With a four-hour-long run time, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is The Movie To Watch in 2021. With the focus set on the Knightmare sequence (the post-apocalyptic future that Batman is shown in a dream that sees Darkseid take over Earth), we will see the darker, grittier, more character-heavy (i.e. more character development for the newer characters of Cyborg and the Flash) movie also brings in a new, less expected character: the Joker. After the massive let down that was her Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’, Jared Leto is given a second chance at bringing the iconic villain to life. And in the same way that Snyder has revamped 2017’s ‘Justice League’, Leto has revamped his 2017 Joker for the cut. But what exactly is different?
From the glimpses that we’ve been given thus far, let’s start with the most obvious difference…
He looks nothing like his 2017 character.
Talk about an overhaul! When Jared Leto’s Joker was first introduced in the 2017 movie, fans and critics alike were quick to bash the choice for the character’s appearance. His role was made more comic book-ish/”in with the times” with the many tattoos (that Leto brandishes while being shirtless for some reason), the silver grills, chunky gold chain. ‘Suicide Squad’ director David Ayer had wanted “a modernized gangster look” for the character. With that, the only thing that was remotely reminiscent of his comic book origins (appearance-wise) was his neon green hair and occasional purple jacket. While we don’t see much of the 2021 Joker’s costumes (a grimy hospital gown and a SWAT vest), you can already tell that Zack Snyder’s Joker has more depth to him. Gone is the shine, the glitter, the gold and in its place: memorabilia from slain officers (the SWAT vest) and a tattoo-less (either done away with completely using cakier makeup or possibly just subtly hidden), quietly morbid Joker.
Ahhh, you just know Jared Leto’s 2021 Joker is ready to introduce a little anarchy, a little chaos.
Even his voice is different.
The official trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League is of course where we first get to hear the reinvented Joker. At 1:55, a raspy, somewhat forlorn voice is heard saying, “We live in a society, where honour is a distant memory,”. Then, we see the back of someone with green hair.
Now, if we revisit a line from the 2017 ‘Suicide Squad’ movie, at 2:19, Joker … erm… makes a guttural, almost snorty sound before sliding his line, “I could tell you meant that,” across.
It couldn’t have been easy to make a change as big as one’s delivery of the lines given. After all, Jared Leto spent a considerable amount of time developing his 2017 Joker (only to have a majority of it cut out from the movie). With that being said, the monumental difference between the delivery of his one line in the Justice League trailer is a step away from his occasionally higher-pitched, guttural, mumbly 2017 portrayal. It is as if the Joker in Snyder’s cut has woken up from a medically induced stupor with his wits about him, bringing back the vicious, calculating, the psychopathic killer that he is known to be. Will we also get to see the same heightened sense of self-awareness that the Joker has had in the comics in the movie? If the darker, more cynical approach to the character we’ve seen thus far is any indication, we might finally get to see Jared Leto do the role justice.
He may not actually be against Batman in this one.
Hearing that Jared Leto’s Joker would be in the Snyder cut was a little bit of a shock, ngl. What was he doing in the Justice League? Of course, it’s not entirely unplausible: Batman is there. And if the minute reference Snyder had planted in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ was any indication of their connection, Snyder recently revealed that he had always wanted to explore the idea of bringing together the two ‘new’ portrayals of the characters together. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Snyder addressed the dreamlike sequence involving Ben Affleck’s Batman and Leto’s Joker, revealing:
“The cool thing about the scene is that it’s Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman. It’s Joker analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is. That’s the thing I also felt like fans deserved from the DC Universe. That is to say, the Jared Leto Joker and the Ben Affleck Batman, they never really got together. It seemed uncool to me that we would make it all the way through this incarnation of Batman and Joker without seeing them come together.”
And by together, he might also be hinting at the possibility of the two working together. After all, Darkseid is a threat to the Joker – where will he wreak havoc and who will he torture if Darkseid succeeds in his plan in taking over the Earth?