Though it wasn’t exactly the biggest critical hit, the DC Extended Universe flick Suicide Squad did win over some of the most loyal DC Comics fans. Introducing the secret government agency recruits also known as Task Force X to the big screen for the first time, the movie allowed characters such as Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Deadshot (Will Smith) to shine more than they ever had done before.
The film also served as the launch pad for the reinvention of classic DC villain, the Joker. Here he would be played by Jared Leto, with the actor embodying a Joker like none we’d ever seen before in film. Covered in tattoos and unafraid to flash the flesh, many passed judgment on the new Clown Prince of Crime before he had even made an official debut.
Going against the grain, here are 15 Reasons Jared Leto’s Joker Is The Best Version.
15 He’s appropriately over-the-top
Let’s face it, Leto’s version of the Joker is unrivalled when it comes to being eccentric. His crew runs around in animal costumes and he’s certainly not afraid to stand out from the crowd when it comes to making himself up, or choosing his next costume.
His personality can switch on a dime, and, though he’s seemingly in love with Harley Quinn, his romancing technique is like nothing we’ve ever seen before; remember the torture and conversion of the former Arkham Asylum employee?
What we must always remember about Joker is that he’s crazy, but manipulative enough to rally a big crowd to his beckon call. With an infectious charisma and willingness to succeed in whatever he deems appropriate in the moment, his over-the-top nature actually works in his favor, giving him power over those around him and leading his crew down a path of destruction.
14 He’s smarter than Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller is DC Comics’ scariest and (usually) smartest character, always one step ahead of everybody else. This, of course, wasn’t the case in Suicide Squad, with Leto’s Joker outsmarting her not once by hijacking the helicopter, but twice when he found Belle Reve and busted his darling Harleen out of the knick.
Somebody who’s able to predict the behavior of Amanda Waller is clearly not to be messed with. This is the woman who planted brain bombs into the heads of criminals so that she could get them to do her bidding; she’s willing to go to the ends of the earth to get what she desires.
Knowing that there’s a villain out there who can think just like her, and even ahead of her, is certainly worrying for the residents of Gotham City; especially when he’s on the loose.
13 He has potential for a number of different movies
Leto’s live-action version of the Joker is the first in big screen history who has the potential to be in more than one DC movie. While we would have loved to have seen Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the villain following his time in The Dark Knight in another movie, his tragic passing meant that the single film would be his legacy.
Jack Nicholson’s version of the Joker was killed off by the end of 1989 film Batman, so he obviously never returned, but Leto’s Clown Prince is only just getting started in Suicide Squad.
With a new solo Batman flick on the way and a number of Justice League movies and the like being planned, the Joker will presumably be popping up on multiple occasions to show his influence over the current DC Extended Universe.
Surely it’s just a matter of time before Joker becomes the primary antagonist in a DCEU release.
12 He has an amazing car
Throughout promotional campaigning for the Suicide Squad film, fans would get consistent glimpses of the Joker’s gorgeous purple sports car. What many didn’t realize is just how it came to fruition.
A custom made body was applied to the chassis of a 10-year-old Infiniti, and reports suggest that it cost a modest $11,000 for the body needed to create the gorgeous vehicle.
What follows is a surgery of a car that would make any motor lover queasy, as the entire original shell is ripped straight from the body, leaving an empty husk that has to be propped up with a roll cage.
When all finances come together, the vehicle likely cost less than $30,000 in total to be made; certainly a lot less expensive than it looks.
It’s clear that, when Joker’s not emotionally breaking down a victim (or Harley), he’s getting busy in the garage, and who could blame him? It may not be an actual Lamborghini, but it certainly looks like one.
11 He’s somewhat of a fashion icon
When he’s not working on his car, Joker can likely be found purchasing his next glitzy jacket or ripped pair of jeans, or thinking up new ideas at the tattoo parlor.
This is a villain who isn’t afraid to get glamorous before engaging in criminal activity; why bother getting caught up in crime if you don’t look good doing it?
