Loyal readers will know that I have been critical of the way it seems Jared Leto’s Joker might be portrayed in the forthcoming Suicide Squad film, so to say I was not looking forward to seeing what he looked like in full costume would been an understatement. And it appears that my sense of dread was justified.
Empire Magazine has exclusive photos from the film, and features the Joker in all his glory on the cover. Here it is, via Polygon:
The first leaked photo of Leto as the Joker got razzed for him looking too much like Marilyn Manson, but it turns out it is worse than that. Leto’s Joker actually looks like the unholy spawn that results after Marilyn Manson had sex with David Bowie.
Like I said about that leaked photo, this looks like a Joker designed by a committee of Warner’s executives who know nothing about the character except what has appeared on screen but doesn’t them create something “kewl.” And one of the ways the non-deep thinkers have to make something “fresh” and “new” is take a character who has always been depicted as appearing in a suit and then making him look like a cast member of the road version of Velvet Goldmine. But doing this with out forethought or a point is shallow, superficial and insulting.
What’s the big deal about the Joker not wearing a suit anymore? Well, for one, he has always been portrayed as wearing one, in the comics and in other media. The suit might have just been stylistic choice Jerry Robinson made when he created the character, but over the decades it has grown to become so much more. The garish suit, typically a fabric soup of purples, greens and oranges, has come to be a symbol of the villain. Joker is chaos personified, but controlled chaos. His business is spreading anarchy, his suit shows that he means business. Even The Dark Knight got that part right, making sure audiences knew it was a custom made suit on Heath Ledger’s body.
Now, tell me, what does the suit on the Empire cover say? You could argue that is symbolizes chaos and anarchy because there is no unifying theme–it’s all over the place. The Arkham pants might indicate that the Joker doesn’t care about appearance. “Eh, they gave me a free pair of pants, so I’ll wear ’em. No big deal.” But that that’s contradicted by what logically would be a custom-made reptile-skinned purple duster, which definitely show he DOES care about appearances.
But, in reality, there was probably only the most superficial amount of thought applied to the costume. “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if he wore his state-given pants as part of his costume?” “He has to be shirtless so audiences can see all the bitchin’ tattoos we gave him!” “Let’s get the long-time fan boys off our backs by giving him a purple cane and overcoat. But let’s spice the coat up by making it a shiny, alligator-skin number!”
The result is a horrible costume. It not iconic, it’s pedestrian. And it’s definitely not an improvement over the original.
This garbage fire version of the Joker will appear next August in Suicide Squad.