The first Joker movie surpassed all expectations. Not only did it prove that a dark and gritty retelling of the Batman universe could work, but it also became the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever. As a result, the studios started clamoring for more. More Joker. More Batman. More R-rating.
While the studios were busy trying to cash in on the first Joker’s massive success, the fans had more important things to worry about. More importantly, they were freaking out because they wanted more. More Joker. More Batman. More R-rating.
And that’s what made Joker 2 so special. Not only did it give us more Joker, more Batman and more R-rating, but it also gave us more character development.
In this article, we’ll go over five ways that Joker 2 improves upon its blockbuster predecessor.
If you’re a fan of the first Joker, you’ll probably appreciate the action-adventure sections of Joker 2. On the surface, Joker 2 appears to be a standard thriller, but it incorporates all of the quirks that made the first Joker so special. From the very first scene, we’re treated to an action-packed sequence that starts out slow but gradually builds to a frenzy. It doesn’t hurt that the graphics are some of the best that the series has seen, either. The sheer volume of action is such that it almost feels like a different movie. It never gets bogged down by continuous action scenes either, which allowed the writers to change up the pace whenever they wish. For those who need their fix of constant action, they can always check out another movie, but for those who want to read a well-written story, they’ll have to wait until next year.
One of the first things that stood out about the first Joker was its tone. Despite being billed as a “comedy”, it was actually an extremely dark and disturbing story about a mentally-ill man who dresses up like a clown and goes around murdering people. While it’s important to keep the violence and humor separate, it’s almost impossible to do so in practice. Especially since the only way that the Joker can get a reaction out of anyone is by being outrageous and abusive. In some cases, it even gets a little bit bloody. For fans of the first film, this will be a welcome return to form, but it may also turn off those who weren’t already turned off by the dark tone of the first film. Nevertheless, as a whole, the movie feels like it belongs in the same universe as the Dark Knight.
A big reason why the first Joker was so special is because it featured some of the most memorable and iconic characters in comics history. As a result, fans were able to feel like they were watching an extended scene from one of the comics. Joker 2 continues this trend by giving us more memorable characters that continue to pop up in subsequent films. Chief among them is Harley Quinn, the Joker’s former henchwoman who is now married to him and starts a rivalry with the Gotham City police force. We also get to see the early development of the Joker’s gang of “little animals”, who are actually called “Pigs” in the script. Aside from Harley Quinn and the Joker’s animalistic henchmen, we also get to meet Oswald Cobblepot, the man behind the infamous Penguin outfit. While these characters may not be unfamiliar to fans of the source material, their presence in a big-budget Hollywood production gives them a whole new level of pop culture recognition.
The plot of Joker 2 is pretty self-explanatory. It follows the typical structure of a traditional story arc; we have the inciting incident (the Joker murders a mob boss), we have a set-up where the protagonist (Harley Quinn) attempts to foil the Joker’s scheme, we’ve got a struggle, we’ve got a climax and we’ve got the denouement (where the antagonist gets what they deserve). While the plot is fairly standard, the twist is that the Joker is not some evil genius who wants to take over the world. Instead, he feels trapped in a prison that he never asked to be placed in, so he decides to do whatever it takes to get out. This results in him going on a rampage that forces Harley’s hand in killing him. It might not seem like an original plot line, but it’s one that has never been told in the medium. It feels like a natural conclusion to the character’s story, which makes it all the more satisfying when Harley finally stabs the Joker in the back.
Another area where Joker 2 improves upon the first film is in terms of setting and atmosphere. For starters, we’re no longer in a Gotham City that feels like it was lifted out of a comic book. Instead, we’re placed in a version of Gotham City that feels like it could have come straight out of a video game. And it’s not just the architecture either. The lighting effects, the overall feel and the soundtrack all contribute to creating an atmosphere that matches that of a late-era console. What’s more is that everything except for the occasional “beef” pie seems to be available in the stores, which leads to a convenience store/gas station hybrid that is the source of much giggle-worthy dialogue. The only downside is that, in the process of making this new and improved Gotham City look like it comes straight out of a video game, the filmmakers had to forgo any sort of scientific accuracy. For example, the cars that drive on screen are actually a blend of real cars and in-game vehicles. The same goes for some of the firearms; they are a hybrid of real guns and in-game weapons. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of those instances where the filmmakers had to make a creative choice in order to keep the story moving along.
The final major way that Joker 2 improves upon its predecessor is in terms of scaring the audience. In addition to the usual jump scares and ominous music, the film also uses some extremely effective sound effects to get the point across. For example, when the Joker is dropping off his bombs, which are disguised as candy, he leaves a briefcase full of noise-makers, which could potentially scare the crap out of anyone that isn’t wearing earrings. These sound effects work in tandem with some of the more gruesome images that the film contains to create a level of tension that is rarely encountered in other movies. This is made even more effective by the fact that a lot of the film’s scares are genuinely unexpected, which makes it that little bit more exciting. It’s also worth noting that while some of the scenes in Joker 2 may not be for the faint-hearted, they are used for effect and never actually harm the characters in any way. The film was definitely not made with children in mind.
Overall, Joker 2 improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way. Whereas the first film was an ensemble piece that focused on a variety of characters, the sequel is more focused on the Joker’s exploits and the resulting mayhem that he causes. These factors, along with the sheer volume of action, should make it clear that Joker 2 is the worthy successor to the first film. And as a result, it should easily live up to—if not surpass—all expectations.