His costumes have inspired people across the globe to put together their own versions of Leto’s Joker, bringing his costume to Halloween and fancy dress events since his debut. There are even a number of makeup tutorials doing the rounds on YouTube, so that fans can perfect the look with his now iconic selection of tattoos.
Director David Ayer had previously commented that "drug lords on Instagram" had been his inspiration for the Joker look.
10 He’s an ACTUAL Gotham City gangster crime lord
We’ve already seen Leto’s Joker doing dodgy dealings in the back of clubs and getting involved with some of the less tasteful criminals in Gotham City. Knowing that this version of the Joker is perhaps the most powerful when it comes to the underworld opens up many paths for future films.
Able to pull the strings of all of those working underneath him, Joker has far more power and influence than ever before. He has an actual purpose to his madness; he wants to cling to the power that he’s already established, and is unafraid to get his own hands dirty in doing so.
This could mean some huge battles against the establishment and the Dark Knight moving forward, with a lot of fire power by Joker’s side. Things could get very messy in Gotham City.
9 His personality flips quicker than any before
Joker is a man whose personality can flip faster than anybody we’ve ever witnessed in the DC Extended Universe. Utterly obsessed with Harley Quinn, he doesn’t take kindly to Monster T’s chat about his beloved lady.
Inviting her in and offering her to him on a platter, Monster T refuses as he “don’t want no beef;” big mistake. Whether Joker saw it as a refusal of a present, or he had always planned to shoot Monster T dead after he brought up Harley’s beauty doesn’t really matter.
The point being made here is that Joker will flip on anybody at any time for any reason he deems necessary, which has always been one of his scariest traits.
Here though, he’ll flip quicker than ever before; you could be his best friend one minute and he’ll have put a bullet in your brain the next. If ruling through fear is his goal, then he’s doing a great job.
8 The only live-action Joker to live in a Universe with Superman & Wonder Woman
Though this may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Leto’s Joker, there’s a heck of a lot of potential moving forward in the DC Extended Universe. Now, in a world where both Superman and Wonder Woman exist, we could see the pair go head-to-head with the big nasty in a fight like none we’ve ever seen on the big screen.
We’ve seen just how far Joker can push the Man of Steel in the Injustice video game and comic series, so who’s to say that’s something that this can’t be replicated in Hollywood? Superman and Wonder Woman have confronted Joker many-a-time in the past when it comes to DC Comics, so to see Leto’s portrayal meet Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot’s heroes on the big screen would be every fanboy and girl’s dream come true.
7 He’s the live-action version of Joker that managed to kill Robin
Reminiscent of the fan-favorite comic book story arc A Death in the Family, Leto’s version of Joker is clearly the one who should kill Robin in the current DC Extended Universe.
The story is definitely one that should be explored on the big screen, whether this be through a film set in the past, or events in the present that harken back to the time Robin was killed.
If you think the Caped Crusader is a man incapable of showing emotion, the death of his partner-in-justice is certainly one that takes its toll. It’s in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that we see the Joker spray-painted costume that Robin once wore, so we’ll likely be seeing the battle take place at some point.
Whether Robin’s death will be the same as the one in the comic books, however, remains to be seen; we’re not sure the costume would survive in its current state if the hero was blown up.
6 He’s clearly a fan of the source material
Back in 2015, ahead of the release of Suicide Squad, Leto was undertaking some serious research ahead of his Joker portrayal. Getting involved with the DC Comics source material more than we’ve ever seen an actor do before, he didn’t hesitate to recreate the iconic Joker pose from the front cover of the Killing Joke graphic novel.
Picking up a Nikon camera and striking a pose, Suicide Squad director David Ayer took to his Twitter to tease the fans. It’s not the only time Leto has taken part in fan service, as the actor got heavily involved in teases across all of his social media in the run-up to Suicide Squad’s release.
