The Joker in “Suicide Squad”- Explained

jared-leto-joker-suicide-squadImage via Warner Bros

Love him or hate him, Suicide Squad’s Joker, as played by Jared Leto, left his impression on all who saw the film.  However, this iteration of the Joker was harder to put a read on than Jokers of the past.  With studios looking to make these films more accessible to comic fans and non-comic fans alike, some of the aspects of this Joker may be lost on moviegoers.  What I will attempt to do is use the Joker’s long comic book history to shed some insight on this character.

The Joker’s Mental Condition

joker arkham asylum dceu.jpgImage via DC Comics

If you asked most of the people who saw Suicide Squad, or any previous on screen adaption of the Joker, they’d probably tell you that he is insane.  However, in 1989’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, the Joker is said to suffer from a form of super-sanity.  He takes in his surroundings, and reinvents himself day after day to suit his current needs, which explains his changing personality.  This could explain his revamped look, including the  tattoos and fashion sense, as he adapts the aesthetic of modern day criminals in order to succeed. With Suicide Squad in part taking place in Arkham Asylum, I find it very likely that Warner Bros used the graphic novel as an inspiration for the character. While previous Jokers have had clear motives, usually involving the murder of many people and/or Batman, Leto’s motives are not as clear.  This may be partially due to the cutting of many of his scenes, but we many never know.  But what do I know, I just write about movies on the internet.

Maybe he has no motive

joker face cut off jared leto.jpgImage via DC Comics

Perhaps Alfred said it best in The Dark Knight– “some men just want to watch the world burn”.  While it is an accurate representation of that film’s take on the Clown Prince of Crime, it does not fully sum up what the character is capable of.  In a more recent story line, the Joker cut off his own face… well, because.  He is later seen sporting what he cut off as a mask, and even flips it upside down at one point, which is the stuff of nightmares.  This just goes to show that a lot of the actions the Joker takes have no reason, which could explain the character in Suicide Squad.  

He probably has no idea who he is

killing joke jared leto joker.jpgImage via DC Comics

This point is a bit speculative, but hear me out.  We see him drop Dr. Harleen Quinzel into a vat of acid at the Ace Chemical company, making her like him.  I am only to assume that he became the Joker through a similar process, as show in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, where a fall into a vat at Ace Chemicals turned his hair green, his skin white, and his lips red.  It is after this he forgets his past.  While he does give the story that he was a failed stand-up comedian whose pregnant wife died in an accident, he claims that if he has a past, he “likes it to be multiple choice” giving us no definitive back story.  I doubt we will see one from this Joker in the DCEU, but I could be wrong.

He’s got a bad history with Batman

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Image via DC Comics

We know there is a dead Robin floating around somewhere in the DCEU thanks to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Inspired by A Death in the Family, where Joker kills Robin #2 Jason Todd, we know that it is one of Batman’s greatest failures, hanging the deceased Boy Wonder’s costume in the Batcave as a constant reminder.  Coupled with the fact that Bats himself said Gotham has “a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns”, it is safe to assume that Batman and the Joker have been doing their thing for a while (although it is made interesting by Harley Quinn’s bio in Suicide Squad, claiming her as an accomplice in his murder- the character hadn’t even been created yet).  What I believe is a more important takeaway from the comic books to the DCEU is the way A Death in the Family Ends, which is the way it always ends between Bats and the Joker- unresolved.

joker-001-187980Image via DC Comics

Personally, I really liked the direction Jared Leto took this character in Suicide Squad.  While I am disappointed at the amount of screen time he got, I’m positive this is not the last time we have seen him in the DCEU.  Whether it be an extended cut of Suicide Squad, a future film, or who knows, but the Joker is far too popular and more importantly far too important to the fabric of the DCEU to keep locked away. Who knows, they make take borrow a page from the recent DC Universe Rebirth and have there be three Jokers in the DCEU.  I think DC did the right move putting villains in an equal position as the heroes, for a couple of reasons.  The first being that DC’s villains are almost as strong characters as their heroic counterparts; just look at Harley Quinn.  Margot Robbie did a fantastic job of bringing the character to the big screen, we saw a lot of depth in her character. Second, they really have their villains to hold over the MCU.  Could you imagine a Suicide Squad made up of villains from Marvel Comics?  Sinister Six from Sony didn’t exactly work out, plus to have really great villains, Fox, Sony, and of course Marvel would have to share.  Anyways, I digress.

