Recognition of the Joker’s significance stretches back to the character’s first appearance in April of 1940, when a last-minute editorial move saved the Clown Prince of Crime from a swift exit from Batman lore. Bill Finger, co-creator of the Caped Crusader himself, initially expressed a desire to kill off the villainous jokester before his ever-wise editor, Whitney Ellsworth, demanded that the character live on. And live on he has.
Over the many years that have passed since that fateful overturning of Finger’s creative decision, the Joker has appeared to us in many incarnations and iterations, the most notable of them being Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the character in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Now, with the release of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, musician-turned-actor Jared Leto attempts to fill Ledger’s impossibly big shoes by adding new fervor and new flavor to the role.
However, while Leto’s tatted-up take on Batman’s greatest adversary displays a level of commitment that’s as refreshing as it is terrifying, it fails to captivate and convince. He won’t stick with viewers the way Ledger did (and does), but he will cement himself as one of the most fascinatingly miscast versions of the character to ever grace the silver screen. And even if that’s not what we wanted, it’s still worth discussing.