Why Jared Leto’s Joker Photo is Not That Bad

I am, admittedly, a Batman purist. I for the most part boycotted Nolan’s films, not enjoying the trailers- but I did watch The Dark Knight because of my deep, deep, deep love for the Joker.

As a kid, my dad was very much into the Batman animated series, which means I was very much into the Batman animated series (Bruce Timm, thanks). That series is amazing- the animation and character development is perfect. Actually, if you look at it, it is seriously fantastic, being a perfect amalgam of funny and serious and cartoon-y. If you didn’t know, Mark Hamill does the voice of the Joker in the cartoon (Luke Skywalker, yes) and it is phenomenal; his voice is maniacal and distressing and emotes perfectly how insane the Joker is. And the colours- the classic green and purple. Jack Nicholson was the real Joker, and Mark Hamill was the cartoon Joker, and that’s just how it was.

Here’s the photo in case you haven’t seen it:

Embedded image permalink

Now, let’s make this into list format!!!

5. The Tattoos

These seem to be everyone’s biggest complaints on the internet. Mostly, everyone seems to feel like the ‘Ha Ha Ha’ tatts are lame, and the ‘damaged’ tattoo is too contrived. Okay, yes, the ‘damaged’ on the forehead is pretty lame; but I would love to see a one-shot where Harley is sitting on his lap and giving him that tattoo, with blood dripping down his face, and Harley being reluctant to do so because she doesn’t want to hurt him. The ‘ha’s are a little easier to defend; they are so uneven it makes me think he might have done them himself, but then they would probably be the opposite way, right? Yeah, probably. So maybe they’re not all great.
But those tattoos aside, the smile tattoo on his arm and the one that seems similar on his hand is actually pretty sweet. The idea that he’s always smiling somehow is pretty cool, in my opinion. They have the same colouration as his own smile, and I enjoy that kind of consistency. They actual Joker tattoo and the cards actually make sense as far as tattoos go- like, if you called yourself, like, Sailor Moon, you might have a moon tattoo on your forehead…

  I’m an asshole, I know.

I see those tattoos like my own- I have a quote from a children’s book I love on my ankle, and I’m actually getting a moon on my chest next year. He calls himself the Joker, so of course he’d get tattoos reminiscent of that.

So maybe the tattoos aren’t so bad? Some of them? I mean, he definitely won’t be shirtless the whole film, so you’ll be able to dismiss at least some of them.

4. Colouration

Again, I am a purist- I really liked Heath Ledger as the Joker, despite the fact that he did not fall into a vat of acid; he was not really the pale and vibrant Joker that I know. That being said, I am excited to see that for Suicide Squad they’re sticking to the original colour scheme. Maybe he didn’t fall into a vat of acid, but there’s a purple glove, green hair, and pale skin. Awesome. I wonder if we’ll see some orange like the animated series, too.

Also, notice the makeup around the eyes. Not only does he not have eyebrows, but look at how vein-y and scarred he looks. It’s cool to see that they really did try to take it back to the old style. Coupled with the insane pose, it really does remind me of Mark Hamill. Anyone who loves the Joker should be happy to see that the colours are the same.

3. But think about this photo for a second

So, let’s look at the actual tweet here:


“kind of small, I know. It’s not that important, baby, size doesn’t matter right?”

Okay, so here’s the caption:

“The Suicide Squad wishes you a Happy Anniversary Mr. J!

So, this photo is probably just a promotional photo. This movie comes out over a year from now, and I would not be surprised if this was a brilliant attempt to workshop the character’s look a little more. Adding up filming and post, it will probably take less than a year to shoot the film (it doesn’t seem to have the same scale as Man of Steel, which took almost two years to finish), and even if they started shooting tomorrow, there would probably still be time to change some of the costuming if they really wanted to.

Also, it was the 75th anniversary of the Joker on the 25th, making it seem as though this was a photo specifically for the anniversary. It’s clearly not a shot from the film, and almost too reminiscent of The Killing Joke to be from the film. It’s on a white background, it can’t seriously be from the film (I’m talking to you David Ayer). Although there is another picture that is meant to remind observers of The Killing Joke, but holy fuck, there’s at least 20 years worth of Suicide Squad material, why would they make Killing Joke into a movie and call it Suicide Squad? I mean, Warner Brothers is not known for being super aware, but they can’t be that dumb. My vote is that all the references are meant as a homage rather than the actual interpretation.