I hope if you were confused that this at least helped clear up some things about the Joker in Suicide Squad! I’d also love to know what you all thought of the film.

 

What are your thoughts on the Joker moving forward in the DCEU? Let me know in the comments!

What DC can learn from the masterpiece that is “Mask of the Phantasm”

batman phantasm dceu.jpgImage via Warner Bros

After finishing Stranger Things, I felt I was out of things to watch until television series start picking back up over the next couple of weeks.  So, I had the grand idea to re-watch Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the 1993 animated feature based off the animated series.  I hadn’t seen the film in its entirety since I was six or seven years old, picking up parts of it on television every now and then.  Having seen the film again, I concluded that not only it is a masterpiece, but that DC and Warner Bros can take some ideas and apply it to their upcoming films, especially those involving Batman.

***Spoilers for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm ahead.***

Handling Batman’s One Bad Day

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One of the most understood criticism’s of Batman’s first appearance in the DCEU is that it gives us a third retelling of the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne.  Granted, the death of Bruce’s parents are his single biggest motivator (a part of the character I felt was missing from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises), but Mask of the Phantasm is able to show the emotional gravity Bruce still feels from their death in the perfect way.  He visits their grave, and often looks to their portrait for advice.  All of this, and we don’t see their murder in Crime Alley.  Mask of the Phantasm handles Bruce’s parent’s death in a way that DC should recreate.  No flashbacks, no back story, and no Martha from this point on, but we do know that it is still the driving force behind why Batman puts on the cowl (we might see another reason in the DCEU, which seems more likely to me honestly, which is the death of Robin, but I think they should still have references to the dead Waynes).

The Joker is pretty much perfect in this film

the joker phantasm dceuImage via Warner Bros

Mark Hamill’s iteration of the Joker always seems to be perfect, but his characterization in this film stands above most of the character’s other outings.  The reason is simple: Mask of the Phantasm boils down the Joker to his core concept, and that is mayhem.  Joker has no agenda in this film. His goal, as always, is to get Batman.  But everything he does is perfect, using the Future of the City as his base of operations is classic Joker vs. Batman.  Everyone likes to think that Batman is the only one equipped to deal with things when they do not go his way; Joker proves that to be wrong, especially in this film.  Of course, rigging the place to blow is classic Joker, but it goes to show that he isn’t some laughing crazy person; he is a laughing crazy person with a plan, which is how the Joker should be characterized.

It Sets the bar for original storytelling in comic book adaptations

phantasm batman joker dceu.jpgImage via Warner Bros

You’re probably right that I should consider this more of a spin-off of a television series than a comic book adaptation, but I’m not going to let that bother me.  Mask of the Phantasm is a completely original story written specifically for the screen.  Even the character of Andrea Beaumont/Phantasm was created for this movie.  DC has shown us that a story doesn’t need to adhere to the comics or even draw inspiration from the comics to create good stories (see: Harley Quinn).  With The Batman rumored to be an original story written by Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns, they could take some cues from the writers of this film.  While I do not think there will be any original characters in the DCEU anytime soon, this story shows that a successful comic book adaptation needs no basis in comic books.

It shows the struggle between Batman and Bruce Wayne

batman mask of the phantasm dceuImage via Warner Bros

I already touched on this a little bit, but I will expand here.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t do it, most likely because the film was already overstuffed and Bruce Wayne’s life isn’t important to the plot of that movie.  Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy attempted to do it, but either there was not enough of it in The Dark Knight or too much moping in The Dark Knight Rises.  Mask of the Phantasm shows us a struggle that Batman has to go through- take up a normal life with Andrea, or keep the vow he made to his parents.  This helps to humanize Batman to audiences.  We kind of saw it with Superman already in the DCEU, so why not with Batman.  We do not need a lot of it, but enough for audiences to think that he isn’t just Batman, but also Bruce Wayne (which honestly I find unlikely, especially after the mid-credits scene in Suicide Squad).  

