Warner Bros’s Film Suicide Squad marks the long-awaited on-screen return of the Joker. So how did Jared Leto fair in his turn as the Clown Prince of Crime?
There’s always, obviously, a lot of pressure for anyone seeking to step into the Joker Role, especially right after the phenomenal performance of the late Heath Ledger in the Nolan Batman Films. That being said, I don’t think Jared Leto’s Joker is necessarily “bad”, it was just simply unremarkable. He went for his own take on the character and committed to it admirably. His crime boss-type Joker is certainly something we haven’t seen on film before and is certainly a welcome approach to the character. His controversial new look is actually quite striking to me and I think it is meant to be unsettling by design. There were also some great touches to his character in the movie such the way he commands respect from people; his henchmen having weird masks and costumes; and his sick, demented laugh. I personally thought that his take on the character had the potential to wow audiences and show us something we haven’t seen before.
Unfotunately, Leto’s Joker was terribly underserved and not given much to do within the confines of the film. And honestly, what was left in the film wasn’t very good or at best unimpactful. I understand from the get-go that this was not a Joker Film. It never was. Joker only served as seasoning for Margot Robie’s Harley Quinn, I get that. As such, I understood that he’d never be the main star here and I was fine with that. However, I believe in the concept of quality minutes. It’s quite possible for a character to make an impact in a movie without having a bulk of the screentime or being part of the main cast. Think of Quicksilver from FOX’s X-men: Days of Future Past or, more recently, Spiderman from Captain America: Civil War, these characters left a huge impact in their respective movies despite not having top billing. They were framed and characterized so well making the most of their limited time on-screen and left audiences wanting to see more of them.
This is definitely not the case with Jared Leto’s Joker. He was featured significantly during different points in the film and had a plenty of chances to make his mark. Some scenes, like the ACE Chemicals Scene, were pretty decent, while others like the Backroom Intimidation scenes were pretty generic and run-of-the-mill. Despite this, he fails to make a lasting impression in his many scenes. His dialogue is incoherrent and his delivery is little ham-fisted and a bit off at times. It doesn’t help that his mouthpiece was clearly giving him trouble. He never gets his big “Joker Moment”, something which should characterize and encapsulate his whole take on the character, akin to Ledger’s “Scars” bit or Nicholson’s “Toys” or “Devil by Moonlight”Spiels.
What we’re left with a character that is, in all honesty, un-impactful and non-essential to the film’s plot despite the countless moments that it was setting up the character for a larger role in the narrative. Specifically, I talking about all the build up with him texting Harley that he’s coming for her. This was shown a couple of times, teasing the audience of his grand appearance. When he does finally appear his grand scheme is easily thwarted by Amanda Waller with a single phone call, Harley later appears devastated but quickly moves on. And the narrative continues without a hitch. It all feels a bit too lazy and shoe-horned in. I just feel like its a disservice to the character and all the effort put into crafting this version for the movie. I feel like the Joker must always have an impact, regardless of how much or how little we see of him. I would have liked to see how this version of the Joker would have put a wrench into Waller’s plans or somehow con or outsmart the Enchantress somehow.
Overall, I don’t think Jared Leto’s performance was a disaster, just a waste. He fails to maximize his first appearance in the DCEU, which is a shame because his character had tons of potential. I guess we’ll have to wait for Ben Affleck’s Standalone Batman Flick or the recently announced Harley Quinn movie to see the character truly make his mark.
What did you think of Jared Leto’s Joker? Hit or Miss? Please let us know about what you think we would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Also check out our other DC Extended Universe Content, such as our Suicide Squad Mid Credits Scene Explained, All the Insane Things you Missed in the Suicide Squad Trailer, and Batman V Superman: What Worked, What Didn’t.
Raffy Leynes is a geek of all trades (master of fun).He loves videogames, comicbooks, movies, cartoons, wrestling, science and art. Lately, he’s been liking his geekery with a dash of “Indie”. He doesn’t know what the f*ck musings are but he is told he does them on his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.