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In Defense of Jared Leto's 'Suicide Squad' Joker

By Jodi Smith | DC Movies | August 8, 2016 |

By Jodi Smith | DC Movies | August 8, 2016 |

I saw Suicide Squad on Friday and I enjoyed the hell out of it. It was flawed, but no more than any of my least favorite Marvel flicks. I didn’t think it was confusing or strangely cut, but in the case of comic book movies I tend to go with the flow until the flow slams into a wall. Maybe it was the beer or my vastly superior intellect beer, but I was able to go along with the logic and the world David Ayer created from the history available to him.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was amazing. Will Smith as Deadshot made me remember why he was the king of summer movies for a run. Jai Courtney has finally played a character that allowed him to showcase a personality and will allow me to remember he isn’t that boring Aussie dude, the one in the Terminator: Salvation movie. Viola Davis was the baddest Amanda Waller the world will ever see and dominated all of her scenes.

If I could go even one step further, I also enjoyed Jared Leto’s iteration of The Joker.


Let the record show that I do not like the tattoos, the grill, or the costumes. I’m talking about what Leto put into the performance. The charisma. The sliminess. The obsession in those wide eyes. The self-centered narcissism present in every move he made. The self-preservation to the detriment of anyone who slows him down. All of this was evident in the scenes that stayed in the movie and the performance Leto was able to give.

I appreciate this. I don’t quite agree with the idea of Leto becoming the embodiment of these characteristics while not filming, but I can understand the sort of freedom and glee that would come with that sort of method acting. Perhaps Leto felt like he had some huge clown shoes to step into and he needed to do something to make his Clown Prince of Crime stand out. He wanted to make his mark apart from the tattooed Juggalo appearance. I’m sure there are better ways to do that, but I’m not an actor.

In the end, Leto was able to take a finite amount of screentime and give us a look at just how this version of The Joker operates. We saw how his dysfunctional relationship with Harley isn’t as one-sided as most of his actions may have us believe. We saw his passion for chaos and single-minded focus on his chosen goal. What else could we have asked him to do?