Well, those are my thoughts on Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.  It really sets the bar high for DC animated movies and superhero movies in general.

What are your thoughts on Mask of the Phantasm? Let me know in the comments!

Ok DC, it’s time for Nightwing

nightwing-buildingImage via DC Comics

With all of the buzz around Deathstroke in the past few days basically confirming his presence in the DCEU, fans around the world are overjoyed at the idea that the mercenary is finally coming to the big screen.  While I am as excited as anyone about the inclusion of Deathstroke in the DCEU, it is time for DC and Warner Bros. to include a character that has received no love in live action movies: Nightwing.

Yes Nightwing, and not Dick Grayson Robin.  There are reasons for this, which I will get into.  But seeing how DC has made no official plans regarding the character, it is time that we make them talk about it.

Dick Grayson is one of DC’s most iconic characters

robin dceu nightwing.jpgImage via DC Comics

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern…Robin, am I right? When discussing the most important and iconic DC characters, Dick Grayson is top 10 if not top five, easily.  He was the first Robin, the Boy Wonder.  After he outgrew the Robin mantle, he took up the persona of Nightwing.  Heck, he has even taken up the mantle of Batman.  Dick Grayson deserves a spot in the DCEU.  Plus, he is a fan favorite, having been included in nearly all Batman properties- we see Dick as Robin in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go, as Nightwing in Batman: Under the Red Hood, as well as his appearances in the Batman: Arkham video game series.  In all of those, he has gotten pretty decent treatment.  Speaking of which…

Dick’s last outing on the Silver Screen wasn’t too good

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Maybe “wasn’t too good” is mincing words.  Chris O’Donnell and Joel Schumacher brought the character to life in  Batman Forver  and Batman and Robin, which killed the franchise and almost comic book movies as we know them.  We know now that O’Donnell and the studio had plans for Nightwing, as shown by the costume change and a planned spin-off for the character.  But just as we got to see Deadpool have a shot at big-screen redemption, we need the same for Dick Grayson/ Nightwing.

Why not have Dick Grayson as Robin? Why Nightwing?   batman killing robin death

Image via Warner Bros

That is an excellent question.  As shown in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,we know there is a dead Robin somewhere in the DCEU, which was confirmed by Warner Bros to be Jason Todd.  Assuming the films are keeping somewhat the same timeline as the comic books, Jason Todd was the second Robin, and became the second Boy Wonder after Dick had grown too old to be Batman’s sidekick.  This point also leads to another plea to DC and Warner Bros: please include the Death in the Family and Under the Red Hood story lines in the DCEU somehow.  You’ve already teased us by showing us the dead Robin costume, as well as throwing the curveball of Harley being an accomplice in the murder.  David Ayer gave us part of this story, but to many fans, myself included, this doesn’t mean anything until we see it for real.

He’s got his own story lines, too

bludhaven nightwing DceuImage via Warner Bros

People tend to forget that after fighting side by side with the Dark Knight in Gotham, Dick took up his crime-fighting residency in Bludhaven, not that that is the only place where Nightwing has been in action.  But he isn’t just part of the Bat-family, and should be treated as such.  Plus, Bludhaven is another setting that would add to the DCEU.  With Gotham and Metropolis not going away anytime soon, a new city would be a welcome change of pace.  Introducing Nightwing in a more ensemble-focused DCEU film and then introducing Bludhaven after the introduction of Nightwing would be the way to go.

That pretty much wraps up the case that I have for Nightwing/Dick Grayson’s inclusion in the DCEU.  I hope you have found it compelling.

What do you think of Nightwing’s place in the DCEU?  Should there be other characters in the DCEU that haven’t been? Let me know in the comments!

