I just want to let everyone know, I try to avoid sounding like a butthurt fanboy here. I know frequent readers of the site won’t believe that, but I try not to be. I do have the potential inside. As part of the generation that was mocked and ridiculed for liking anything pertaining to comics, I grok the sense of entitlement my generation has towards comic properties skewing to the version they grew up with. I try to be satisfied as long as the filmmakers keep true to the feel or the original source material.
Then I see the following, the first official version of Jared Leto as the Joker in the Suicide Squad and I want to board the hater train to Butthurtville. Because even though it is just a picture, and gives us no idea of the character’s backstory or the subtleties of Leto’s portrayal, it just rubs me as you typical DC Comics Film stupidity.
The Joker is defined by his relationship to Batman. He is chaos to Batman’s order. He is a jovial, ever-smiling clown who will kill you in the blink of an eye to Batman’s grim and scary-looking bat who will risk his life to save you. He is a man so affected by his physical scars that he is moved to homicide to Batman’s being a man so affected by his mental scars that he is moved to protect the city he loves. They are both insane men, but one bad and one good.
Non-comic readers will scoff at the idea that there’s that much depth in comics, but that dichotomy is there and it is what makes the Joker great. Even Heath Ledger’s Joker, which traded in the bleached skin for grease paint. kept the order/chaos balance intact.
However, without these aspects of his personality that allow him to play off Batman, the Joker just becomes the run of the mill homicidal maniac. And homicidal maniacs are boring. And this looks like a picture of a homicidal maniac Joker.
It has the look of a Joker made by committee, a committee with one mistaken belief that the character has to be different in every way than what came before. The skin is pale but not bleached. His lips are red but not scarred into a grotesque smile (which changes an important part of the dichotomy). But he has tattoos, boy, does he have tattoos, because obviously the team of executives are still living in the 00s when tattoos were badass. I can almost hear the roomful of executives shouting out their tattoo ideas now, with the most obvious and pedestrian ones chosen to make the cut. “How a bout a skull wearing a jester’s hat? That’s cool, right?” “Having HAHAHAHA tattooed on his body once is awesome, so having it twice would be extra awesome!””Oooh, ooh! You know what would really be great! If he had the word “Damaged” tattooed across his forehead!”
If you have to so show how crazy your Joker is by writing “Damaged” across his forehead, you have already failed on you task of bringing the Joker to the screen.
All this rather pedestrian window dressing is unnecessary and takes away more from the character than it adds to it. And no manner of obsequious fan service you do (“Let’s throw a purple glove on Jared and have him mimic that famous Brian Bolland pose. Fans will be so enraptured in their fangasms they won’t even notice the stupid changes we made!”) will bring that back.
All of this from one image! I rue the rest of the official images from this film!