If there is one person in the world who should know the risks that come with making a sequel to an incredibly successful film it’s Todd Phillips.
Let’s take a trip back in time to the summer of 2009 when a little movie known as The Hangover made its debut in theaters across the world. Remember? Of course you do, everybody saw it. The Hangover was the movie that shot Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis to the level of superstardom, further legitimized Todd Phillips’ blossoming directorial career, and had us all air drumming Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” Now I’ll bet the folks on the business side of the industry figured they’d make their money back. But there’s no way they could have anticipated exactly how much of a pop culture phenomenon The Hangover would become.
Phillips’ tale of a bachelor party gone either incredibly right or horribly wrong depending on your perspective, went on to to gross millions of dollars. And when a movie brings in an solid haul of cash, some studio executive greenlights a sequel so fast you’d think the Flash personally altered time to make it happen.
Which is what happened to The Hangover. But instead of getting one… we got two undeniably sub-par sequels. A pair of lesser installments that failed to capture the same critical acclaim their predecessor had captured. Now if you’re talking dollars, Warner Brothers swam in a sea of profits. These movies were sure shots for raking in bank. However, with later chapters of the trilogy’s repeated jokes and basically repeated everything, the inferiority cloud hanging over the Hangover 2 and 3 was a noticeable as Ed Helms’ Mike Tyson face tattoo.
Have you ever heard the expression “if you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it” or something like that? If Todd Phillips gives in to the demands of the industry by making a sequel to his now billion dollar grossing masterpiece Joker, he’ll be running the risk of tainting the legacy of DC’s best movie since The Dark Knight.
I’ll explain my stance by first stating Joker was the film nobody asked for, and now is in my opinion the front runner for Oscar glory this coming February. It is so different and original that I feel it’s going to be damn near impossible to recapture everything that made Joker so truly compelling.
I’ll guarantee Joaquin acts his ass off and Phillips works harder than he ever has on the Joker sequel, but they’re fighting a major uphill battle. How many times have we seen lightning strike twice in the entertainment industry? Granted it does happen but people who see a sequel and expect The Godfather Part 2 often end up with something more comparable to the second season of True Detective which is the exact opposite of what anyone wants. Which is why I feel the only way to appropriately bring closure to the character is to have the Arthur Fleck Joker meet the Robert Pattinson Batman.
It doesn’t have to happen right away. If Fleck is in Arkham State Hospital an escape can be perfectly engineered by the writers, and a plot can be set in motion. He doesn’t even have to be the main villain, just a strong supporting role that compliment either another nemesis of the Dark Knight or the societal state of Gotham City. This way audiences will get another shot of Joaquin in the make up (it will be more Ledgeresque this time) and Todd Phillips can ride off into the sunset as a director who changed the game for comic book movies, who legitimized the genre with a Best Picture Oscar (you bet it’s going to win), and who was smart enough not to fall into the same critical acclaim shit spiral as The Hangover franchise.
I do respect the business side of the industry and I’m sure the almighty dollar will win in the end but I hope Warner Brothers treats this movie like The Godfather: Part 2… a sequel that can win an Academy Award, that can wow even the most snobby of film assholes while bringing home serious movie money would deliver the ultimate blow to haters of anything coming from an illustrated origin.
Honestly I’ve never really pictured Joaquin Phoenix as a franchise guy. Not because he can’t carry one, Lord knows his reproductive organs have more talent in them than I do my entire 6’4’’ body. But because he thinks they’re one hundred percent selling out to the man or whatever teenage rebellion language you used to muster.
We’ll see what happens… though I hope the studio favors art over revenue. Damn that’s a good joke.
Remember kids… just say no to a Joker sequel. Let this film remain a genius example of how art can be so great it makes a billion dollars at the box office.
By Adam Chmielewski
Photo Credits- Warner Brothers
Do you think a Joker sequel is a good idea? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!!