No Rules: DC and Zack Snyder Refuse to be Beholden to the Comic Books

harley quinn dceu.jpgImage via Warner Bros

We are only two films into the DC Extended Universe, but one thing is clear already: DC and Zack Snyder will not play by the rules of the comics, or other superhero movies.  They are out to create their own unique world, and have already shown us that they aren’t messing around.  Spoilers for Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to follow.

Batman is a killer

ben affleck batman.jpegImage via Warner Bros

The DCEU version of Batman is a killer, which goes against pretty much everything comic book Batman stands for.  We still don’t know all that much about Batfleck, other than the fact that he’s been around the block a couple of times.  Zack Snyder isn’t preoccupied with playing by the rules of comic books, he’s trying to make is own universe, for better or worse.

Superman dies before Justice League

Henry-Cavill-would-love-to-star-in-more-Superman-solo-movies.jpgImage via Warner Bros

OK, so Henry Cavill has already been confirmed to be playing Superman in Justice League, and let’s face it, nobody ever really dies in a superhero movie.  But Snyder making the decision to kill Superman before his resurrection tells us that nobody is safe in the DCEU, unless of course they’ve already been confirmed for more solo movies… But the DCEU has taken risks that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t.  Imagine if they killed off Iron Man before The Avengers?  That is what this is like.  I’m really disappointed that Marvel didn’t kill anyone in Captain America: Civil War, and it just goes to show that DC takes risks two films in whereas the MCU is still trying to play it safe (just forget about the fact that Civil War mopped the floor with Batman v Superman as a movie for a second).

Suicide Squad is all sorts of crazy

joker-001-187980Image via Warner Bros

And not just  because the Joker and Harley Quinn are the stars.  Suicide Squad is for many reasons one of the more interesting films to ever enter the superhero genre.  Between focusing on a group of villains and having the Joker in it, DC is signifying that the rules do not apply to them.  I hate the continued MCU comparisons, but just imagine if Marvel tried to make a movie centered around their villains.  It would not work, because their villains flat out suck compared to DC’s.  Part of it is lack of characterization for a lot of them.  One thing that DC has to be given credit for is that they have already characterized their two villains  (General Zod and Lex Luthor) pretty well, whereas Marvel has only done that with Loki.  Plus, Lex Luthor might be in Suicide Squad– my prediction is that the DCEU will feel like more of a cohesive universe than the MCU will, and you can thank Zack Snyder for that.

The DCEU isn’t preoccupied with origin stories

batman killing robin deathImage via Warner Bros

Sure, we saw Superman’s origin in Man of Steel.  But almost no time was wasted on Batman’s, and we’ve already been introduced to most of the Justice League.  What is even more important, is that this is a universe that has already experienced a lot.  As I said before, Batman has been around the block a couple of times, and the best piece of evidence for this is the dead Robin’s costume.  Unlike Marvel, which created their universe from scratch, DC has already seen action in theirs.  What is more important for DC is what happens to these characters in the universe, rather than how they got there.

What do you think of these choices DC and Zack Snyder have made so far in the DCEU?  Tell me in the comments!

 

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’: The Magic Just Isn’t There

fantastic beastsImage via Warner Bros

Harry Potter was more than a book series or a series of films.  Harry Potter was life.  Every summer, it seemed like either a new book or movie was released, and there was always something to look forward to and be excited about.  Then, I graduated high school, and my view on the world has become more and more nihilistic, but the lack of new Harry Potter – related media is only a part of it.

I get excited for movies that I want to see.  Batman? Yes.  Captain America? Yes.  The return of the Joker to the big screen? Yes.  But why am I not exited at all for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?  

First of all, this movie is really flying under the radar.  It makes sense. Between closing out last year with The Force Awakens and leading into another Star Wars movie this year, Batman and Superman going at it, Captain America and Iron Man going at it, Dory coming back, and a new Joker, it is absolutely no surprise that this film is really quiet.

Every studio seems to want to cash in on every property they own right now- just look at all of the movies Disney is putting out.  But why revisit Harry Potter’s world?  There is a big problem with doing so.  Not only am I not excited about Fantastic Beasts, I do not think it will be a very good movie at all, despite all of JK Rowling’s involvement.

