There are not many villains that are as well-known in film, or real-life, as the Joker. He clearly makes the top five most iconic bad guys of all-time with possibly only Darth Vader, Hitler, and Satan, narrowly edging him out. After iconic and even Academy Awards winning performances from Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger, the role has taken on immense importance in the minds of comic book and movie fans. Fresh off of his own Oscar winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, actor Jared Leto is the next actor to wear the legendary smile.
There have been rumors of the Joker appearing in the Suicide Squad movie hardened from spending years imprisoned at the hands of Batman. Latino Review had previously uncovered a rumor that the Joker had adopted a bit of the "thug life" during his various stays in the big house. It appears the rumors are true.
Judging by the slightly overexposed photo and wide eyed glare of Leto, this interpretation of the DC villain will always be "on." Where as Heath Ledger's Joker seemed comfortable in the darkness and would slither into a scene like a snake. It is hard to imagine that this interpretation of the maniacal clown ever being comfortable, without the spotlight directly on him. Leto is a rock star after all.
One of the most striking aspects (in an extremely striking photo), is the decision to give the Joker a mouth full of metal teeth. At first it seems to be an aesthetic choice, however it is a safe bet that he lost his original teeth due to Batman's armored knuckles. The fun thing about the current live-action universe that Warner Bros and DC are creating, is that all these types of stories can be told in Batman's future solo films, or elsewhere. Surely if the Joker is in maximum security, he doesn't have access to the best dentists. However, it could be fun to see the Joker appear in a future film with a mouth full of fake white teeth, once he gets himself together.
The tattoos that adorn Leto's body all seem to be allusions to Joker incarnations of the past. The smile found on his right arm is reminiscent of several artist's depictions of the Joker in recent times. Note how the wide grin runs along his entire forearm. It's hard to imagine that at some point we won't see Leto cover his face with that arm, giving him the widest Joker "smile" seen yet.
The cards on Leto could represent many things. There are four aces on his chest which is a pretty solid hand, however depending on the rules of the game, the Joker card could mess things up. Also one of the most iconic appearances of the Joker was in Denny O'Neill's, "Five Way Revenge." In this 70's era story, the Joker cooks up a complicated scheme to take out Batman. On the cover, Batman is pinned to the ace card by the Joker.
The fact that they have chosen to tattoo the Joker does make sense and he has had them in the comics at times as well. However the fact that his tattoos are so self-referential is the questionable decision. Literally putting "Damaged" across his forehead seems like a choice that is too spot on. The "HaHa" tattoos bring to mind the font found in Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum story and even the viral campaign for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. All of these markings should highlight the direction that Leto is choosing to go in when portraying the psychotic criminal. This seems to be a visual statement that all incarnations of the Joker will a part of this portrayal.
What happened though?
The Famous Grin
It looks like they have given the latest incarnation of the Joker a smile that could light up the room. It's an interesting decision for Ayer to seemingly leave his mouth unaltered. It does keep in step with a slightly more realistic vibe, however in a movie rumored to have humanoid crocodiles, an unnaturally large smile would hardly be the hardest thing to grasp. Both feature film incarnations of the Joker have mouths that have either been scarred or chemically altered into the trademark demonic grin. In the comics it has been portrayed both ways and in many versions he just has big smile full of teeth. Or perhaps Ayer will pull off the effect with camera angles and a small amount of CGI. Regardless, his mouth full of silver teeth will get a lot of attention.
Prison rules dictate that the most deadly person in the room isn't necessarily the strongest. The most deadly person is usually the craziest. It will be interesting to get to see the Joker introduced as an incarcerated prisoner. It is something that has never been seen in live-action and judging by David Ayer's filmography he will bring the Joker's psychosis to life in a way like never has been seen before. Suddenly the reasoning behind choosing Ayer to set the tone and to craft the face of villainy for Warner Bros' DC cinematic universe comes into focus. Up until this point, Ayer's movies have been marked by their street-level authenticity and unflinching violent action. Look no further than Fury or Training Day to see how he can can create characters who feel like they really have existed in the world.
It's also clear that the more recent interpretations of the Joker found in Grant Morrison's run will also serve as inspiration. Leto possesses the same lean build and will be able to bring the Freddie Mercury-like physicality that was found in those stories. Regardless, you can probably assume by the time Suicide Squad ends, the Joker will have broken out of jail and will be closer to the well-dressed, iconic look that he is known for. While this isn't his origin story, this is a brand new introduction to the character and he will surely have his own evolution over the next few years. If the movie is a moderate success, expect to see Leto not only pop up in the Suicide Squad, but inevitably the Justice League and solo Batman franchise.
Despite how exciting the return of the Joker to live-action is, it is still a Suicide Squad movie and that means that it should focus more on members such as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Part of the character and psychosis of Harley is that she was his psychiatrist at the infamous mental institution, Arkham Asylum. In most interpretations Harley is portrayed visually as the twisted feminine reflection of the Joker. With that in mind, we might be getting a Harley that is a little bit tougher looking than we may be expecting.
The Joker is Chaos. The Joker is Change.
It's important to keep in mind that this is just a promotional photo designed to stir emotions. This is not a picture or a frame of footage from the film. Fans were gifted a similar early look of Heath Ledger in 2007, when the first image of Nolan's version of the Joker was released during a viral campaign. It was a completely serious and scary photo that gave an impression of the tone, but certainly didn't signal the type of legendary performance that was in store. If the same logic applies, this picture of Leto's Joker could give us an impression of the performance, however we won't really be able to evaluate until he is delivering lines in his purple suit as well. This is shaping up to be, for better or worse, a memorable production.
Since cameras are rolling, we should expect to see more character reveals in the coming weeks. Deadshot and Harley Quinn's first live-action looks should be equally as fun as well, so make sure to keep checking back for all the latest on the Suicide Squad.
Do you like the dramatic direction that Ayer is taking for the Joker? How do you see his appearance playing out in the Suicide Squad and the larger DC universe? Let us know below!
Source: Point of Geeks