Is Jared’s Joker Just a Jest?

Now that the dust has had time to settle and we’ve all gotten the feelings of love/hate out of our systems, let’s look at this release of Suicide Squad’s Joker from a different angle. Details are important, often crucial, but let’s not mistake the forest from the trees.

Gentleman! Let’s broaden our minds!




Richard Örmonde brought up an excellent point on Twitter.


I’m actually really happy you asked this, Richard, because it was something I was wondering myself. In truth, I don’t think this is the Joker that we will be seeing in the final Suicide Squad — and here’s why:


It’s all about that Dark Knight Returns, baby!

For staters, I doubt Jared Leto’s Joker will be shirtless for long, if at all. The rumors that have been circulating about this portrayal of the Joker have been pointing to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as inspiration. These rumors only gain traction when you take into account the depiction of Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the recent announcement of The Dark Knight Returns III.

I think it is safe to assume DC is using The Dark Knight Returns as a basis for their shared cinematic universe, no doubt thanks to the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Cinematic Universes seem to be the trend with Transformers and X-Men following suit. It only makes sense that Suicide Squad’s Joker will also share similarities with his Dark Knight Returns counterpart.


Gentleman, start your Photoshops.

It’s no surprise after the release of such a controversial image that people would quickly turn to Photoshop to mock it. But, what if the image itself already underwent a similar treatment?

I might be grasping at straws here, but if you really look at those tattoos — especially as long as I have in Photoshop — they start to look a little… fake. This is especially true when you look closely at the pixels. Let me just clarify that I’m not an expert, this is just from my own experience and observations, but let’s take a look at the bell on the jester tattoo on Joker’s chest.

What’s up with those pixels?

Click the image for a closer look. You can clearly see there is something up with the pixels around the bell. Do you see how jagged the pixels of the skin are around the bell compared to the rest of the pixels of the skin? This may be due to compression, but typically you find this when you introduce a new element or picture to an existing image. You’ll find the pixels don’t match up. Not convinced? Let’s look at the infamous ‘damaged’ tattoo.

Not damaged, just Photoshop.
Not damaged, just Photoshop.

Make sure you click on this one, because it becomes extremely apparent. We find the same issue with pixels on the skin not matching around the tattoo. Look at the transition of pixels from his hair, to his glove, to the shadows. None of these have this kind of artifacting. It is only found around the tattoo.

So if this indeed is an altered image — which I believe it is — then why would David Ayers bother to add such silly things that will cause a shitstorm? Maybe I already answered the question, which brings me to my next point.

Let the nerd rage commence.

It’s nothing new to learn that Warner Bros/DC Comics have fallen behind the unstoppable juggernaut (bitch) that is Disney/Marvel. But, how far behind are they?

Just this month, Howard the Duck outsold Batman by nearly 17% (seriously?!). I would never have believed in a million years that Howard the Duck would outsell a Batman title, but here we are. Does this mean the popularity of the DC brand is waning? It is clear their studios are trying to catch up with Marvel in terms of movies as Marvel is nearing Phase 3 and DC only have one film released under their cinematic universe.

You know how you hate to watch a horrible trainwreck, but you can’t help but not look? This is basically how Lindsay Lohan has kept her career afloat. It seems DC is taking a similar approach. It’s a cheap and, dare I say it, desperate tactic to gain publicity. But you know what? It works. We’re all talking about it aren’t we? The Internet is abuzz with Jared Leto’s look as the Joker.

Instead of giving audiences and fans what they want — and doing a damn good job at it like Marvel — DC gains their attention through controvery, which can be attributed to having the mentality of, “you don’t know any better, this is what you want, you’ll see!”. This goes back to the days of casting Heath Ledger as the Joker. The Internet also reacted with skepticism. DC is still trying to use this same tactic on us. The problem with gaining attention by these means is that it doesn’t instill trust in your other creative decisions, which have also been met with controversy, such as casting Ben Affleck as Batman or Will Smith as Deadshot. This marketing strategy only works if you actually deliver something that ‘wows’ people, but DC has already had misfires like 2011’s Green Lantern, and eventually audiences catch on to what you’re doing.

So in the end, it’s all just a clever ruse. The tattoos and grill? Probably a way of testing the waters and a means to stir up controversy. It seems pretty obvious when you think about it. This image of Jared Leto as the Joker almost looks like a joke. Expect new pictures to be released of the Joker sometime down the road that will blow us all away — with DC coming in and acting as if, “see, told you, your concerns were unjustified, trust in us” — though I may be giving DC a little too much credit as I wasn’t impressed with the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. Either way, it’s a marketing strategy designed to instill trust through mistrust.

Despite my cynicism, I really do want Jared Leto’s Joker to be one of the definitive portrayals. There is so much potential there and I think it was an excellent casting decision. But, when we have a world where Superman straight up murders his first villain with his bare hands, there is cause for concern.

Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just going through the five stages of grief. However, if this new (unconfirmed) leaked image is any indication of what we might expect from Suicide Squad, then bravo.



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Jacob Rosen
Jacob Rosen
Mild-mannered geek writing for Monkeys Fighting Robots by day and caped crusader by night, Jacob knows what is best in life — crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.