Like I said before, Harry Potter was basically my life growing up.  So why am I not excited for another movie about his world?  I am a big fan of revisiting characters and worlds when it feels appropriate- I almost crapped myself when I saw Han Solo on the big screen, and yes I knew he was going to be in it.

But Fantastic Beasts isn’t your typical money-grub.  While it is still set in the same world as Harry Potter, there just isn’t anything that really ties the two together.  What made Harry Potter great for an entire generation of fans was the fact that we could relate to it.  Even though he’s from England and goes to wizard school, he still faces a lot of the same problems that we faced growing up.  It was really a coming-of-age story that happened to be about wizards and magic rather than a story about wizards and magic that happened to have a coming-of-age story included in it.

It won’t have the same feel to Harry Potter because it won’t take place in the familiar setting of Hogwarts castle.  Plus, Ron Perlman and Jon Voight are going to be in it, which just feels wrong for anything related to Harry Potter.  

In short, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them just won’t feel as personal as Harry Potter, and that is why I am not excited to see it.  I grew up with the same timeline as the Harry Potter movies; the last one came out during my senior year of high school.  I just don’t know how I would receive a movie that on the surface is supposed to be like Harry Potter, but I know it won’t be because there won’t be that connection.  Anyways, these have been my thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

What are your thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Let me know in the comments!

The official Star Wars Twitter Account liked one of my Tweets- here is what it confirms

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Earlier today, the official Star Wars Twitter account (@starwars) liked my tweet.  They had asked what their fans think Darth Vader did with Obi-Wan’s lightsaber after their duel on the Death Star in A New Hope.  I said that Darth Vader kept it in his possession so that he could one day give it to Obi-Wan’s son, just like Obi-Wan did with his.  The account liked it, which must mean it is correct.  Yes, I am reading too much into this, and yes, it is purely speculation, but now I am a firm believer that Obi-Wan Kenobi had a son (let me have my moment).

Ok, so Obi-Wan had a son.  Big deal, right?  Right.  Obi-Wan having a son has massive ramifications throughout the Star Wars universe.  What exactly does that mean that Obi-Wan had a son?

It makes a theory about Rey possible

rey_bddd0f27Image via Disney

This would be the only real ramification that could impact current story lines.  As you may know, there are plenty of theories about Rey’s parentage, one of which speculates that she may be the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  She would be too young to be his daughter, but this would be possible.  Now, the circle is complete- Rey shows up to Luke and needs to be trained just like Luke was trained by Obi-Wan all those years ago.  Rey being a Kenobi rather than a Skywalker makes sense for a couple of reason.

  • She hear’s Obi-Wan’s voice in her hallucination when she picked up the lightsaber
  • Despite the fact that it was Anakin’s lightsaber, it was in Obi-Wan’s possession longer than it was Anakin’s, which is why it could have called to her
  • George Lucas has stated that Star Wars is a family drama about the Skywalkers; Disney could be trying to distance themselves from anything George-Lucas related by putting Rey at the forefront of this, minus Anakin’s grandson killing his father in The Force Awakens.

Rumor has it that Ewan Mcgregor has been talks to star in his own solo film or to appear in Episode VIII.  Having a son could be a route that Disney goes with a spin-off; Obi-Wan could secretly train a new Jedi, but really, who knows.

Of course, this is all speculation.  There is not one iota of solid reasoning in this argument.  Disney did this to me by liking a tweet of mine, and now I’m asserting that Obi-Wan Kenobi has a son.

What do you think of Obi-Wan Kenobi having a son?  Let me know in the comments!

 

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Has Begun Production; Here are my Predictions

thor-3-ragnarok-chris-hemsworthImage via Marvel

So, unless you live under a rock, you’ll have noticed that Chris Hemsworth put up a video that signaled production on the third Thor movie was underway.  Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t come until November 2017, but with production started, I will give my predictions for the film.

