Is Joker 2 Really Necessary?

Is Joker 2 Really Necessary?

Is Joker 2 Really Necessary?

In 2019, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix shocked the world when the origin story of Joker was finally released. The film was a critical and commercial success, garnering 11 Academy Award nominations (and winning two) and becoming the first R-rated movie to make over $1 billion at the box office. It wasn’t long until a sequel was announced, which was a surprise given that the Todd Phillips feature appeared to be a one-and-done film. However, never underestimate the power of money in Tinseltown as Joker was clearly a hot commodity and executives wanted to capitalize on that. The sequel is supposed to begin shooting in early 2023, though as of this writing, a draft of the screenplay has yet to be turned in, which could end up causing some delays in shooting. Still, is a sequel to the critically lauded film even necessary, to begin with?

Joker is a tricky property. The reason that the first film did so well was that it was an origin story. In fact, it was a well told origin story that highlighted mental health issues and the way the world reacts to them. Joker is by no means the greatest comic book movie ever made, but it’s without a doubt a good film and Joaquin Phoenix deserved his Best Actor Oscar. The ending did open up several possibilities that could be explored in a sequel: Gotham is in chaos and Joker is in Arkham Asylum. Now, the sequel can go into greater depths of Gotham itself, namely the infamous institution known to hold Gotham’s “finest” inside.  The first film dug deep into Joker’s mental illness, and perhaps the sequel can explore how the asylum actually makes him worse or better. It should be interesting if Harley Quinn is brought into the mix. It’s highly doubtful that Margot Robbie will come back to this version because this Joker universe isn’t tied to the entire DCEU. However, that’s the key thing with a Joker sequel, where is it going in the end? The possibility of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker clashing with Robert Pattinson’s Batman is slim to none as Barry Keoghan has pretty much been confirmed as the next Joker in that franchise. Could Arthur Fleck be the father of Barry Keoghan’s latest incarnation of the character? Maybe, but there was no indication that there were any connections between Joker and The Batman.

So, if the goal isn’t for Arthur Fleck to eventually clash against Batman, what’s the purpose of another sequel? Other than money of course. The origin story of Joker was pretty clear. Sure, Gotham was in pure chaos when the film was going off, but the importance was to showcase one of the top villains of this universe and how he became the man that he is. Joker perfectly showcased that. Diving into Arkham Asylum more would be great, but HBO Max just greenlit a series that will focus on the popular mental institution, so it feels that it would be a waste of time by showcasing two different stories (with very similar tones). This isn’t to say that Joker won’t turn out to be an excellent sequel. It could actually become one of the best sequels of all time! There’s so much rich material with the character and world itself that it wouldn’t be surprising if another strong film was made, but the overall direction just seems meaningless if the ultimate payoff isn’t Joker vs. Batman. Todd Phillips Joker would’ve been the perfect foil for Ben Affleck’s Batman. It’s a shame that his final appearance is being wasted in the upcoming Flash movie. DC is already walking a fine line by plastering the villain nearly every chance they get. Having two different Jokers in a separate universe just seems like overkill at this point. Personally speaking, DC would be wise by scrapping the Joker sequel if the end goal doesn’t lead to a Batman confrontation. Joker doesn’t particularly need the masked crusader to carry his own film, but these two rivalries should come to a clash at some point.

Sure, it could be fun watching Joker rule the city of Gotham for a little while. And with Warner Brothers making it clear that they’re not focused on making a shared universe, they could easily get away with bringing in a new Batman for the Joker sequels. It just feels like too much of a good thing. Audiences will get tired of Joker eventually. DC has such a rich catalog of villains that it would be great if they started to branch outside of the usual suspects. Either way, Joker 2 is being made, and since there doesn’t appear to be any connection with Matt Reeves’s universe, it just feels meaningless ultimately.

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