As predicted, on or before the Joker’s 75th anniversary, Zack Snyder previewed the first officially sanctioned image of Jared Leto as the Joker from the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Naturally, since it wasn’t the purple-suited, pale skinned psychopath we’re all so used to….the internet collectively freaked out. Nerds everywhere were up in arms, comic book store owners claimed it was the “end of days”. somewhere in Columbus, OH a man made toast in a toaster; it was very much like any other day when a teaser image gets leaked to the internet. But why? Why freak out about a movie that hasn’t even been filmed yet?
Who knows to be honest. But, I’m easy to get on board with a new design. This isn’t your daddy’s Joker, a Caesar Romero with an unshaven mustache in heavy white make up parading around in a magenta suit. This isn’t your childhood Joker, whether that is the older and energetic sociopath Jack Nicholson or the slick animated Crown Prince of Crime voiced by the irreplaceable Mark Hamill. This isn’t even the disheveled criminal mastermind that the late Heath Ledger brought to life before his untimely demise. This is a different Joker for a new world. A meaner, unhinged, physically fit criminal who looks like he’s spent a decent amount of time behind bars from the looks of the tattoos and the lean muscle structure.
At first, admittedly, I was apprehensive. A tattooed Joker? With a mouth full of dirty, metal capped teeth? Is he a Juggalo? Is he an other worldly mixture of Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and Paul Wall? What would that album sound like? Maybe the tattoos are just for an upcoming photo shoot and won’t be worked into the movie? What’s up with the one rubber glove? Is someone getting their prostate checked? I was filled with questions, but this is how I learned to give in and end up loving the design.
I don’t want to see a Joker I already know. Unless it’s Jack Nicholson reprising his role as an older Joker I don’t need to see Jack Napier or Joe Chill or the unnamed Red Hood become the dapper criminal clown. Just like every damn reiteration of Spiderman, Superman, and Batman doesn’t need to tell me his origin again. I’m not five and even a five year old knows how these heroes became the costumed vigilantes they love. You are wasting valuable time in an action movie showing me everyone’s parents tragic deaths. Move on! I want to see something I don’t know. That’s what made Heath Ledger’s Joker an enigma, you didn’t get a back story. He showed up, fucked shit up, and left a trail of death and destruction in only the way a real psychotic could. He had a different “back story” every time he was going to stab someone with the “How’d I get these scars” explanation, but that was mostly to mess with his intended victims. To draw the attention off the blade and for him to get the full enjoyment of seeing someone’s eyes as he drove the knife in for the kill.
That and he burned Mr Lao alive. Pretty much everyone forgot about that.
People freaked out about pretty much every casting decision in a super hero movie since there was such a thing as sneak preview images. All the way back to Starlog magazines (there, I did it, I dated myself) people have been getting the “butt hurt feels” when teaser images got released. I used to think it was worse than before till someone who owned a comic book store explained that it’s really no different, social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on and issue an ALL CAPS RAGE. I already have a predisposition to like things people don’t like, something about being a fan in a smaller group than 1 fan in 1 million. I like this design, I think Jared Leto will do the cinematic universe proper justice with a spot-on Joker that more accurately represents the world we live in now. This is a Joker who is going to be taking on the Suicide Squad or joining them in arms…..or both because the Joker plays by his own rules. Everyone in the movie is supposed to be imprisoned and offered clemency for their crimes in exchange for participation.
Massive amount of tattoos: while it intrigues me it’s also confusing. You might think if the Joker has been locked up for many years, that might explain the tattoos. But the Joker is too dangerous to be out in the general population and wouldn’t be able to get any prison ink. Anyways, trying to explain it set aside, I like the addition of the tattoos. I’m not sure I’m thrilled by the “damaged” tattoo on the forehead. It’s a little distracting but I can hang.
Physique: Lean muscular build. If he’s in jail, not much to do outside of eat your 3 hot meals and sleep in a cot. Might as well hit the gym or the exercise yard. He’s looking physically fit and ready to brawl. Able to hold his own for sure.
Teeth: dental work definitely done. If you’ve read any of the more modern comic books with a Batman vs Joker fight, the clown prince is usually shy a few teeth by the end. So, it’s definitely showing we are dealing with a Joker that’s been around the block. I’m great with this, the teeth look kind of nasty and unkept.
One purple glove: right hand. Certainly the hand that he would be using a knife in, wouldn’t want to get any blood or bodily fluids on him. Might make for an interesting nervous tick having him be a little bit of a OCD like Howie Mandel.
pinky ring: not sure. Can’t zoom in and focus on the ring enough to make out if it’s got a unique design. Anyways, should end up being interesting when they explain it.
Pale skin / green hair: if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
and for a little fun
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