Since then we've been treated to the very best and very worst that comic books have to offer. But is it right to group them all under one umbrella? Or is the only common denominator that they, you know, feature superheroes? Warner Bros. Director Todd Phillips wanted to create a character study, and said that the movie wouldn't "follow anything from the comic books". "That's what was interesting to me," he added. "We're not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker." Okay so Joker isn't really a superhero movie, but the only reason Joker was made at all is because of the character's prevalence in the DC Comics universe. And comic book movies weren't always the safe bet they are today, let alone the kind of material that could spawn spin-offs and character studies. Steve WilkieWarner Bros. Director Kevin Smith himself highlighted the deep irony, perhaps unintentionally, in Joker wanting to distance itself so desperately from the DC Comics-inspired movies. Praising Phillips' efforts in a Tweet, he wrote: "WOW! Looks like the Joker movie would still work even if DC Comics didn’t exist (aside from the Joker coming from there)." So, should a movie like Joker fall under the same genre umbrella as, say, Thor: Ragnarok? On the face of it, the two movies couldn't be more different. Thor: Ragnarok is humorous in tone, takes place in outer space, is bold and bright in colour, and features a buff Chris Hemsworth with a giant magic hammer. Marvel Studios Joker isn't the only film striving not to be painted with the same superhero brush. The upcoming Birds of Prey will reportedly be "something really fun and a bit wild and totally unique". (So said co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead.) "Every day we were there, we were doing something that just felt really weird and funny and unlike anything else I've seen before in this genre," she added. Which genre is that? Is it unlike Captain Marvel or unlike Shazam!? Or is it unlike other movies that feature groups of women in their leads – Hustlers or Ocean's 8 or Bridesmaids? Universal To shoehorn any movie featuring a comics-based character into the same genre is reductive. It flattens the things that make these movies either amazing and terrible, and erases that which makes them distinctive. Just like comic books, superhero movies have long since expanded beyond the clichés and deserve to be appreciated on their own merits. Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on ourDigital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter accounts.