This is a new article here on The Arcade, and I appear to be a bit of a guinea pig. This is the Hit List, a weekly article where we will tell you about a character we do not like or found annoying. Think of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars films and you probably have some idea of where we are going with this. To start things off, I am going to tell you why I do not like The Joker from the Suicide Squad movie.
The character of The Joker has been around since 1940 when he first appeared in Batman #1. There have been many incarnations over the course of the last 77 years. There have been several voice actors and live actors to portray the Clown Prince of Crime. As the comics have evolved over the 77 years, so has the character. There is probably no one true way to define the character, but there are certain qualities that I believe are essential.
I do agree that the character should always be evolving so as not to become too stagnant. There are aspects of the character that have been redefined by different writers, but the core characteristics have pretty much stayed the same. These characteristics include an extreme psychopath, with genius-level intelligence and a warped, sadistic sense of humor. He also very often portrayed as an eccentric, harmless prankster and thief.
The Joker is pretty exclusively seen in a purple outfit, usually a suit and green hair. He is disfigured from falling into a vat of acid that has also bleached his skin. There have been iterations where it is also the falling into the acid that drives him insane. The Joker is probably one of the most iconic villains in the world, and will continue to be for a long time.
What’s Wrong With The Character
The character isn’t wrong in every iteration, but in the 2016 film Suicide Squad the character is absolutely terrible. This version of The Joker is who I am adding to my personal ‘Hit List’ this week.
The character is portrayed by Jared Leto in this film, and I will assure you that I have no problems with him as an actor. I think Leto is a brilliant actor, but his portrayal of The Joker was all wrong. There was no humour in this incarnation of the character, and that is not a good thing. The character was also not disfigured in any physical way. It truly felt like The Joker was nothing more than just your average crime boss.
The tattoos and the silver teeth were also off putting in accepting this version of The Joker. While he had the menacing attributes that you would associate with the character, he lacked the genius intelligence. This character felt off right from the first released images. That ‘Damaged’ tattoo had me disappointed even before I saw the film, I was hoping for so much more.
One of the worst parts of the character, in my opinion, is that he wasn’t even needed in the film at all. So not only was the character flawed, he added absolutely nothing to the story. The bar had been set so high by Heath Ledger’s amazing performance in The Dark Knight and they fell far short. You honestly could have had any old crime boss in the same role and it wouldn’t have made a difference. He was just adjacent to the Harley Quinn character and never felt like a true character.
Suicide Squad was not a perfect film, that much is pretty much agreed upon. There were writing issues, acting issues and even behind the scenes issues. With all those issues going on, it was the character of The Joker that really was the sore spot for me. When you make a film, and you include one of the most iconic characters in DC Entertainment lore, you need to make sure to get the character right. This character should be dispatched with extreme prejudice.
Jared Leto obviously wanted to make the character different, as did the writers. I can respect the fact that you wanted to try something out. However, you failed on all counts and I dread the day that Leto will reprise this character for a future DCEU property. This is why this version of the character is on my ‘Hit List’.