The Hamilton Spectator

‘Joker 2’ trailer: Phoenix, Gaga lead twisted, musical fever dream


Warner Bros. on Tuesday debuted the first trailer for “Joker: Folie à Deux,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga.

The studio screened the preview during a presentati­on celebratin­g its upcoming slate of movies at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and released the footage online shortly thereafter.

The roughly two-minute teaser sees Phoenix’s Joker and Gaga’s Harley Quinn escape from a mental asylum and embark on an intense, twisted romance to the tune of Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”

“We use music to make us whole,” Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, also known as Joker, remarks in the trailer, “to balance the fractures within ourselves.”

“I’m nobody,” Gaga’s Harleen Francis Quinzel says. “I haven’t done anything with my life like you have.”

Unlike 2019’s “Joker” — a box-office smash that won two Oscars, including lead actor — the highly anticipate­d sequel to the Batman villain origin story has been billed as a musical. Though you wouldn’t necessaril­y conclude that from the trailer, which features no singing — continuing a recent trend in which entertainm­ent companies seem reluctant to market movie musicals as movie musicals (see also: “Wonka” and “Mean Girls”).

“Joker” and “Joker: Folie à Deux” director Todd Phillips described the upcoming film during the Warner Bros. presentati­on as “a movie where music is an essential element.”

“To me, that doesn’t really veer too far from the first film,” Phillips said.

“Arthur’s weird and aloof and distant ... but he has a music and he has a grace to him. And quite frankly, that informed a lot of the dancing in the first film.”

Phillips also thanked theatre owners during the event for not wavering from screening “Joker” in 2019 despite “these bizarre warnings” about the comic book adaptation potentiall­y inspiring real-life violence at the time.

“It was amazing that the exhibitors didn’t budge, and they didn’t flinch,” Phillips said. “The movie came out and did huge business, and that attitude was a huge reason for our massive success . ... It’s a little late now, but thank you.”

Other Warner Bros. titles teased during Tuesday’s presentati­on included “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “Mickey 17” and “Beetlejuic­e Beetlejuic­e.” The next “Joker” film opens in theatres Oct. 4.

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