Jared Leto's Joker is interesting on paper


Well-Known Member
Sep 19, 2020
The lovely state of Denial
Some thoughts after just having watched Suicide Squad:

Yes, yes, Jared Leto's portrayal of Mr. J in Suicide Squad was pretty widely mocked and criticized, mostly for Jared Leto trying too hard and the lack of substance that was written for him. But I think a lot of the ideas which informed his version of the Joker are actually really neat concepts, and if executed right could have been really good while also being distinct from Heath Ledger's iconic portrayal.

First off, this Joker is a throwback to the character's portrayal as a gangster (think Jack Nicholson), owning clubs and having mob connections. Just a more modern vision of a gangster, with tattoos and bling. In fact, the whole character has a much more modern feel than many other portrayals, who often go for a retro '40s style kind of classiness. But Leto's is an update, his whole aesthetic seems contemporary to me, from the modern gang stuff I just mentioned to the abstractly ironic masks his goons wear, something about it all just seems currently trendy without being in-your-face (well, THAT part isn't in-your-face, anyway). He also seems at least somewhat younger than Batman, so that might be a fresh element to their dynamic if we ever saw them together.
Also, his Joker is actually shown to have feelings for Harley. This is pretty rare, in any medium. Joker's actual positive, while still twisted, feelings for another human being would be fascinating to develop further.
There are a lot of little details that I like, as well. Yes, the "DAMAGED" tattoo is eyeroll-worthy, but there's also stuff like the fake teeth grills and the punch-drunk demeanor. You know, things someone that had spent years getting pummeled by Batman might actually have.

So, yeah, the way I see it, there were a lot of neat concepts in the Jared Leto/DCEU version of the character. It was just let down by short screen time, mediocre writing, and some general trying-too-hard-ness. At least, that's how I feel. What do you all think?

And I haven't seen the Snyder cut of Justice League, so I can't comment on how the character is portrayed there.

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