Movie Reviews

The Batman Part 2's Title Supports Big Joker Theories

In the midst of so much DCU news, James Gunn also gave an update on The Batman and its sequel, The Batman Part II, which might confirm some popular theories about the plot. James Gunn’s announcement and clarification on the future of DC projects clearly establishes that popular franchises such as Matt Reeves The Batman and it’s spin-offs and sequels, and Todd Phillips Joker will clearly live on as DC Elseworlds. This means that they will not tie into the central DCU canon, but the creative teams behind each project will have freedom to establish their worlds unimpeded.

With that in mind, The Batman Part II, the official title for the sequel to the 2022 film starring Robert Pattinson as Batman, will continue to focus on Gotham’s Dark Knight and his growing rogues gallery. The Batman has received numerous awards and nominations, critical success with an 85% critic score and 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and is among the top 10 highest earning films from DC, and the only one in the top 10 released post-pandemic. This incredible success guarantees that expectations are high for the sequel, and the title may help to unravel some of the mysterious plot.

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Rather than following up the first entry with a slightly modifed name, as was the case with Tim Burton’s Batman, and it’s sequel, Batman Returns, or Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins followed by The Dark Knight, The Batman Part II indicates a more subtle change. Often, sequels titled “Part 2” pick up where the original left things in a much more immediate way. For example, Dune: Part 2, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and The Godfather Part II all pick up where their preceding films end. The Batman ending laid a foundation for several potential stories to be told, including one focused on the Joker.

Paul Dano’s Riddler meets Barry Keoghan’s Joker in Arkham, and the scene strongly hints at the two teaming up to wreak havoc. Pattinson’s Batman has an intimate, but brief goodbye with Zoë Kravitz’ Selina Kyle before being called on by the newly installed bat signal, and Gotham is attempting to rebuild after the devastation of Riddler’s attack. This ending certainly provides a number of interesting loose threads that could be followed in the sequel with the corrupt Gotham in disrepair, a power struggle between crime bosses and at least two infamous villains plotting from their cells in Arkham Asylum, which could be the central premise for The Batman Part II.

While The Batman certainly set up the foundation for an incredible adventure that will include the Joker in the sequel, he shouldn’t become the primary antagonist. One of the most engaging elements of The Batman was it’s ability to balance a wide variety of seedy crooks who inhabit Gotham. Falcone, Penguin, Riddler and a whole sway of corrupt leaders within Gotham’s elite were revealed to be causing, or at times turning a blind eye to all of the crime and suffering in the city.

This created a sense that Batman was alone in his struggle against injustice, and much more than creating a single antagonist, it created a sense that Gotham itself is poisoned. The city is a breeding ground for crime and cruelty, and Batman’s vigilante efforts start to make sense as a desperate response. Shifting this focus from a city-wide epidemic of evil onto a single criminal in The Batman Part II, even one as compelling as the Joker would ignore the larger story and Batman’s journey to becoming its Dark Knight.

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