Suicide Squad writer and director, David Ayer, took the time to interact with some fans over Twitter earlier this week about how misunderstood the character of the Joker, portrayed by Jared Leto, was in the 2016 DCEU film. Despite the immense hype that surrounded the super-villain centred movie prior to its release, Suicide Squad proved to be a widespread disappointment, with many diehard fans and newcomers alike regarding Jared’s depiction of the Joker as particularly awful. Although he did have some large shoes to fill—most notably the late Heath Ledger’s in 2008’s The Dark Knight—his performance was still less than impressive, with some even deeming it the worst onscreen portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in history.
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However, Ayer certainly doesn’t feel that way. In fact, he sympathizes with Jared to this day due to how much work he put into the character, only for it to be criticized so heavily. The filmmaker responded to a fan’s explanation of why the Joker’s notoriously mocked “Damaged” tattoo across his forehead was actually “ingenious” given the back story.
“I think the damaged tattoo is actually pretty ingenious, but only for those who understand,” the fan tweeted. “Joker got the tattoo because batman damaged his smile in a failed attempt at revenge for killing Robin. All with the intent to antagonize and infuriate Batman simply by seeing his face.” Ayer replied that that was “exactly” right, but another fan was less than satisfied with this. “Sorry David. If that was indeed the explanation, it was your job to clearly convey that to your audience during the film,” they replied. “Not on a twitter feed years later. Leto was done a disservice by omitting that story point, as I’m sure every acting choice he made was informed by that.”
Ayer jokingly replied, “I am shame” to the semi-sarcastic tweet, before responding to another fan who chimed in on the Joker discourse.
“Despite how much some DCEU fans love Jared’s Joker, he was too creepy for compassion, and his look didn’t convince everyone like Batfleck did, appearances matter,” the fan tweeted. “David, you’re dealing with nerds who dislike Henry’s Superman because he doesn’t wear the trunk, you know that right?” Ayer acknowledged the fan’s concerns, responding, “For sure character creation is a tightrope. I took inspiration from the current DC comics.”
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“I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later,” he continued. “My heart breaks for Jared – he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen.” Ultimately, it looks like the biggest issue with Jared’s Joker was that the character didn’t receive enough screen time in the final cut. What are your thoughts on this years-long debate?