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Joker 2: Did WB Allegedly Make Lady Gaga the Lead Instead of Joaquin Phoenix Because 1st Movie Was Criticized for Romanticizing Violence Against Women?

lady gaga joker

To say that recent announcements and rumors surrounding Joker 2 have reaped mixed feelings from the fans of the first film would be an understatement. When it was revealed that the storytelling mechanism for Folie à Deux would follow the pattern of a musical film, some fans were quite intrigued, others a little mortified. The casting choice of having Lady Gaga play the uber-iconic Harley Quinn was another shocker.

Does Joker 2 plan to fix the mistakes of first film
Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in Joker (2019)

Read also: ‘Joker 2 isn’t so much a Joker movie’: Insiders Claim Joker: Folie à Deux Will Be From Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn’s Perspective (And That’s Why It’s a Musical)

However, what has taken fans aback completely is the latest string of speculations where insiders detailed that Gaga’s character will be the lead protagonist in the Todd Phillips-directed premise. The film will supposedly encompass the perceptions of Harley Quinn surrounding the relationship she is set to share with Arthur Fleck/Joker.

Now whether or not the reports are true, it certainly does beg a question — is Joker 2 intending to make up for the criticisms that the first film faced?

The Criticisms Directed At Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker
Joker (2019)

Upon the release of the first film, critics were quick to point out flaws in many aspects of the Joaquin Phoenix-starrer, ranging from minor complaints to proper, mass disapproval. One complaint was the alleged romanticism of mental illnesses within the premise, which several critical reviewers claimed: “perpetuates harmful stereotypes.” Secondly, as is the case with any film that delves into the genre of extreme brutality, several noted that the endeavor was tinged with a glorifying sense of violence.

However, Joker was admonished for a particularly controversial aspect that many fans of the story have debunked and argued against. It concerns the treatment of the women in the film. Often a subject to Arthur’s obsessions or cruelty, the female characters in the film – mainly in the form of Penny Fleck and Sophie Dumond – are said to have been an accessorized inclusion, merely present as plot devices.

Sophie Dumond
Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond

Read also: Get Out Star Catherine Keener Joins Joker 2 Alongside Lady Gaga and Brendan Gleason

The plotline following Arthur’s fantasized scenarios and delusions for Sophie made many ascertain a theme of alleged objectification.

As we all are aware by now, Joker’s most notable iterations within the realms of DC comics and DCEU have always portrayed an intrinsically violent, impulsive, and sadistic character. It is no such surprise to see the antagonistic villain do antagonistic things, and his violence is certainly not limited to just women.

Matters only reach a concerning standstill when the character in itself is glorified, celebrated, and upheld by the audience without an ounce of objectivity to account for his flaws.

How Does Joker 2 Intend To Make Up For It?

Lady Gaga - the new Harley Quinn
Lady Gaga – the new Harley Quinn

Following such critical remarks, it is understandable for some fans of the film to be apprehensive about Joker 2.

Most of us are certainly familiar with how the dysfunctional pair of Joker and Harley have almost always been shown in a negative light; with the female partner-in-crime having been subjected to various forms of abuse in several depictions. In that sense, it would make sense for Joker 2 to be centered around Harley’s perspective, giving her the room to tell the story on her terms.

By making Lady Gaga‘s character the central protagonist, fans would welcome a fresh outlook, a new story – which, at the same time, would not compromise on Jaoquin Phoenix’s brilliant embodiment of the DC villain.

Joker and Harley Quinn
Joker and Harley Quinn

Read also: Get Out Star Catherine Keener Joins Joker 2 Alongside Lady Gaga and Brendan Gleason

Gaga’s artistic prowess as a musician makes her an astounding addition to the mix. Therefore, with Folie à Deux set to make a dive into elements of a proper musical, it would be intriguing to see the story unfold with Harley Quinn reveling in several musical numbers, as she reflects on her backstory, the way she met Arthur, and the “bond” they will eventually share.

As for now, it is quite uncertain whether or not the rumor has some weight to it in the first place. For all we know, the premise can follow the stories and perspectives of both Joaquin’s Joker and Gaga’s Harley. With much of the crucial details under wraps, it is hard to tell what Joker 2 will mount up to in the future.

One can only hope it creates an air of excellence and acclaim the same way it did in 2019, without having to repeat any mistakes or shortcomings of the past.

Joker: Folie à Deux is slated for a much-anticipated October 4, 2024 release.