The internet has reacted to the big reveal of Jared Leto as The Joker from the forthcoming Suicide Squad movie. It’s not going well.
Meant to tie in with the 75th anniversary of Batman’s arch nemesis, Suicide Squad director David Ayer tweeted a first look at Jared Leto as The Joker, and it’s a bold departure from what fan’s may have expected. Whilst Jack Nicholson’s comic portrayal remains a favourite for many, Heath Ledger’s grittier and more disturbing stint in The Dark Knight certainly won widespread acclaim. Both maintained certain elements of what we know and love of the traditional Joker. Pale complexion/make-up and a crazy accentuated smile. Tough acts to follow.
Leto’s style is somewhat different in an attempt, perhaps, to make it more contemporary? A short green crop of hair, a metal grill and bold tattoos certainly give the actor a menacing look, but this is not The Joker we’ve been raised on and fans seem to fall in greater numbers on the side of the ‘Hell No!‘ reaction than ‘This Is Cool‘, and it’s pretty easy to figure out why.
The most defining features of a character, as established as The Bat-Man himself, are missing. The smile… We’ve seen it presented in different ways – makeup, scarring, makeup to cover scarring – but a distinct and defining characteristic of The Joker. The suit… We’ve come to expect The Joker to be well presented. A purple suit with green accessories? not on this watch! The only nod to the traditional attire of Mr J is a purple medical glove on one hand.
What about what’s been added then? The metal teeth I can live with. When I picture this character it’s usually with yellowing pointed teeth (as seen on the cover of The Killing Joke graphic novel) but a metal grill could work well, especially as the Suicide Squad story begins in jail where any violent advantage might be conducive to the story. I can certainly picture The Joker taking a bite out of someone. But here’s the biggie! The thing most reactions have focussed around – The tattoos. You really have to hope that these are a stylistic choice for a promotional picture rather than part of the characters actual look. It’s a slim hope but I’m clinging on to it. They’re almost too cliched for words! What on Earth were they stylists thinking of? “Let’s tattoo HaHaHaHa! all over him and his trademark smile that’s actually missing from this portrayal of the character!” Genius… or rather the opposite of genius.
As always we must take this with a pinch of salt. It’s an image out of context, but fanboys have strong opinions especially when it comes to costumes and characteristics. And we’ve seen just how horribly wrong things can go when movie makers mess with a much loved comic book character’s look.
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Suicide Squad is currently in production and revolves around the DC universe’s biggest villains who are recruited into a task force against their will and must complete missions to repay their debt. They have two ways out, death or complete the mission.