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“Joker 2” Trailer- Review and Expectations

We finally have our first trailer for Joker: Folie a Deux, the sequel to the smash hit Joker from 2019.

Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in the first trailer for "Joker: Folie A Deux"
Credit: Warner Bros.

Well, well, well. After nearly five years, the trailer premiered at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 9th, releasing online simultaneously. Well, first, we were given a brief teaser for the trailer earlier in the day. Joaquin Phoenix was standing in the rain, letting us know that the trailer was on its way. A bit pointless, but I digress.

Joaquin Phoenix in the trailer for "Joker: Folie A Deux."
Joaquin Phoenix in the trailer for “Joker: Folie A Deux.” Credit: Warner Bros.

How Does The Trailer Look?

Can you tell that I’m stalling? Okay, fine, we can talk about the trailer. It sucked. I am not happy with it at all, and this is from someone who really enjoyed the first film. Yes, the story is flawed, and it blatantly rips off better films, most notably those of Martin Scorsese, but on a technical level, the original Joker film does nearly everything right: Phoenix gives a fantastic lead performance, it looks great visually, and the music is haunting. The things I like about Joker are that it is surface-level and not story-driven.

So far, it seems like this sequel is heading down the exact same path. And when I saw “exact,” I mean that tragically literal. 

From a technical standpoint, it still looks fantastic. I love this dirty, grimy look that Gotham City has been given in this universe. No complaints there. Where I do take issue, and where I have concerns about the film, is that this trailer essentially recreates all of the iconic moments from the first film. Like, every scene you remember from the first Joker is here. For example, the memed-to-death staircase dance is mimicked here, but this time throws Lady Gaga into the mix.

Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn in "Joker: Folie A Deux."
Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn in “Joker: Folie A Deux.” Credit: Warner Bros.

I’m Not Gaga for Gaga

And now, it’s time for me to make people angry. I do not think Lady Gaga is that strong of an actor. I really have not liked her in anything she has acted in, not even A Star Is Born. As a result, pairing her up against an Academy Award winner like Phoenix – in the role he won for, no less – could end up reflecting pretty badly on her. On the other hand, this may be a great opportunity for her to prove herself. Even then, though, she faces an uphill battle.

In Joker 2, Gaga plays Harley Quinn, the Joker’s crazy therapist turned girlfriend. In this version, it looks like the character has been flipped a bit, as Harley seems to already be locked up in the asylum with the Joker.

The most iconic live-action version of this character is the one played by Margot Robbie over the last decade, a performance that has become so synonymous with the character that it will be incredibly difficult to supersede it. Phoenix faced a similar issue; his performance was compared to Heath Ledger’s in The Dark Knight. The key difference is that Ledger played the Joker eleven years earlier, and the then-current Clown Prince of Crime was Jared Leto, a widely despised rendition of the iconic jester. Unfortunately, he had an easier job improving the latest version of the character. Gaga is up against stiff competition, to say the least.

How Will The Sequel Be Different?

These films are directed by Todd Phillips, and this blatant repetition we see in this trailer is something he’s done before with his previous film series, The Hangover. What I mean is that The Hangover Part 2 is essentially the exact same thing as the first one and that once again seems to be the case with this new film.

The sequel seems to start right where the original film ends – with Arthur Fleck (played by Phoenix) locked up, laughing to himself. We then hear a line – “we use music to make us whole.” And with that, let’s get to the big thing surrounding this movie…

This sequel does have one thing to differentiate it from the first Joker. If you haven’t heard, Joker: Folie a Deux is a full-on musical. This comes as a complete departure from the first film, but there isn’t much reason to be concerned, in my opinion; not only is Gaga obviously huge as a musician, but we have heard Phoenix sing as country singer Johnny Cash in the film Walk The Line. Both of them are able to carry a tune on screen, so I don’t have any qualms about this. Now, how exactly these are implemented into the film remains to be seen, of course, but this is more reason to be excited than anything else.

In keeping with the musical theme, we see a wide variety of cinematic musicals referenced in this trailer. For example, there’s an homage to the 1960s classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. There’s a nod to the more contemporary La La Land. We also have a few shots of the Joker pensively holding a microphone, staring off into the middle distance… it seems very tongue in cheek, but the film will need to thread a very narrow path between parody/homage and outright copying… something the first film mostly failed at. 

We also got a glimpse of Steve Coogan’s yet-unknown role in the film. The Tropic Thunder actor joins a steadily growing list of actors in the film, including Catherine Keener and Brendan Gleeson.

The Joker sits in spotlight in "Joker: Folie A Deux."
The Joker, preparing a musical number? Credit: Warner Bros.

Final Verdict?

Overall, while I wouldn’t say this is the greatest trailer in the world or anything, it definitely got me more interested in one of the year’s most anticipated blockbusters. It seems to be taking some pretty big swings for a major superhero blockbuster in 2024, for sure. Even if some (or all) of those big swings don’t pan out, it will at least be an interesting trainwreck.

Joker: Folie a Deux releases in theaters worldwide on October 4th, 2024. If you’d like to know the latest updates on the Joker’s main rival, Batman, you can read about his upcoming film here!

Written By

Danny Krastek is an award winning writer, director, on air DJ and film critic attending college at Montclair State University.

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