All we’ve heard from Jared Leto during the Suicide Squad promo circus, which seems to have lasted most of my adult life, is how “crazy” and “Method” his interpretation of The Joker was; it was going to blow our minds. “They’re going to lock me away” he said, claiming he was so immersed in his Method acting that he delivered something transcendently wacko, so much so that authorities would seek him out and consider committing him to a real insane asylum.
Well, there’s no worry of that, Jared. Although, police might want to investigate you for workplace harassment.
After hearing all the insufferable stories about Jared Leto’s performance – about how he mailed dead animals and used condoms and other bullshit to Margot Robbie, Will Smith, and the rest of the Squad – and after hearing his own egocentric haughty claims that his performance was deranged for reals and stuff, this is what we end up with? A chopped up, pointless, yet mercifully brief appearance? Never mind the fact that Suicide Squad is a structural, tonal, and narrative disaster from top to bottom, what in the hell is Jared Leto even doing in this movie?
Leto’s Joker is some sort of pimp/aspiring hip-hop artist wannabe with dyed-green hair and lipstick, which is about the extent of his characterization. There’s no reason for why he is what he is, there’s no back story at all. He’s just sort of there, in Arkham, and he somehow makes Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn fall in love with him and bring him machine guns? The whole thing is fleeting and aimless. It took Leto a year of “Method” crap to get into THIS dude’s skin? Character pathos? No time for that. Motivation? Forget all that crap, we have a purple Lambo, Brah!
This is The Joker we’re talking about, the most iconic villain in all of comic history, and here he’s reduced to a glorified cameo from an actor embarrassingly hamming it up; not hamming it up like Jack Nicholson did, or hell even like Cesar Romero did back in the campy 60s. No, Jared Leto is just pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable in a major studio film with his exercise in anti-cinema, in a performance that isn’t uncomfortable for any of the right reasons. I began to feel pity for Leto, and I didn’t want to watch his performance because it was so horrible, and because I was feeling shame on his behalf.
Maybe Leto thought all the gold chains and ice in his teeth were Method acting. But they aren’t, they’re costume props, and distractingly poor choices. What is this Joker? He isn’t insane, he’s just some corny white dude pretending to run shit on the streets and making poor tattoo choices. And here he is saying words and being scary to people, but you can’t convince me they understand much of what he’s saying with those stupid capped teeth. Besides, how can he be THAT dangerous when he spends so much time lining up knives and laptops and baby clothes (yeah, baby clothes) on the floor of his penthouse apartment? Leto has said recently, in a clear panic defense of his garbage performance, that many of his scenes were cut from the finished product. To this I say, thank God they were, and I don’t need to see them. The four or five we got was enough.
And for this absurd stunt of a performance, Jared Leto’s co-stars had to endure him being an asshole to them (staying “in character”), and mailing rats and used condoms – USED CONDOMS – to them. I wonder who the lucky bastard was who got the condom, but I’m pretty sure I’d be on the phone with the cops if I opened an envelope with a crusty semen-fulled rubber in it. He sent Will Smith a dead hog. Can you imagine Will Smith going to his front door, seeing a dead hog is lying there, and reading that the note “from The Joker” (because, ya know, staying “in character”)? I’m almost certain Smith probably just rolled his eyes and closed the door.
This guy has been incredible in plenty of work. Requiem for a Dream changed my life in more ways than one. This, however, is a complete waste of time and talent.
All of Jared Leto’s stupid antics remind me of the friend of a group of friends, that guy or girl your core group of friends don’t really know or like, but he/she keeps trying to be cool or edgy to fit in. They light a roman candle out of their ass or they throw a drink on some dude at the bar because they think it’ll give them acceptance. But the whole time it’s just kind of sad and pitiful and the core group of friends don’t feel any different. Except they’re more annoyed now.
There was no motivation behind this ten minutes of The Joker. The motivation for Jack Nicholson’s Joker was clear cut back in 1989. Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight was motivated by a seemingly lack of motivation, a desire to create true chaos that made him unpredictable and dangerous. Jared Leto’s Joker? He just wants you and your boys to hear this hot mix tape he put together.
True, there was no motivation behind Cesar Romero in the original series, but if that’s what we’re comparing this to… let’s just not.
Maybe Jared Leto should just apologize to his co-stars – with whom, outside of Robbie, he shared zero screen time with – for harassing them the past year and change. Especially since his performance ends up being the worst of them all. This guy has an Oscar and Jai Courtney acted circles around him! But yeah, he should apologize, then maybe Warner Bros. and David Ayer can apologize to us all by cutting The Joker completely from the DVD version of Suicide Squad. Nobody will notice or care, and the movie will be shorter. Win win.