A character study of the highest caliber, Todd Phillips's relentlessly intense Joker has elicited strong responses from both fans and critics. Some have lauded the film, voicing their approval of Joaquin Phoenix in the title role and praising Phillips' sure-handed direction. Others have condemned the film, noting that its depiction of mental illness may prove dangerous in today's sociopolitical climate. Both sides have points, and both sides are going to make the movie obscene amounts of money. If anything, such controversy makes the film an even more attractive option for a planned movie night. Even Scott Snyder, one of the greatest comic writers around, recognized that playing it safe would be a bad idea.
Joker's pre-release success begs the question: Has there been talk of a sequel? Is a sequel something the studio wants? According to Phillips himself, ideas have been thrown around. But that doesn't mean such a movie is happening. Here's what he said during an interview with Reelblend co-host Jake Hamilton:
Well, I don’t think we’re gonna make a second one. That’s just not in our plans. But for fun, have me and Joaquin bounced around ideas? We were doing it when we were shooting, because that’s what you do sometimes.
There you have it, folks. It's likely that the two would be working on a scene together, and one would say something like, “Hey, what if he eventually...” That was probably the extent of the discussion, and it should have been. Everything we have seen, heard and read about Todd Phillips' new film indicates that this is a story told best in one chapter.
A sequel runs the risk of belaboring any point the film might attempt to make, and both Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix recognize the dangers that accompany that risk. Those two are smart dudes. However, this won't stop diehards from thinking wishfully and possibly putting forth petitions (half-kidding). It's great to be passionate, and it's even better to be passionate and understanding toward a creator's vision.
Knowing when to leave a property alone is a valuable lesson many studios, directors and other types of creators haven't learned. Also, The Joker is a scary guy to play, and not just because he's The Joker. Heath Ledger's jaw-dropping performance was also incredibly intimidating, and Phoenix wanted to get the character right so badly.
Joker stars Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy and a number of other immensely talented performers. Todd Phillips and Scott Silver serve as co-writers on the film. So yeah, there is solid talent involved.