Joker attracted a huge audience in its opening weekend grossing around $96 million in its domestic launch and $247 million worldwide. The Joaquin Phoenix starrer broke the records of Justice League ($93.8 million in 2017), with a bigger weekend opening, something that Todd Philipps might be proud of. The Justice League was a large scale film, with a budget of around $300 million and multiple superheroes. However, the Joker was an R-rated film with a $60 million budget, made on this generation’s most popular comic book villain.
The Justice League was a movie made with the intention to make sequels and spin-offs, which would make it into an unforgettable saga. However, Joker allegedly will have no sequels. Warner Bros. had to go through a hassle for making the Justice League more publically appealing, funnier, peppier and not dark as the Batman vs Superman movie. However, now the irony with Joker is even more worrisome, as some may suggest.
Joker was a risk for everyone. Considering that the portrayal of the most popular fictional villain of modern times was being done, things had to be on point. Also, the biggest risk was acting as a glorified pilot for a franchise which will never be. However, for all we know, the fact could be that Todd Philipps and his crew are just running away from the idea of disclosing any plans for the future and taking this as a one-time affair. Maybe he may appear on a Robert Pattinson starrer Batman. It could also be that Joker was a perfect reboot for a supervillain pilot, where the director makes you wait for the real evil to come out and when it comes out the movie ends with a lingering hope of a sequel.
There are always two types of films. In the first kind you have an original story which revolves around the protagonist offering a full-fledged origin story, with the key protagonist doing his thing which the audience came to see. In the second type, the story takes time and builds up gradually, ending with a promise of a sequel in the near future. Sometimes there are hybrids, but it mostly depends on the creators and the production team.
The whole scenario brings us to Joker as a movie and despite the criticism of it not taking the conventional comic-book-way of the supervillain’s portrayal, the film stands its own ground creating a different origin story formula.
The movie is set in the 1980s period where a mentally ill, socially awkward weirdo named Arthur Fleck basically fights for his existence in his dark cruel world. He brings a series of misfortunes on his way and opens up interesting mysteries as he fails to deal with them, before actually going all out. However, he takes the all-out Joker avatar only for the last 20 mins of the movie, leaving the audience wanting for more. The movie has an uncanny resemblance to the 2015 Fantastic Four, where the heroes get to their “hero-stuff” late in the movie, as they have a brief fight with Doctor Doom. These type of films turn out to be great franchise starters for the sequels ahead.
The first instance which pushed him to the edge of sanity was when he used the gun which he received from a co-worker on the three trespassers at the train, who bullied him for his unnatural laughing condition. It can also be called self-defence by some, but that was when Arthur Fleck was lost and the “Joker” was born.
The second instance was when the cost-cutting in the city saw him cut off of the mental treatment medication which also saw him find out deeper and darker secrets about his heritage. It made him weak and gave a good push to take the avatar of Joker. However, still, Phoenix does not go full Joker with his green hair purple suit and face paint. In the 122-minute long movie, there is only one scene which was seen as Arthur Fleck turning into Joker when he sets the people of Gotham city to riot by his murderous acts. He turned into that menace only late in the movie with the clown prince of chaos and violence taking charge. However, if you came to watch Joker be Joker then you don’t get much of that to be very honest.
It is a movie that ended on a cliffhanger with fans wanting more out of it. But Warner Bros. have thus far made no promises of coming out with a sequel of this movie which means that it leaves us with a possibility of the cliffhanger to remain unsolved forever. It would be Warner Bros. one of the most successful one and done movies entering the list of Ready Player One, Crazy Rich Asians and The Meg, A Star is born.
Joker is more like a feature film and a Martin Scorcese character study. It also seems similar to Logan despite not going by the conventional comic-book storyline or portrayal. It also plays like an origin story or a franchise starter where the protagonist ends where the audience wants them to be. However, the fans finally got a Joker which they absolutely loved but it will be pretty sad if they blew away the idea of starting a franchise or coming out with a sequel at least one!