tried to make a Superman one all the way back in the 1960s. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman was a 1966 Broadway flop, and like the more recent Spider-Man musical, cost an awful lot to produce. It seems as though some of these Broadway producers can rival some of the best DC villains for being rich, but not the sharpest tools in the box.
The Superman musical was adapted into a made-for-TV movie in 1975, but was changed fairly substantially from its stage version. It was shortened and the script was changed, and several of the songs were dropped. The remaining songs were updated to a 70s sound, which we’re guessing involved a lot of disco. Unsurprisingly, it was not well received.
Despite these failures, Joker 2 sounds as though it will be pretty cool, but it’s going to be hard to pull off. James Gunn is currently furiously hard at work on DCU Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, and on Superman Legacy – which we doubt will include song-and-dance numbers – but you never know. Check out our guide to the best musicals to see what the genre can offer.