One cannot deny that there is a universal difference between Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker, and the performance we’ve recently seen by Jared Leto in the Suicide Squad movie. In fact, the two are so different that it’s hard to even make a comparison. Apart from each actor’s skill and rendition of the famous character, there are other factors to keep in mind, such as the different directors and the huge difference in screen time. But this is what our Previous Joker Vs New Joker concept slot is all about – making the two stand toe to toe.
Before getting down and dirty, we have to point out some things that counted against Leto. First of all, they guy only got about 10 minutes of screen time, and Ledger got 40. For a villain Ledger had more than enough room to establish his persona. Leto on the other hand, had to make the most of his short moment, which could be why he took the Joker’s neurotic twitches closer to insanity. Suicide Squad also consists of a larger crew and several big shots, including Will Smith. The pressure to perform is understandable.
Then of course you have to wonder what went through Leto’s mind as he prepared. If he chose to copycat Ledger and tried to continue where he had left off, there was a big chance it could backfire. With everyone so in love with Ledger’s legend, it was the safer bet to come up with something more original, hence the version we see in Suicide Squad.
Last but not least, we have to remember that the director plays a vital role in the outcome of the character. Nobody knows how much input David Ayer had towards the final result of Let’s Joker. Plus, it’s the director who chooses which shots are ultimately used.
If this was a typical boxing match, then Ledger would be the heavyweight and Leto the underdog. This isn’t a personal attack on Leto, it’s just that Ledger has some great roles under his belt, while Leto is better with recording hits. This was a movie, not a soundtrack. Which means the first guy to receive a punch would be Leto. It took viewers of the Batman movie all of 5 seconds to love Ledger’s approach. There wasn’t an aftermath where you thought, “Was he really good? Or did he completely suck?”. He had the perfect balance of brilliant and crazy, the nightmarish intimidation, and the look of a guy that wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter anyone without blinking. This was a villain that can really scare you if he wasn’t just a comic book character, because there always seemed to be motive behind every word he spoke.
Unfortunately the second punch will also land on Leto’s chin, given the large negative reaction from viewers. Even though there are those who love what he did, it’s a clear cut case of either loving or hating it.
But Leto retaliates with a punch of his own, because this wasn’t a Batman movie. It’s wasn’t meant to be as dark and serious. In other words, would Ledger’s take have blended with the specific film? Or better yet, would it have been more suitable than what Leto did?
The Final Verdict
Maybe Leto can creep into the hearts of more fans when the solo Batman film comes out, but until then Ledger remains at the top. However, it’s not the way our Previous Joker vs New Joker is going to be balanced. With our twist there will be a fair fighting ground for both, and you can support whoever you like.