The teasers haven’t stopped coming since the movie dropped, either. Earlier this year, he posted an edited picture to his Instagram, showing his version of the Joker holding a knife to the neck of Ben Affleck’s Batman. Foreshadowing the future, perhaps? We’ll have to wait and see…
5 Leto spent every moment on set in character
One of the most memorable behind-the-scenes bits of gossip we got whilst Suicide Squad was in production was that Leto was spending every waking moment in character, treating his co-stars as he would if he were really the Joker, whether or not they were filming scenes.
At times, he even sent an assortment of creepy gifts to his fellow actors, such as bullets for Will Smith who was playing Deadshot, and a love letter he addressed to Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), along with a dead rat.
There was talk of Leto even sending used condoms to some of those involved on production, which prompted complaints from some, but Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) promised that she had never been on the receiving end of a condom. Leto later said that the gifts were an attempt to break down walls between actors, as “the Joker is somebody who doesn’t really respect things like personal space or boundaries”.
4 He’s the first live-action Joker working with Harley Quinn on-screen
One of the most important, iconic, and infectious relationships that has ever been read on the pages of a comic book is the one between the Joker and Harley Quinn. Up until Suicide Squad, it was one we hadn’t yet seen come to live action.
Now, with Leto’s version of the Joker lighting up the big screen alongside Margot Robbie’s Quinn, this has all changed. Exploring the relationship by going deep into their rich history, viewers saw Quinn tortured by Joker and turned into his perfect lover.
The villain even encouraged Harley to take a chemical bath to prove her love for him, making her transformation into his equal complete. It was an intense scene as the two personalities fused together forever.
Now there are so many options for the couple moving forward; especially following Quinn’s successful escape from Belle Reve with Joker at the end of Suicide Squad. Could their love story warrant its own spin-off flick?
3 He’s got that perfect Joker laugh and smile
The Joker smile is so perfect in fact that he’s got it tattooed on his hand. One of the most memorable scenes from the DC Extended Universe has got to be when Joker is laid down on the floor, surrounded by a circle of his weapons before he breaks out into that iconic Joker laugh.
Leto has it nailed down-- it’s creepy, but enticing; charismatic, but a warning. All those who have come before Leto have had brilliant Joker laughs, but it just feels like Leto nailed it closer to what Joker should sound like than anybody else.
Whether it’s a short burst of laughter whilst he’s raining down bullets on a foe, or a longer, more drawn out cackle like the one in the scene described above, you instantly know who you’re dealing with when you first hear the iconic sound.
2 He hasn't been shoved down our throats
Though many were disappointed at the lack of Joker scenes we saw weaved throughout the Suicide Squad movie, it may actually have been a good thing to have only seen the Clown Prince in fleeting moments.
It means that we’re hungry for more action from the villain moving forward, and it gives those working on future movies the opportunity to be as creative as possible when considering bringing Joker back to the spotlight. An overkill would have probably meant the removal of Joker in discussions for future films.
However, now that he’s been established as a dominant force of the Gotham City criminal underground, without being present in every single scene he could have been a part of to-date, it makes sense for him to appear again moving forward. There’s no end to the possibilities for this character.
1 He’s a modern reimagining and the closest Joker we’ve seen to the comics
There’s no denying that Leto’s version of the Joker is one of the most modernized we’ve ever seen, but it’s also fair to say that he’s the closest adaptation of the character from the comic book renditions we’ve seen in the past.
He’s unafraid to suit up, and has the perfect bold green hair, prominently red lips, pointed chin, and black eye makeup. He’s also the closest shape to that of the Joker we’re used to; Leto is slim and tall, reminiscent of those we’ve seen on the page.
What’s magical about the overall finished look, however, is that inspiration has clearly been taken from a number of Joker comic book incarnations, rather than taking just one on board and running with it. Wearing a magenta suit one moment and a tuxedo the next, Leto and those who worked on the film were clearly unafraid to give the Joker their all.
What do you think of Jared Leto’s Joker interpretation in Suicide Squad? How does he stack up against the other iconic actors who have taken on the role? Let us know in the comment section!