Suicide Squad: Jared Leto’s Joker Revealed

Jared Leto as The Joker

Jared Leto as The Joker

In December of 2014 it was announced that Jared Leto would play The Joker in DC/Warner Bros.’ upcoming Suicide Squad movie directed by David Ayer (Fury). In the months since then Leto has repeatedly teased his new take on The Joker, revealing via Snapchat the stages of his hair leading up to the green dye, as well as even teasing what most assume is his Joker voice. Yesterday, in honor of the character’s 75th anniversary, director David Ayer revealed the first official image of Jared Leto as The Joker. Check it out to the right.

Such a drastic change in design compared to other interpretations of The Joker is bound to gain some mixed opinions from fans. This new image has already sparked a lot of criticism and hilarious memes across the internet. Before we get into my thoughts on this new take let’s break it down.

The pale skin, green hair, and red lips are more in line with The Joker in the comics, as these attributes may have resulted from taking a fall in chemical waste – a character detail left out of Christpher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but used in Tim Burton’s Batman. While we don’t see his signature purple suit, Leto’s Joker at least has a purple glove which may hint at the rest of his costume. I doubt he’ll be shirtless the entire movie.

Usually The Joker does not bare tattoos in the comics, but this idea is not unheard of. As they are doing with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. may be drawing more inspiration from the works of Frank Miller. In Miller’s non-cannon mini-series All-Star Batman and Robin, a shirtless Joker displayed a giant dragon tattoo across his back.

While I appreciate the physique, green hair, red lips, and pale skin of Leto’s Joker, it’s the tattoos that begin to leave a bad taste in my mouth. The idea of The Joker sporting tattoos doesn’t bother me in the least, it’s the tattoos that Warner Bros. decided to use that slightly annoy me. The skull-faced jester seems appropriate, but the grin on his right arm and multiple “ha has” seem out of place, almost as if the Joker is advertising himself. Also, “damaged”? Really? Come on, Joker. We all know you’re damaged already, stop trying so hard.

The Joker in All-Star Batman & Robin

All-Star Batman & Robin #8

I’m indifferent about the grills over his teeth. It is possible those grills may be in place after Ben Affleck’s aged Batman knocked his teeth out over years of beating him up. A villain who relies so much on his menacing smile would want to keep that smile intact somehow. If that’s the case then I approve of the grills. If this is not the case and The Joker is just trying to make some sort of fashion statement then I do not approve.

While there are aspects to this redesign that I both like and dislike, overall this image of The Joker is very polished, especially in comparison to Heath Ledger’s take on The Joker in The Dark Knight. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Such a bright interpretation could mean a brighter take on Suicide Squad, which would be a welcome departure from the possibly too dark and too gritty Batman v Superman. Of course, the polished look of The Joker could just be in this photo. Some of colors may be more muted in the actual film.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this new take and it’s not surprising that the internet seems divided as well. That being said I’m still really looking forward to Suicide Squad. The film has a hugely talented director behind it and what could be a great ensemble cast. Let’s just hope Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn doesn’t bare a tattoo that reads “I’m damaged, too” on her forehead.

Now, sound off. What do you think about Jared Leto’s look as The Joker? Does it turn you off to seeing Suicide Squad or are you still on board? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

Suicide Squad releases in theaters August 5, 2016.