2. What You Should Actually Be Worried About

Seriously, as a comic book fan, or even just a fan of the Joker/Bats, there’s a bigger problem going into this film than the costuming:

The fucking origin stories.

Don’t tell me you’re absolutely sure what they’re going to do with the storyline. If you are, please, for the love of God send me a link so I can stop worrying. The way Nolan et al did the Heath Ledger origin was brilliant, absolutely fantastic, but that doesn’t work for every story. They’re clearly trying to make this Joker into something that resembles the original drawings, making it seem as though they would do the vat of acid origin. But, then again, this photo, though we can’t assure its presence in the film, clearly indicates a more modern interpretation of this iconic character. So, the way I see it, there are three options:

  1. They’re going to do the acid story, and it won’t work with the story;
  2. They’ll do something different and fanpeople will hate it;
  3. We’ll only get implications of the story and we won’t know for sure, but hopefully it won’t be the same as Nolan’s.

The last one is the only option that actually seems okay. I don’t know how well the acid origin will work with a modern take, considering audiences are smarter than they were in 1989 and 1951. Hopefully they’ll throw some Red Hood in there just for fun, but I’m doubting it. They’ll probably just imply an origin, or not mention it at all, expecting audiences to know. Which, wouldn’t be bad considering no one wants a film with an hour or even a half hour of origin, especially for a character this well known. This is a far bigger problem, but because all we can see right now is this costume, no one wants to discuss what the actual problems may be with this film. I will admit that the costuming is really important, but a bad or good costume can be overlooked by good writing and good directing. David Ayer isn’t so bad; he seems to specialize in Hollywood films, ie, The Fast and the Furious and Training Day, making me anxious about how this will turn out. His films average roughly a 7 rating on IMDb, which is about as much as Man of Steel. So, what can we expect? Someone hurry and leak the screenplay!

On another note- you should be worried about his voice. Mark Hamill does the best rendition, and after all the bitching on the internet over Christian Bale’s Batman voice, why is this not more of a problem? There needs to be a maniacal undertone to the vocalization, and I’m really worried that it’s not going to be up to snuff. Don’t let me down Jared.

1. What This Whole Thing Really Means

So, this is the first photo we’re getting of a beloved, complex, and overall fantastic character. This may seem painfully optimistic, but honestly, I’m excited. To go into this film with expectations is a mistake, and you should know better, superhero film fan.

This film means the beginning of, hopefully, a new era for DC films. Listen: The Dark Knight was an anomaly, hardly indicative of the over 500 issues of Batman out there right now, especially from the Silver or Gold ages. I’m not saying it was bad, but it was a one-off, in a similar way that Killing Joke is a one-off. People who liked TDK et al shouldn’t expect Warner Bros to recreate the same magic. So, maybe this film marks the beginning of a new age. Hopefully we’ll start to see films that are, like Man of Steel indicative of the type of society we would be if Superman or Batman or the Joker existed. Dear God, could you imagine if in the next few years DC actually posed Marvel some competition at the box office? There’s a reason why people love the Marvel universe and dismiss DC’s- Marvel films are made by fans, and DC’s are made by businessmen.

The moral of this article is stop bitching about this photo, because it probably won’t be in the film. Jared Leto will probably look quite different when he’s wearing clothes, 1, and 2, actually on a set. I have faith in this film, and I promise I’ll post a review as soon as I get to see it- not like I’ll be seeing it before August 2016. The Joker is my favourite comic book villain, and seeing him get a movie to himself makes me happy no matter what. There’s no way the average internet fanperson knows the more important aspects of this film, like the story or the other characters appearing- and if you or someone you know does, I can’t stress how badly I want a link, please!

Let me know what you think about this photo in the comments below. 

And if you’re going to shit all over this article without any reasoning, think twice. You won’t feel better, I promise. 

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