Let’s Talk About The New Joker

Joker / Jared Leto

Pictured above is the look of The Joker as he’ll appear in _Suicide Squad_ and the rest of the DC Movie Universe. He’s played by Jared Leto, who I actually rather like, and he looks… different.

I’m not thrilled about this new look but unlike many other people I’ve talked to I’m not really worried about it either. There are plenty of reasons to dislike it but at this point I basically expect the DC Universe movies to suck. I wish that weren’t the case but it just is. They’re working with ideas from their best-selling trades, but those trades haven’t aged very well and they don’t have a lot of joy in them. They’re steeped in cynicism and they seem to fundamentally misunderstand their characters.

Which is why I’m not surprised by this new look. The DC Movie Universe isn’t a subtle place, which is how you end up with a shirtless punk who has “Damaged” tattooed on his face instead of a psychopath in a suit. With crazy looking laughter tattooed all over his shoulder instead of coming out of his mouth.

In case it isn’t clear: I’m not defending this look, I’m just saying that you needn’t worry about it. It might be amazing. It might be terrible. We have a lot of time between now and when we see him on-screen to worry about other things. If it turns out to be amazing we’ll all get to say “huh, didn’t see that coming” and if it turns out to suck we’ll all say “huh, saw that coming”.

Basically what I am saying is this: don’t worry about it because it doesn’t fit with your idea of what the Joker should look like. Radical new interpretations of characters are interesting and good; they push boundaries of what we will and won’t accept, and force us to reexamine those characters for better or for worse. Instead, worry about it because even though David Ayer has a pretty good track record as a writer/director, the direction that DC is pushing their films kinda sucks.