Expect a good villain out of Hela

thor ragnarok hela.jpgImage via Marvel

Despite the fact  that Tom Hiddleston graces the screen as Loki, the Thor movies aren’t exactly renowned for their choice of villains- first Laufey, and then Malekith, with both being equally questionable and forgettable character entries to the MCU (and they aren’t the only ones).  Hela, who will be played by Cate Blanchett, has a much bigger presence in the comics than either Laufey or Malekith, and should stir up some trouble for the God of Thunder.  Plus, Loki has shown that he plays nicely with other villains, to an extent.  So the interaction between the two should be interesting, given how Thor: The Dark World left the character.  Expect great things from Cate Blanchett, who up until this point in the MCU, has been my favorite casting of a villain, and I have high expectations of her.

Hulk will be smashing

avengers-age-of-ultron-could-set-up-planet-hulk-and-here-s-how-361429Image via Marvel

I’ve talked about how Marvel needs to make a ‘Planet Hulk’ movie.  Because of their pettiness in dealing with Universal, any solo Hulk movie seems unlikely.  But given the nature of what we’ve heard about Thor: Ragnarok, it’s perfectly likely that we could see some ‘Planet Hulk’ in the beginning.  After all, he was missing while all of his friends tried to kill each other in Captain America: Civil War.  Mark Ruffalo has also stated that he would like to explore the relationship between Banner and the Hulk, so that may work its way into the film.  Either way, Thor: Ragnarok is likely the closest we’ll ever get to a Hulk solo movie in the MCU.

Heimdall’s role will be expanded from previous films

Heimdall_DarkW1.jpgImage via Marvel

When Marvel started casting, they probably didn’t know Idris Elba would become the big name he is today.  Despite this, I’m sure that they are glad to have him.  Following his appearance in  Age of Ultron, Heimdall is sure to be featured more in this film.  I’m expecting him to jump into the action more in this film too, and not just at the gate, but really getting into it at Thor’s side, or even against him.  Either way, it’ll be interesting to see where Marvel takes Elba’s character.

Thanos and a set-up to Infinity War

thanos thor ragnarok infinity war.jpgImage via Marvel

After the events of Age of Ultron, we know Thor goes home to Asgard to try and make sense of why the Infinity Stones keep popping up, which is the reason he wasn’t hanging around on Earth to pick a side on the Sokovia Accords.  Somehow, he will find Thanos, and probably also Star-Lord and the other Guardians of the Galaxy.  I expect the post credits scenes to all MCU releases to be teasers for Thanos leading up to Infinity War, where I image Thor will swoop into earth just in time to alert Tony to round up the Avengers because trouble is on it’s way.

Jeff Goldblum will do Jeff Goldblum things

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Seriously, this man doesn’t even need to act.  In all honesty, I can’t wait to hear him say all of those weird Thor words.  He will be playing Grandmaster, who is a powerful being who likes to manipulate humans.  He should spice things up, especially for the Thor movies, which sometimes can be dragged down by unnecessary plot expositions…

Speaking of which…

kat-dennings-thor-2-chris-hemsworth.jpgImage via Marvel

It appears that Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings will not be reprising their roles as Dr. Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis in Thor: Ragnarok.  That the maker.  These two spent all of their time dragging down the Asgardians.  I have always said that DC Comics have better civilian characters than Marvel, which is just my opinion and I am happy to discuss it, but these two certainly helped justify it.  Here is an example of an exchange between the two:

Jane: Blah, blah, blah, science stuff, stars, sky, blah, science stuff, blah, blah, yadda, yadda yadda.

Darcy:  Oh Jane, you know I don’t know any of that science stuff!  I’m your unpaid intern derr.

These two actually contributed nothing  towards these movies and I’m glad they are gone.  Marvel has had a tough time figuring out how civilian characters can work into their plot; I’m talking about characters like Pepper Potts, or others who don’t have any hand in the main action of the film.

So, that does it for my major predictions for Thor: Ragnarok.  As we get closer to the release,  I’ll of course have more.

What are your predictions for Thor: Ragnarok? Let me know in the comments!