One thing that’s certain with comic book heroes and villains is that they’re moldable… changeable… adaptable. On the big screen (and the small one), every filmmaker that approaches a property is given certain freedoms to put a personal stamp on the characters, and that’s something that can be exceptionally challenging – and daunting – especially when dealing with a character who has already been presented in several beloved forms. It’s no different than when a new creative team approaches the same characters on the printed page – and that happens far more often than what audiences ever see on the screen. Reimagining a character is not an easy task, and “good” or “bad” tends to be a matter of passionate personal preference – and the general path of reaction is the same, and no property has seen it more than the world of DC Comics’ BATMAN. Michael Keaton as BATMAN? No! Ben Affleck as BATMAN? No! Heath Ledger as THE JOKER… The kid from 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU? Absolutely not! (posthumous Oscar). And here we are again, with the first-look at JARED LETO as THE JOKER from Warner Bros. upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD film. Revealed by Writer/Director David Ayer on twitter yesterday as part of the #Joker75 celebration, the latest version of “Mr. J” may be the most divisive yet – and we haven’t even seen him in action…
There have been no two Joker’s that are alike in any cinematic form, and Leto continues that tradition. While every filmmaker – and the actor chosen to inhabit the character – have had their own charm, our first glimpse shows a Joker that is relatively charmless… but terrifying. With the tattoos and chrome teeth, there’s a “thug” element at play here, but the physique and coloring recall THE KILLING JOKE – one of my favorite Joker tales – and something they’ve already alluded to as inspiration. This is different than we’ve seen before. Different scares people.
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Top Image: Jim Lee variant cover to DC Comics’ NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #9, in comic shops June 10, 2015. Pre-order your copy from Things from Another World (TFAW.com).