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

death in the family jared leto joker robin.jpg

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!

‘Arkham Asylum” movie idea

Batman_Arkham_Asylum_Television_CreditsImage via Warner Bros.

Note: this post contains spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition.

The most major addition to the ultimate cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the confrontation between Batman and Lex Luthor at the end.  Luthor tells Batman that he is insane, and cannot stand trial.  Batman informs him that he has arranged for his transfer to Arkham Asylum, where the most criminally insane supervillains are kept locked up.  Arkham Asylum of course is the location of Grant Morrison’s graphic novel of the same name, where Batman must go into the madhouse after the prisoners, led by the Joker, take control.

This is one of the all-time great Batman stories, and they wouldn’t send Lex Luthor there if they weren’t going to do something with him in a later movie.  This got me thinking: how could an Arkham Asylum film fit into the DC Extended Universe?

The best answer is to do it in the second Batman solo film. By then, many villians will have been established in the DCEU and sent to Arkham.  DC won’t have to think of new villains to use, because they can use ones from previous films, with Lex Luthor being the first.  I have a feeling that by the time a second Batman solo film is made, we will see an older, more tired, darker version of Batman, who then must go into the prison and sort things out.

This is where my idea for this film gets interesting.  Lex Luthor would obviously be in the titular looney bin, but what about the Joker? The fact that DC confirmed three Jokers really makes this interesting, especially because at one point in the graphic novel says that the Joker ‘invents himself everyday’.  While there is only one Joker in that story, having multiple Jokers in one film, or even throughout the DCEU is an interesting idea, which could add to Batman’s character arc (especially if a fan theory is true and Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad is former Robin Jason Todd).  Willem Dafoe has not been confirmed in any role, but people are drawing a connection that he may be another one of the Jokers.  The Joker and Lex Luthor could run the show in Arkham- wouldn’t you rather see that than ‘Martha’?

Arkham Asylum is just as much about the villains as it is about Batman, which is why it is so interesting as a story.  It also shows that Batman and the villains operate on the same level.  Personally, I would love to see this on the big screen.  What is more iconic than the never-ending conflict between Batman and the Joker?

Anyways, everything I’ve said is pure speculation.  What do you think about possible seeing and Arkham movie in the DCEU? Tell me below in the comments!

My expectations for the Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’

joker-001-187980.pngImage via Warner Bros

Suicide Squad is currently the most buzzed about movie on social media, and rightfully so.  For a movie titled Suicide Squad, it looks particularly fun compared to the two previous entries in the cinematic universe it shares, the DC Extended Universe.  What excites me the most about this film is the return of the Joker to the big screen.

The Joker is one of those characters you can never get enough of- the character’s background is so vague that it makes it possible to have multiple versions of the character.  DC confirmed in their Reborn series that there is in fact three Jokers.  When I heard that Jared Leto had been cast as the character, I almost lost it, but it got me thinking: what if the character just doesn’t live up to expectations.  Suicide Squad already looks like a pretty ambitious film that was saddled with the responsibility of salvaging the DCEU in its early stages because of the reaction to both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Let’s backtrack a few years.  The last man to play the Joker on film set the bar for comic book villains portrayed on the big screen.  The Dark Knight, in my opinion, is the greatest comic book movie ever made.  Am I expecting Leto to try and top Ledger?

No, and the answer is simple.  I think they are playing different Jokers, made apparent by Leto’s face tats and metal teeth.  This Joker to me looks like a completely new take on the character- there are plenty of fan theories going around about who this Joker’s identity is, and I think over the course of the DCEU films we will find out.  Ledger’s Joker on the other hand, was without identity.  Think Killing Joke Joker- multiple backstories, doesn’t really know who he is, discussion of a never ending chase between him and Batman.

Leto’s inclusion in Suicide Squad is an interesting choice as well, considering that the Joker isn’t a member of the titular group in the comics.  We’ll just have to wait and see what he is up to.  Could he be better than Ledger? I think so.  Plus, Ben Affleck will be appearing as Batman, so there’s that.

What are your expectations for the Joker in Suicide Squad? Let me know in the comments.