Caped Crusade Roundtable: Joker’s New Look


So, Jared Leto as the Joker was revealed several days ago, and it’s fair to say the look was not universally approved. Many made mockery of the numerous tattoos he was sporting, as well the grills in his mouth. We at Caped Crusades wanted to give our staff a couple days to gather their extended thoughts on the matter. Is this new look for Joker a good thing or signs of a disaster waiting to happen?

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Skip Harvey (Twitter)

OK, so IF The Joker’s new look indeed includes the tattoos that have caused such a stir and the official photo ISN’T just some sort of visual metaphor, then there’s a seriously misguided vision involved. In nearly every incarnation of Joker’s aesthetic he’s represented as controlled, pristine and immaculately dressed. His actions seem chaotic, (though they are always intricately planned), and that stands in contrast with this cuffed demeanor. That dichotomy makes him an infinitely more terrifying villain. Not only do his actions feel that much more unpredictable, and thus scarier, but the hint that there might be a larger underlying scheme makes one feel as though he’s capable of anything.

Take Loki, for example. A Joker who literally wears his chaotic persona can be scary on a base level, seeming unpredictable, but if his affectation matches his behavior then he seems far more one dimensional. As a character, one would have a hard time imagining THAT Joker was terribly complex or even capable of layered schemes.

Now, I understand the argument can be made that Chris Nolan and Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker goes against my point due to his grungy appearance and behavior. That’s entirely true, but the aesthetic choices they made weren’t fundamentally antithetical to the Joker. Being unkempt and messy actually played into the idea of that Joker being a liar and manipulator, not just ‘kinda scary’ on the surface. Would the Joker that burned off his fingerprints and made his own clothes in order to stay off the grid give himself easily identifiable tattoos?

Ledger’s Joker lied about nearly everything he said and did. Nothing was sincere, except perhaps at the end, and even that could be argued. He lied multiple times about his scars and origin, his complex plots were all red herrings for his real agendas, and his ‘I’m an agent of Chaos’ argument was untrue on a lot of levels. His machinations were far too organized and controlled to be any real form of chaos. Were his claims true, he would have simply let many of the events he had a hand in play out on their own. It’s what he wants you to think. That is a far cry from a Joker who walked into a tattoo parlor and got an English Lettered piece on his stomach.

Amanda Chrisman(Twitter)

When I saw the photo of Jared Leto’s Joker, I thought it was a very beautiful piece of fan art, a painting. It looks great, it’s an exciting new take on the Joker in my humble opinion. Whether we like it or not, every new comic story arc, or animation or live action portrayal of the Joker is going to be different from the ones that came before.

I know that some of my fellow Batman fans absolutely hate Joker Leto for some reason, but I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s for the same reason there was such a backlash about Ben Affleck playing Batman, and the fans just have to give it time and actually see the performance before they judge.

If fans are concerned about all the tattoos they should know that Jared Leto won’t actually have all those tattoos in the movie, those were done for that particular photo shoot. If the concern is for the capped teeth, well you just need to think logically about that.

The Suicide Squad movie is not proposing to reintroduce the Joker the way The Dark Knight did. Joker will have been around for years in Gotham and will have had several run ins with Batman by the time the movie takes place. If you have ever seen Batman The Animated Series, or read the comics then you know that Joker gets his teeth knocked in by Batman all the time, hell Batsy has steel knuckles in his gauntlets, it’s fairly realistic for a Joker who has been around for a few years to have several of his teeth capped. I think Joker Leto looks awesome, and as for anything else I’ll treat Leto with the same respect as Ben Affleck and assume he has the potential to do a good job but reserve my judgement for after I have seen his performance.

Eric Chrisman (Twitter)

What do I think of Joker’s new look? Well first I’d like to establish that while the tattoos MIGHT be just for that promotional photo, it isn’t confirmed. In fact, them being digital means nothing. Tattoos are added/remove digitally for films all the time now. It’s also important for this new Joker to be drastically different from any previous Joker, and they’ve at least established that. This Joker was never going to be like Heath Ledger’s, Jack Nicholson’s or Mark Hamill’s. Or even Cesar Romero’s. Those were all Jokers for a previous generation, and it’s unwise to have a similar look to easily draw those comparisons. Which granted, people are going to do anyways, but you can take one look at this photo ad say, they aren’t trying to desperately recapture some nostalgia, which is a good thing. And despite it being very different from any version we have seen before, it is unquestionably The Joker. No one would look at that photo and not think Joker, so the essence is retained.

However, the first reveal should probably elicit genuine excitement from me, and it’s just not. I think this Joker look is fine, and I’m waiting to see what Jared Leto’s performance is, because that can make up for almost any “look” you want to give him. But I should be over the moon about the look, and anxiously awaiting the performance that would hopefully only be bolstered by it, not hoping the performance will balance out the look. Of course, if Jared Leto’s full appearance as Joker is without the tattoos and he’swearing something more akin to the traditional Joker garb, this whole discussion is kind of moot anyways. We’ll just have to see whenever pics or a trailer pops up to be sure.

And that’s our roundtable discussion on the Joker’s new look. Have some thoughts on it? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!

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