If JOKER was the same film but wasn’t about, well, The Joker and didn’t include the Batman/DC Comics riffs, the idea of a sequel wouldn’t even be a discussion. Only because it is a “comic book movie” is why this is a “thing.”
Let me cut to the chase and answer the question asked in the headline: No.
No, NO, NO!
Fans have been debating this topic since well before JOKER hit theaters on October 4, 2019.
The biggest arguments in favor of a follow-up to the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film are that Warner Bros. won’t be able to help themselves if the movie is a big hit, and secondly, it is just how things are done when it comes to “comic book movies.”
First of all, JOKER isn’t your stereotypical comic book movie that was meant to start a franchise and spawn sequels. Secondly, some films simply do not need a sequel.
Just because they were big hits, we didn’t need or get — I don’t know — FOREST GUMP 2, MORE GOODFELLAS, or E.T. RETURNS (I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point).
The same goes for director Todd Phillips’ JOKER.
Frankly, what would they do with Arthur Fleck in a follow-up movie? Make him a bank robber, some sort of criminal mastermind, or a serial killer? I don’t see any of those, ahem, “career choices” in the cards for Mr. Fleck.
Ultimately, JOKER being what it is, it simply doesn’t make any sense to produce a sequel other than a cash grab by the studio. And frankly, I don’t want a sequel to undo anything we saw — or think we saw — in JOKER. It’s a film that is so ambiguous that it has folks discussing what “really happened” in the movie and that debate is likely to continue for years to come. And THAT is the beauty and genius of the film: Let people guessing what really happened guess forever.
For example, it is my interpretation that a lot of the events that took place in JOKER were delusional fantasies caused by Arthur’s mental illness and being shunned by society (I won’t reveal what I think is fantasy and reality as I’m saving that for our upcoming BOF Vlog). So I don’t need a sequel to jack with how I or anyone else views this movie.
Think about it, OK? You all have your take on what happened in this movie, right? So why would you want that retroactively altered via a sequel? Would Todd Phillips and company give us another ambiguous film focusing on what is or isn’t inside the head of Arthur Fleck? I don’t think a JOKER redux in the form of THE SECRET LIFE OF ARTHUR FLECK with more Walter Mitty-like adventures would be interesting either.
Moving on to the second question found in the subtitle, the answer to that is also a resounding NO!
For one thing, it just ain’t gonna happen. Don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll believe JOKER director Todd Phillips who told VARIETY, “No, definitely not,” when asked if his Joker (played of course by Joaquin Phoenix) would eventually meet up with Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Speaking of Robert Pattinson’s Batman, I’m pretty sure the director of that film (THE BATMAN), Matt Reeves would give the same answer as Phillips if asked that question.
I don’t have to go on a long diatribe to explain why this shouldn’t — and definitely will not — happen. Matt Reeves is creating his own Batman world and all that entails.
His Gotham City will look like he wants it to look and not adhere to the aesthetic Gotham created by Todd Phillips.
The history and background of his Bruce Wayne will be what he wants it to be and not that of the 10-year old-ish Bruce Wayne we met in JOKER.
And most importantly, if and when Reeves uses the character of The Joker in one of his Batman films, it should be HIS version of the character and not another Joker on film, be it Joaquin Phoenix or even Jared Leto.
As previously stated, JOKER is not your stereotypical comic book movie. It wasn’t treated as one when conceived and it shouldn’t be turned into one now with shared universes (No, it DOESN’T have to connect) and/or sequels in the name of money.
What it is folks, is a masterpiece and the performance Joaquin Phoenix as “The Joker” was beyond brilliant.
Let ’em be. – Bill “Jett” Ramey
RELATED: A BOF Film Review: JOKER by Bill “Jett” Ramey