Filmmaker David Ayer's 2016 movie Suicide Squad was met with a storm of criticism upon its release. Possibly the biggest point of contention was the movie's take on Joker, played by Jared Leto. Many fans accused Ayer of fundamentally misunderstanding the character and turning him into something unrecognizable. But according to Ayer, his take on Joker may be the most comic-accurate yet, as he wrote in a recent tweet.
Amazing. Tracks exactly with how I built the looks - "Not comic book accurate" I can't..."
The tweet was in response to a fan, who had compiled a series of photos of Suicide Squad Joker, and placed them next to famous Batman comics with similar artwork. After looking at the live-action photos side by side with the artwork, culled from comics from 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, 1999's Batman: Harley Quinn, 2008's Batman R.I.P., and 2015's Batman: Endgame, it becomes clear that David Ayer had taken great pains to ensure the look of the Joker matched his look from some of the best comic book stories the character has ever appeared in.
The photos also show that even the most controversial aspects of Joker's look in the film had a solid base in the comics. The overbright, silver suit, the tattoos all over the front and back of the torso, the carefully slicked back green hair are all fashion choices that Ayer ripped straight from the comics. Even the Joker promo image that was made fun of the most, featuring Joker clutching his hair and screaming with many HAHAHAs adorning his chest, was a replica of one of the most famous panels from possibly the most famous Joker comic of all time, The Killing Joke.
The criticism for Joker's look in Suicide Squad was partly a result of general audiences not being aware of the character's many different looks from the comics. For the majority of the people who saw the film, the only point of reference was Heath Ledger's brooding and bedraggled take on the character. Seeing a new Joker who wore suits and had carefully crafted tattoos adorning his body felt alien to Ledger's Joker, even if it was quite comic-accurate.
Of course, while the look of Joker might be comic-accurate, what ultimately threw fans off was Jared Leto's acting, which Honest Trailers described as 'Jim Carrey crossed with a cat'. But again, this criticism might be unfair, since Leto was only in the movie for a total of ten minutes, and according to Ayer, most of the actor's work that would have better established the character was cut from the film.
Now Ayer is campaigning to be allowed to release the director's cut of Suicide Squad in the vein of next year's Zack Snyder's Justice League. The filmmaker has promised his version of the movie would be a better experience than what audiences got to see in theaters. The question now is whether Warner Bros. would want to take a chance on the 'Ayer cut', with James Gunn's reboot of the franchise geared for release next year.