Jared Leto’s gritty ’n grilled take on the Clown Prince of Crime was easily the most controversial part of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Early photos of Leto’s tatted-up Joker drew heavy criticism from fans and launched a million jokes on social media, where he was compared to everything from a Juggalo to a Hot Topic mascot — and that was before we found out about his wacky on-set “method acting” antics, which permanently cemented his status as a ridiculous human being. But if you thought that version of the Joker was obnoxious, boy do we have some concept art for you.
Listen, impressionable young men and women of the world, because this is important: you should not watch Suicide Squad and think that the Joker and Harley Quinn represent any kind of reasonable #RelationshipGoal. This is an abusive and possessive relationship, start to finish, and while there may be a more consensual love story scattered among the footage on the cutting room floor, we won’t know until we see it. This is a pretty important disclaimer to throw out there before we talk about this footage
Look, all things being equal, I really didn’t mind Jared Leto’s take on the Joker in Suicide Squad. Yes, the constant news items about what latest “crazy” thing he did to get in character were pretty annoying, and yes, the number of people who seem to think that Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship is something to emulate is downright disturbing, but Leto seemed like a perfect fit for the gloomy and angst-ridden universe that Warner Bros. has created for its DC Comics characters. At another studio, he’d be woefully out of place. In this one? He’s fine.
Movie fans will recognize Ninja and Yolandi Visser — collectively known as the group Die Antwoord — as the human stars of Chappie, Neill Blomkamp’s RoboCop/Short Circuit hybrid about a dystopian future where a police robot gains sentience and starts talking like Sharlto Copley. According to Die Antwoord, though, movie fans should also recognize them as the people who inspired the look of Suicide Squad, currently the biggest movie in America, shattering box office records left and right, even though they didn’t get any kind of credit or compensation.
By all accounts, a lot of stuff got cut out of Suicide Squad. If you believe the recent press reports, there were two totally different versions of the film competing for release: A darker take from director David Ayer, and a jokier movie edited in consultation with the company that made the film’s popular, upbeat trailers.
The box-office records it demolished over the weekend aren’t the only broken parts of Suicide Squad. For all its admittedly impressive financial success, the movie’s story is shockingly incoherent, and that’s when the film has a story at all. Sure, Will Smith was great and Margot Robbie made an impressively committed Harley Quinn. But in much the same way the Suicide Squad is held hostage in Midway City by sinister bureaucrats, Smith, Robbie, and company are trapped in a movie that gives them very little play and makes even less sense.