Whilst overall reviews of Suicide Squad have been far from positive, Jared Leto's off-the-wall performance as The Joker has been singled out with praise. However, one of the major problems I found is that there simply isn't enough of him! Given the enormous amount of marketing involved in the film's promotion it seems frankly bizarre that The Joker does not feature more heavily, leaving accusations of excessive tampering by producers.
Watch The Trailer For Suicide Squad below:
Not to worry. Instead of simply brushing off criticisms of the film, Leto has stated in an interview with BBC Radio 5 that many of his scenes were cut from the theatrical version, and even suggested there was enough for a solo movie. He explained:
“I think that I brought so much to the table in every scene that it was probably more about filtering all of the insanity, because I wanted to give a lot of options, and I think there’s probably enough footage in this film for a Joker movie. If I were to die tomorrow, maybe the studio would roll something out."
Now, we certainly can't take Leto's comments to mean they are developing a solo Joker movie, but given that he is the most popular (and iconic) character in the movie (after Batman), producers might be missing a trick if they don't start looking at a solo outing. The only question is, what would it be like? (N.B. There are no actual plans for a solo movie) Lets speculate!
Sympathy For The Devil
The driving idea behind the Suicide Squad is that they might be bad, but that they are a necessary evil in order to counter the much worse threats out there. It is this 'for the greater good' mentality that allows antiheroes to still be heroes and conform to conventional storytelling. As The Joker only really does things for his own gain (and superhero movies, for the most part, usually end with the good guys winning), in order for The Joker to both be himself and save the day, he would need a higher purpose, which means the film would probably show:
The Joker in Love
What set Leto's performance as The Joker apart from Ledger and Nicholson is we got to see The Joker engaged in a (dark, twisted) relationship with his former analyst Harley Quinn, as seen in the '90s with Batman: The Animated Series. This is a softer side to the character that hasn't been seen in a live action film before Suicide Squad: even if he is generally considered to be an abusive lover, leading Harley to leave him for Poison Ivy in later comics. Yet in order to garner sympathy for what is generally an amoral character, a love story would allow him to engage in a measure of sacrifice in order to achieve his own ends: being with Harley Quinn. If not, it would have to go another way:
Rise and Fall
When reinventing The Joker for 2016, David Ayer said:
I went back to the very first Joker comic. I think it was 1941 or something like that, which is also coincident with the first Batman comics.
If the director of a Joker movie were to expand this character, much more could be made of how he became a criminal mastermind, possibly taking inspiration from 30s gangster films such as Scarface, The Public Enemy, and Angels With Dirty Faces. Seeing as the 80s remake of Scarface went on to become one of the biggest crime films of all time, maybe a similarly epic telling of The Joker's rise to fame and subsequent downfall could be the key to his success.
5 Reasons Suicide Squad is DC's Flagship Title
- What The Surprise Justice League Cameo Of 'Suicide Squad' Means For The DCEU (And It's Not Batman)
'Suicide Squad' Sure Is Hiding A Whole Lot Of Easter Eggs
We Need To Talk About The Joker
The Joker might be Batman's greatest adversary, but he possesses no actual superhero powers, though his iconic look does come from The Man Behind The Red Hood! - which saw him fall into a vat of chemicals. This learning curve would make an interesting angle for a origin movie, because instead of magically becoming who he is as a result of one event or another - like every Marvel movie! - he would gain his skills through actual hard work and practice.
Furthermore, what makes The Joker such a compelling villain is his diabolical scheming - so seeing how it comes into view as a result of his childhood/teenage years would make for an intriguing movie. The Killing Joke, which was made into an animated film this year, would be a good place to garner inspiration, as it showed a more tragic side to The Joker's personality. Maybe we can finally see how he got those scars!
With all the effort Leto has put into the role, a solo movie would surely be the reward he deserves.
What do you think? Would you like to see The Joker have his own film?