Let me begin by saying that I know this article will be controversial and I'm sure I will see many comments directed towards me below stating what an imbecile I am. I've accepted that this is a suicide mission (much like the Suicide Squad - sorry, I couldn't resist), but nonetheless, will share why I believe the following statement to be true: Jared Leto's interpretation of the Joker will be superior, or at least able to rival Heath Ledger's.
1. Leto’s Joker is Not Trying to Duplicate Ledger’s
When the news that Leto would be playing the Clown Prince, unlike when Ledger and Affleck were announced, fans were overall thrilled that Leto was cast as the Joker, however when the following image came forth, many conceded their original beliefs.
This was mainly due to the fact that the Joker is never depicted as such in any of the comics and was far from the standard Joker. However, I believe that the direction they’ve gone and the way he will portrayed is the wisest decision the filmmakers made. Leto has big shoes to fill as the Joker, especially as he follows the memorable and highly praised Ledger Joker. Thus, if filmmakers attempted to duplicate this Joker, fans would be irritated with the effort and would likely end up despising the portrayal, because, let’s face it, no one, except for Ledger, can portray the Joker as depicted in the Dark Knight. Any attempt to duplicate it would be obscene, and far more difficult to accomplish.
Now that we have established the necessity for a different angle of the Joker, we can understand why the makers wanted to severely separate the versions of the Joker, and this gave both Leto and filmmakers the ability to create a new, unique version.
2. The Look
I believe that Leto’s Joker can look the way he does because he has been imprisoned for years. In fact, let’s do the math, between the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises, is eight years and between Rises and the
can be any number of years, but is likely at least one year. Multiple sites of said that Batman V. Superman takes place around two years after the Man of Steel, it is also believed that Suicide Squad will take place after Batman V. Superman. If we add all this together, Leto’s Joker can be anywhere fromeight to twelve years after Ledger’s Joker.
That’s a long time for Joker to evolve into the Joker we will now see, thus allowing this version to be possible. I believe from what we've seen in the Suicide Squad trailer, the Joker has become far more twisted than when we last saw him, and I think he misses the thrill of the bat, he needs something to fill it with, this is why the Joker has turned to tattoos, in some small way, the pain and addiction to the needle has overtaken the addiction to batman.
An alternate theory is that that the Joker has had these tattoos all along, not all of them, because we see parts of his skin in the Dark Knight (see image below), that are clearly tattoo free, but some of them, and he simply decided to get more. We never see his chest and arms in the Dark Knight, so for all we know, he could have had those tattoos all along.
The tattoos are an outward reflection of who he has become, and helps show that Leto’s Joker is far more ruthless. Ledger’s portrayal depicted a Joker who hungered for chaos, so long as he held all the cards, whereas Leto’s Joker now has some understanding that it is possible for him to lose, unlike Ledger’s who believed himself to be unbeatable. This leaves us with a very interesting version of the Joker, who now is far more unpredictable, and is out for vengeance. The anger and madness have increased since the Dark Knight, and the Joker has become a far more raw version of himself. In any case, whether he had the tattoos prior or not, I believe the fact he doesn't wear the makeup shows that the Joker feels like he no longer needs the "mask," to show fear or to disguise himself, meaning that there is never a moment where the man beneath the paint is not the Joker, the persona is now who he is. This is a much darker side of him, and will surely be shown in the raw version of the Joker, who I believe no longer cares for theatricality, and is bent on inflicting pain, as he has suffered.
3. JARED LETO will be portraying the Joker
As it has obviously been made clear, Leto will be portraying the Joker, and if you're one of the many who dislikes the look of the new Joker, take a look at the actor portraying it. To be honest, I think that if anyone else had been cast to portray this version of the Joker, including Ledger, it would have been a mistake. However, Leto is perfect to portray this version of the Joker. Leto usually is found playing alongside a crazy character, I.E.: American Psycho, where Christian Bale murders Leto, or in Fight Club, where Leto is beat senselessly. He has been working next to psychotic characters for years, so he's sure to have learned how to play one. Another of his portrayals was in Dallas Buyer’s Club (which he received an Oscar for), where he portrayed a transgender woman. This alone showed that Leto can play practically any role.
Leto achieved this and all of his characters through method acting, just as Ledger did. Multiple accounts from cast and crew talk of how Ledger has gone full method for the Joker, one just accounts say how Leto sent all his Suicide Squad actors gifts as if he were a Joker, one of these being a live rat which he sent to Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), which she named Rat Rat. The video below shows the interview on Leto's Method acting. In the interview below Jai Courtney says of Leto's method acting,
The odds seem fairly stacked in Leto’s favor, however we’ll have to wait for 2016 to see if Leto truly can live up to Ledger. However, one thing is certain, that his performance will be unlike any prior Jokers. "I don’t know how you measure that these days. I haven’t seen him, since we started working, out of character, let’s put it that way,” -Jai Courtney
The odds seem fairly stacked in Leto’s favor, however we’ll have to wait for 2016 to see if Leto truly can live up to Ledger. However, one thing is certain, that his performance will be unlike any prior Jokers.