Joker 2 gets its first trailer — and my opinion on this sequel just flipped

 Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker in Joker: Folie à Deux .
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker in Joker: Folie à Deux .
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“Joker” really didn’t need a sequel. But this is Hollywood we’re talking about and when a movie makes more than a billion dollars at the global box office, a follow-up is just a matter of time. Unsurprisingly, “Joker 2”, officially called “Joker: Folie à Deux”, was soon greenlit, and it's set to arrive later this year.

Before this week, my anticipation levels for this sequel to the controversial 2019 comic book movie were muted at best, but after getting our first look at “Joker 2” (I’m sticking with “Joker 2” for the sake of brevity) via a new teaser trailer, I’m starting to feel a little bit optimistic.

Much like the recent first trailer for “Alien: Romulus”, the teaser for “Joker 2” smartly reveals very little about the movie. In fact, Arthur Fleck aka the Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) utters only a single line of dialogue in the entire 2-and-a-half-minute trailer. The majority of words we hear come from a sinister voice off-screen, as well as newcomer Harleen Quinzel (Lady Gaga).

While the teaser trailer is extremely light on plot details, it functions as an incredibly effective mood-setter, showing Fleck and Quinzel meeting at the Arkham State Hospital, and also hinting at the movie’s musical element. Yup, if you didn’t know, “Joker 2” is reportedly a musical and will include up to 15 songs, the majority of which will be covers of classics.

“Joker: Folie à Deux” is set to arrive exclusively in theaters on October 4, and if this teaser trailer is any indication, it could be set to make a similarly sizable splash as its predecessor. This will certainly be music to the ears of Warner Bros. excecs as the budget has ballooned from the sub-$100 million spend of the first “Joker” to a rumored figure north of $200 million.

Joker 2 may not be so unnecessary after all

I’m not fully on board with “Joker 2” quite yet — I doubt my opinion that it’s a highly unnecessary sequel will do a full 360 until I’ve had the chance to see the movie — but consider me in the cautiously optimistic camp after watching this trailer a couple of times.

The final shot of the “Joker 2” trailer involving a lipstick smile doodled on a glass panel is pure genius.

I am intrigued by the reveal that Harleen Quinzel (more commonly known as Harley Quinn) will be a fellow inmate in Arkham Asylum alongside the Joker. Harley’s classic origin story has her as a psychologist assigned to rehabilitate the Joker, only to be corrupted by his influence and fall madly in love with the Prince Clown of Crime.

However, it appears “Joker 2” will abandon this well-told tale in favor of a different approach to the beloved character. That's a bold move. Plus, with the uber-talented Gaga in the role, I’m expecting some at least one belting musical number for Harley!

The trailer also hints at some very impressive filmmaking from director Todd Phillips. I’m a sucker for a creative shot — it’s why Nicolas Winding Refn is among my favorite directors — and the final shot of the “Joker 2” trailer involving a lipstick smile doodled on a glass panel is pure genius.

Not to mention, this sequel seems to be leaning heavily on dream sequences, so I’m further intrigued to see what sort of creativity Philips will bring to the table with the more grounded restrictions of the first “Joker” movie considerably loosened.

“Joker 2” may not be a sequel we needed, but thanks to its first trailer it’s jumped up quite a few spots in my most-anticipated movies of 2024 ranking, and my initial skepticism is melting away. I eagerly await October to see how “Joker 2” shakes out.

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