Sometimes just a photo is enough to set the world on fire. In the case of Joker was the screenplay image for the sequel Joker: Folie à deux (working title), posted by Todd Phillips on his Instagram profile. As expected, the news split the audience in two. There are those who await the film with curiosity and confidence. Others are concerned (“it can never be better than the first”) And others embittered by the betrayal of what was to be a one-shot project outside the logic of the franchise.
An internal (and external) debate that involves everyone, even those who have not particularly loved the first chapter. It is worth dealing with it in order by putting everyone on the table the pros and cons to understand whether to turn Joker 2 whether or not it is a good idea.
Pro: pecunia non olet, and thank goodness!
Indeed, the starting question is wrongly posed. All movies are a good idea, they all have a reason to exist, to be shot and to be seen. And it is impossible to judge them even before their arrival on the big screen. But this, in addition to being a necessary premise, is also an obvious one.
Likewise, making a sequel to a film costing around 60 million that grossed more than a billion is a matter of course. And it is more than legitimate. Above all, however, this is what film studios do. They try to limit their losses and maximize their gains, that’s their nature. A sure shot like the sequel to a much-loved (and award-winning) film couldn’t stay in the clip. He had to be shot, sooner or later. So better sooner than laterit would have been worse in many years, just to gain on a bit of nostalgia by losing the creative “moment”.
Can Todd Phillips be trusted? Hopefully so, even if its trying to replicate Hangover with 2 it was not at all successful. But those were other times.
Cons: Either you die from arthouse, or you live long enough to become a sequel
It is also true that the entire press campaign of the previous one Joker it doesn’t help to perceive this sequel as a natural consequence. For months, Phoenix and Phillips bragged about how out of the system their work was. Even close to the exit, an interminable debate on the quality of cinecomics broke out, which bordered on their right to exist as an art cinema or as a simple attraction. Joker it was different, they said, Joker it was made around a self-contained idea and, we read between the lines, not to exploit the popularity of the character but to make great films!
Now, with the announcement of the sequel, the anarchist filmmakers have become everything they feared: part of the system. Is it bad? Of course not. Could they have saved so much controversy? Obviously yes.
Pros: There is still a lot to tell about Joker
Does an origin story without continuation make sense to exist? It is like the birth of a baby and its first day of life. Beautiful and magical, but there is much more ahead.
The ending is a cliffhanger. Its ambiguity does not leave the protagonist in the best possible position to continue the story. But it comes to an end after a crescendo that leaves a lot of imagination in suspense. His future can be anything: the escape from the psychiatric hospital, the revolution, the origin of Batman, the meeting with an aide.
There is so much to explore on Arthur Fleck’s after, but also on before. It would be inspiring to continue the character study with some flashbacks on his childhood.
Cons: It’s a bad idea to reveal whether Joker was all real or a construct of the mind
At the end of the film, it is revealed that he had to deal with an unreliable narrator. Did it all really happen or was it just in the insane criminal imagination? An ambiguity that has fueled analyzes and theories for many months.
A bit like the ending of Inception, giving a definitive answer to these questions is harmful as well as superfluous. In this case, a sequel that addresses and resolves the events of the finale risks greatly weakening the weight of the previous film.
Pro: if Joaquin is there, the script will be good
Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t like sequels. He does not want to sign contracts that imprison him on a character for a long time and reserves the right to choose from time to time the project to participate in. It is often mentioned that he was vying to play Doctor Strange and rejected it precisely for these reasons. But for Joker it’s different, he made an exception, so the script must be a bomb!
In reality, the comparison does not totally hold up. It is different to sign a binding contract for five films instead of participating in five films of the same franchise, choosing them from time to time … The fact remains that, given his power of choice, the presence of Phoenix is a proof that the actor believes very much in history and wants to put himself back in the antihero role.
Cons: all the surprise effect was lost
Joker it had come as something completely different. It started from two films by Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver And King for one nightmade a pop mashup with the crazy clown instead of Robert De Niro. The Batman he embroidered on the same concept, taking Seven as a reference.
Joker: Folie à deux will continue to pay homage to movie classics? It will not be easy to replace those two references with other equally valid ones and avoid the effect of an exercise in style. Do we then have to resign ourselves to seeing Arthur Fleck become a tormented hero to empathize with and cheer for? In the third act, everything worked together for us to cheer for Arthur, only to question the correctness of this empathic bond. But the story is more or less always the same: a society that oppresses, chaos, the madman unwittingly anarchist who frees the city by putting it on fire.
How much longer will it be possible to observe the character following this direction without making him a parody of himself? The only way is to radically change direction, but is that what they want to do?
Pro: the title is “Joker 2: shared psychotic disorder”
There Folie in Deux it is a shared psychotic disorder. A rare psychiatric syndrome in which a symptom of psychosis (often a delusional, paranoid belief) is passed from one individual to another. There are two ideas right from the subtitle.
The first is that the analysis of the psyche will continue, the descent into madness and the almost contagious diffusion of the most extreme ideas. The second is that, obviously, the Joker will not be alone. May it be Harley Quinn, Batmanor the crowd already following him, one would think that Todd Phillips will force his bulky character to share the scene with others. This can definitely change the dynamics to surprise again.
Cons: How many Batman and how many Jokers can we follow at the same time?
DC is full of charming characters and can handle a movie on their own. There are countless comic book masterpieces to draw inspiration from. The villains are also numerous and very rich, who should not be underestimated in their ability to pierce the screen as Joker. Just see the recent Riddler by Paul Dano.
So why keep throwing out new (and old) versions of the same characters? There’s a’inflation of Batman and Joker and, frankly, it is difficult to orient yourself if you want to follow the logic behind the many projects. Will Harley Quinn be in the movie? Probably not that of Margot Robbie. Will Batman be there? Probably not that of Ben Affleck nor of Robert Pattinson. Unless the script does not find a common thread and a logic to these interpretations of the characters that at the moment escapes.
In any case: would it make sense to unite worlds designed to be autonomous? And again: would it make sense to create the umpteenth alternative versions? More than the confusion this could generate, the risk is that they will all sabotage each other. It would be unfair for everyone to carry out multiple versions in parallel. Who would benefit from comparing Barry Keoghan or Jared Leto with Joaquin Phoenix (Oscar awarded). OR Michael Keaton (which will come back in Flash) with Robert Pattinson (or Ben Affleck which is still fresh in the imagination)?
So does Joker 2 have to do or not?
Having reached this point, conclusions must be drawn. That will not come. Joker: Folie a Deux it exists, it will arrive and it will be nice to judge it – perhaps seeing your fears overturned – when it arrives in the room. However, doubts remain, but there is also a way to dispel many of them. It’s a hypothesis that has come forward in some discussions on fan forums and which, while unlikely, is not a bad idea at all.
In the comics Joker does not have a clear origin, indeed it has a multiplicity and from here derives all its mysterious charm. Then the sequel to his first origin story could be … a second story of origins. This too unreliable. Even this told by a man with a broken mind. Maybe named Jack Napier.