Jared Leto's Joker revealed for Suicide Squad movie
Promotional image references art from The Killing Joke comic
Suicide Squad director David Ayer tweeted the first clear image of Jared Leto as The Joker on Friday, and quickly started a storm of comic fans' criticism.
In the image, Leto sports a ghoulish grin, short green hair, a single purple glove, roughly hewn tooth caps and a parade of tattoos, not the least of which is the word "Damaged" scrawled onto his forehead.
The Suicide Squad wishes you a Happy Anniversary Mr. J! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Joker75?src=hash">#Joker75</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuicideSquad?src=hash">#SuicideSquad</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WarnerBrosEnt">@WarnerBrosEnt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DCComics">@DCComics</a> <a href="http://t.co/LZXz0x947Q">pic.twitter.com/LZXz0x947Q</a>—@DavidAyerMovies
Suicide Squad will star Leto as The Joker and a handful of other DC Comics supervillains, including Margot Robbie as his girlfriend/lackey Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot, forming a secret black ops team taking on dangerous missions with the promise of shortened prison sentences in exchange.
The photo was released to celebrate Joker's 75th anniversary. He made his first appearance in the first issue of the Batman comic book in April 1940.
Leto's pose, as well as the repeated "HA HA HA" tattoos on his chest and arm, directly reference an iconic image from 1988's The Killing Joke, a critically acclaimed Joker story, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.
It's not the first allusion to the comic that Ayer's made: his tweet earlier this month showed a partially-obscured Leto pointing a camera just like in the comic's cover art.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhereIsJared?src=hash">#WhereIsJared</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuicideSquad?src=hash">#SuicideSquad</a> <a href="http://t.co/D5tMnMGBop">pic.twitter.com/D5tMnMGBop</a>—@DavidAyerMovies
The new take is, as far as we can tell from this teaser image, a far cry from the goofy gangster version portrayed in 1989 by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning version in 2008's The Dark Knight.
Critics and some fans, however, didn't greet the new image with as much humour, likening the tattooed, wide-eyed portrayal to Marilyn Manson and the Insane Clown Posse.
"It's a dramatically different take on the character that should please those who have long found this psychotic clown too subtle," writes the AV Club's Sean O'Neal, dripping in as much sarcasm as The Joker was dripping in chemical waste in his origin story.
"He fell into a toxic vat filled with Marilyn Manson CDs and anger at his boss. He got those scars because he cut himself on the world."
I guess the Joker went insane after being kicked out of Blink-182.—@MikeDrucker
Joker has the word "Damaged" tattooed on his forehead? Why? Is he supposed to be that annoying guy who wants you to think his life is hard?—@dearfuturejosh
Ledger's Joker look was awesome bc it looks like he slapped it on in an hour. This Joker look would take weeks and thousands of dollars—@arthur_affect
sorry but i don't know how i could possibly take this Joker home to meet mom—@zdarsky
I quite like the fact Leto's Joker has tattoos. It's just one more thing for Batman to disapprove of.—@ChrisHewitt
Some took the opportunity to add their own flourishes to Leto's Joker. Some felt it resembled the "extreme" video game advertisements of the 1990s...
This is my gut reaction to the new Joker <a href="http://t.co/KpFMt3CYPh">pic.twitter.com/KpFMt3CYPh</a>—@Than_Kyou
...or the cover for the Game of the Year version of the video game Batman: Arkham City, which was plastered with more awards accolades and quotes than pictures of Batman.
idk why everyone's complaining about the Joker's new design, I think it looks cool <a href="http://t.co/7rB3YwCO3N">pic.twitter.com/7rB3YwCO3N</a>—@rokkankitten
For some, Leto's grimace reminded them of a classic film starring Macaulay Culkin:
Internet responds appropriately to the first image of Joker: <a href="http://t.co/nAgtp4hYTj">pic.twitter.com/nAgtp4hYTj</a>—@djkevlar
And, of course, others wondered whether a similar art direction would inform Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Batman v Superman.
Wow! First the Joker now a leaked Batman pic, this is gonna be awesome!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sarcasm?src=hash">#Sarcasm</a> <a href="http://t.co/AdQlaXmt3N">pic.twitter.com/AdQlaXmt3N</a>—@Smod37
Of course, there's no knowing how much of this promotional image we'll see in Leto's portrayal once Suicide Squad is completed. Fans will have at least a year to argue about whether this will be the best Joker ever, or the worst: it's scheduled for release in August 2016.
We're all on a rock hurtling through space. Sometimes men become women. Sometimes we don't like how Joker looks. We're all doing our best.—@kumailn