Last night, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the character, director David Ayer revealed our first official full-size look at Jared Leto as The Joker in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Suicide Squad. With Heath Ledger’s iconic performance from The Dark Knight looming large, we figured we’d be in for something entirely different with Leto’s take—and we were right.
In keeping with this new Zack Snyder-created tone for the Warner Bros. DC Universe that was set in Man of Steel and will be solidified in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Leto’s Joker is like Nolan’s gritty Batman on steroids. The darkness of Nolan’s trilogy remains, but there’s an added twinge of revelry in the comic book source material as opposed to simply translating everything to “real life.”
Reactions to the reveal of Leto’s Joker were unsurprisingly strong—just as they were back when Ledger was cast as the character in Nolan’s film. Personally, I won’t be making any judgments on Leto’s iteration of the character until I’ve seen him in action. Seeing a still image of an actor in heavy makeup and costume, without the context of the rest of the film, doesn’t provide a full picture of the character or take—what Ayer offered was a preview of Leto’s Joker, not a full unveiling. Moreover, we know Leto has the capability to be one hell of an actor, so I’m much more interested in the mannerisms and intonation of his performance than I am the superficial layer of makeup.
That said, the internet was in fine form last night, offering some admittedly strong jokes about the new Joker on Twitter, as well as some level-headedness. We’ve done our best to round up some of the better responses and embedded them below for your perusing pleasure.
Suicide Squad also also stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. The film opens in theaters on August 5, 2016.
Not saying a word about Joker till I see him in action. But I have a lot of faith in David Ayer and think he’s going to nail SUICIDE SQUAD.
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) April 25, 2015
To be fair to the Joker design, this guy would definitely freak me the hell out.
— Haleigh Foutch (@HaleighFoutch) April 25, 2015
Does anyone know what stage the new Joker is playing at Warped Tour this year? — Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) April 25, 2015
We’re all just sad Robert Durst isn’t the Joker.
— Brian Duffield (@BrianDuffield) April 25, 2015
What if the Joker has a giant tattoo of himself on his back, Steve-O style?
— Scott Wampler (@LimitedPaper) April 25, 2015
“Looks stupid. Nothing will ever top Nicholson’s Joker.” – Internet message boards, circa 2007 — Max Nicholson (@Max_Nicholson) April 25, 2015
Jared Leto as the Joker could be the reincarnated corpse of Heath Ledger’s Joker and people would complain about it. Such is the Internet. — Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) April 25, 2015
Who will be the first hefty gentleman to get his own matching Joker forehead tattoo? And will he have strong thoughts on women in gaming?
— Slater (@jerslater) April 25, 2015
New Joker pioneers concept of tattooing a character’s dialogue on their body. Next: Hamlet with “To Be or Not to Be” as a tramp stamp.
— Russ Fischer (@russfischer) April 25, 2015
They should have put the Joker’s hair in braids to make him more like Alien from SPRING BREAKERS. — Devin Faraci (@devincf) April 25, 2015
I think this face says it all when it comes to Jared Leto’s Joker… pic.twitter.com/QciDLIHb65
— Robert Workman (@TheDCD) April 25, 2015
2008: Fans hate Heath Ledger as Joker until 1st image appears. 2015: Fans okay with Jared Leto as Joker until 1st image appears. — Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) April 25, 2015
Gonna be the contrarian here and say that it’s ballsy that Leto took on the Joker after a seminal performance by ledger and I respect that.
— Timothy Simons (@timothycsimons) April 25, 2015