While there are the hands full of negative reviews floating around was any of this negativity necessary? Upon watching the trailers one might expect to see Joker as a main component of the film especially after the last time we saw the Joker, who was immaculately portrayed by Heath Ledger. However, comparing Leto’s portrayals to Ledger’s would be apples to oranges to say the least. This new DC, Snyder saga exists within the Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns universe.
This goes for Batman vs Superman and subsequent films. That said, Leto did a phenomenal job emulating Miller’s Joker. For those unfamiliar, this joker is signifigantly more muscular then the ledger Joker not to mention his androgynous looks which were both elements of Miller’s joker. In Miller’s comic both batman and Joker are signifigantly older, Batman an unhinged vigilante and Joker a prisoner of Arkham. As a prisoner, Joker would have very little to do other then work out and get prison tattoos, which is apparent in Leto’s appearance. Snyder wants to imply that this universe may be many years after the Nolan universe which makes sense. Miller also portrays the joker as a gangster in his comics, which is further justified by Leto’s portrayal in Suicide Squad. Without giving too much away, the film is purely Harley’s film. The movie is about how a young naive psychologist who’s flaws were exploited and which became a love affair with her patient. Most of the relationship that is known about Joker and Harley is that of abuse and mind control, however I’ve known toxic relationships vary similar to theirs. Most realistic toxic relationships are far more psychological and similar to a drug addiction. By trimming out the blatant abuse, it makes the relationship far more believable. Harley must have enough intelligence to stay away from who she thinks is directly dangerous to her, instead Joker is indirectly dangerous to her by exposing her to dangerous situations and people. It’s not entirely a one-sided relationship, it’s a dependent toxic relationship. Harley wanted something to believe in, which is Joker, and Joker wants some one who will be there for him regardless of what is going on in his life which is Harley. While it isn’t stated in the film, Joker knows that Harley has mistakes and problems and he exploits those issues to break her down to his level. There is a dichotomy to their relationship they both need each other like a junkie needs a fix. Harley had the criminal deep within, which she suppressed, Joker merely encouraged it. With that said, Joker works best in this film as a presence rather then a direct role. When he’s missing from the screen you feel Harley’s desire to see him again. I felt myself rooting for the return of Joker and their relationship even though I knew they both would be signifigantly healthier away from one another. The remainder of the cast was stellar and overall was a fantastic film. While the DC universe has been signifigantly gritter as of late, it’s slowly giving Marvel a run for its money.