Is Jared Leto ripping off Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker look?
Welp, it looks like it’s time to talk about Jared Leto’s divisive portrayal of the Joker again. We’re almost five years (and another new Joker) past when Leto portrayed the Prince of Crime in 2016’s Suicide Squad. From tales of Leto’s “method acting” aka sending used condoms to his castmates to, in our opinion, the frankly-trying-too-hard make-up for the character, we’re still hearing about him.
Why are we still hearing about him? Because of Zack Snyder and the upcoming four-hour release of Justice League: The Snyder Cut. Will it fix 2017’s Justice League? People certainly think it will. We have our doubts. The flaws of the DCEU cracked early & deep. Might as well just wipe the slate clean with The Flash, don’t go New 52, and try it again. But it’s incoming so might as well see if it fixes anything.
Either way, we still have to talk about Jared Leto and the Joker because God has stopped smiling on this timeline.
Amazing character you created. Honored to have our worlds collide. @DavidAyerMovies @JaredLeto pic.twitter.com/6FubzkPh4Y
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) February 2, 2021
How this all started
This all started when Zack Snyder took to Twitter yesterday to tweet the following image. It’s a very artsy shot that you’ve probably seen your “edgy” friend that’s sort of into photography do before. It shows a Joker card in the foreground while a blurry man in make-up in the background holds it up. Snyder also tagged both Leto & David Ayer, who directed 2016’s Suicide Squad.
It’s unclear if the man in the background is actually Jared Leto. Because, again, we can’t see his face. But Leto’s version of the Joker is involved in Justice League: The Snyder Cut. Soooo…maybe it’s showing Leto’s Joker? Either way, fans are confused about the make-up, which was not very clown-like in Suicide Squad. But…it certainly looks so here. So the question is: are they trying to capitalize on the success of 2019’s Joker?
What we can tell
Given that Justice League was filmed before Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. We’re going to say no. A more apt comparison here would be Heath Ledger’s Joker from 2008’s The Dark Knight Rises, who still terrifies us to this day when watching the movie. Jared Leto wishes his Joker was that good. And, to be totally honest, the make-up doesn’t even give us too much of those vibes either.
Maybe it’s just how blurry the picture is? But dude kind of looks like The Crow, which is another great movie based off a comic book. In the film, Brandon Lee’s character puts on white & black make-up that looks vaguely clown like. Why? Um, you know, it’s been a minute since we’ve seen the movie, so your guess is as good as ours. But if anyone’s being ripped off here, it’s The Crow.
So is Jared Leto sporting a new Joker look?
Maybe? Maybe, we’re going with a maybe. Going from film to film, especially between directors with different visual styles, sometimes character looks change. Look at the differences in costumes for, say, Steve Rogers from The Avengers to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Or how Batman’s costumes changed between directors and actors throughout the 90s.
It’s entirely possible that for Justice League, Snyder wanted to do a different look for the Joker. Something maybe a little more in line with how the character usually looks in film & television over the years. Ultimately, until we get a nice clear picture? We can’t say who was ripping off who. We’re still saying someone needs to talk with whoever worked on The Crow to come up with Brandon Lee’s make-up.
Justice League: The Snyder Cut will premiere on HBO Max on March 18.