It’s practically common knowledge that The Dark Knight’s version of the Joker — brought to the screen by the late Heath Ledger — takes one of DC Comics’ biggest players and makes him even more legendary than before. By default, anyone or anything that tries to add in a new version of the Joker doesn’t exactly have the most enviable job; movies to come might make a strong case, but until that happens, all fans can do is compare and contrast. Maybe that’s the mindset behind the recent reveal of Jared Leto’s Joker: rather than try and force those comparisons, the minds behind it swerved in a brand new direction.
Calling it “a striking image” doesn’t begin to do it justice. It’s understandable in the sense that the picture offers a glimpse of what we’ll get from the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, but even then it’s far-removed from what’s come before. There are some recognizable elements — a green and purple palette, red lips, and his tattooed arm offers a smile when the face can’t — but the level of mania on display here would make The Dark Knight’s Joker start sweating. Comic book fans versed in the character’s history have pointed out the influences, and have noted the possibilities. If this Joker is anything like his comic incarnations — or just as dangerous as his poise and form suggest — then it could point to a character that’s not only violent and unhinged, but more willing to do the dirty work himself.
It’ll be interesting to see how fans take the new look, and how the crew behind Suicide Squad responds. Still, it may just come down to what the movie delivers, not just an image making the rounds. If that’s the case, then here’s hoping that director David Ayer can put a smile on fans’ faces.