Jared Leto – SUICIDE SQUAD THE JOKER LEGACY

The Joker Suicide Squad

What should be a flourishing anti-superhero adventure in the darker than Marvel universe of DC Comics is too dull to be exciting, wholly relying on the glorious array of distinctively unique villains picked by the government to take on the nasty elements of crime considered worse than themselves.

The excellent marketing campaign and solid trailers with Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody blaring in the background of explosions looked the goods, injecting much needed variety into the comic book cinema onslaught and highlighting terrifying character The Joker this time played a cackling Jared Leto, Oscar winner for Dallas Buyers Club and front-man for rock and roll outfit, 30 Seconds to Mars.

Surprisingly sensual, cupping his hands on the cheeks of people when talking to them leading a false sense of security before he strikes. While Leto does not reach the summit of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight he still impresses to the hilt of madness in what is unfortunately merely a glorified cameo.

Born on Christmas day 1971 Leto has been selective with challenging projects over his film career including parts in the underrated Panic Room (2002) modern classic Fight Club (1999) and part of the made in Australia war movie ensemble The Thin Red Line (1998).

Appearing in historical cult turkey Alexander (2004) didn’t hurt the image as much as it did his co-star Colin Farrell, although revisiting this  Oliver Stone epic is worth renewed appreciation.

Participating in the yuppie drama American Psycho (2000) where he succumbs to a vicious death by chainsaw scene inflicted from possible alter ego, a crazed Christian Bale personified Leto as an actor thinking outside the box at an early age. The same year Requiem for a Dream became a tenacious underground hit. Taking long breaks between his movie roles due to musical endevours successfully paid off playing to sold out stadiums globally while winning Grammy awards.

The grand Oscar glory for supporting actor in Dallas Buyers Club opposite best actor recipient Matthew McConaughey was his lead in to accepting the prize role of The Joker in Suicide Squad. A character Australia’s own the late Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for portraying him in The Dark Knight (2008).

The Joker has been a pivotal part of the Batman legacy from the beginning of the comic origins onto television and big screen incarnations, in what was to become his swansong, Ledger certainly was an unforgettable menace to society.

Legendary Cesar Romero took to the role on insisting to producers he kept his mustache on which led to the traditional Joker face paint worked into the whiskers. Unintentionally camp, the crash bang wallop television serial premiered in 1966 with ill fitting tight wearing Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and boy wonder Robin. Most recently Luke Skywalker himself Mark Hamill, reprises his vocal skills used in earlier caped crusader animated adventures voicing the unhinged character in, The Killing Joke.

As unbelievable as it may seem now with literally dozens of comic book inspired films locked into release dates beyond the next few years, so called superhero films were practically on the scrapheap in the 1980’s, seen by major film studios as unwanted fodder. That was until Warner Bros took a chance with the vision of young Director Tim Burton coming hot off the blockbuster hit Beetlejuice to make his version of Batman with supremely cool Jack Nicholson as his maniacal fiend. It took one conversation to convince Jack to become The Joker in 1989 and in a rare moment of thespian clarity for someone of his stature, Nicholson lowered his acting fee for a percentage of the box office takings. Smart move considering it became one of the massive blockbusters of the decade.

Clown faced, insatiable killer instincts possessed with a seductive sense of being, The Joker will obviously never be far from pop culture relativity and Jared Leto sure does continue the tradition prominently for a new generation.

Shane A.Bassett |@Movie_Analyst

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