Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Joker Returns to the Screen in Suicide Squad

The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime is the first academic work to provide a comprehensive study Batman's arch-nemesis in comics, television, in film. While there has been a great deal of scholarly attention paid towards superheroes, very little has been done on the topic of supervillains. This book, now available in paperback, edited by Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner attempts to fill this void by starting with the iconic Joker— one of the most recognizable comics’ characters in popular culture.

Also giving due to supervillains is the upcoming film Suicide Squad. Due out later this summer, the film is about a secret government agency named A.R.G.U.S that creates a task force comprised of super villains, the "Suicide Squad". They are assigned to execute dangerous tasks in exchange for shorter prison sentences. And, yes, The Joker, portrayed by Jared Leto, will be featured in the film.




Editors Peaslee and Weiner had this to say in anticipation of yet another iteration of The Joker on screen.

However Jared Leto reinterprets the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad, he will most likely avoid duplicating previous iterations. From the 1940s to today, Jokers (whether drawn, written, voiced, or embodied) are often quite different, and yet there is always something undeniably Jokeresque (whether it is the 1950s prankster or today's smiling sadist). The character is malleable, and we often get the Joker that fits each historical moment. What will the Joker look, sound and act like in 2016, the era of Trump, ISIS, and public memorialization of groundbreaking, gender-queer performers like Bowie and Prince? How will audiences receive him? 
We look forward to Leto’s interpretation, especially since Batman, it appears, will play a much less significant role than is normal for a story in which the Joker appears. In fact, Suicide Squad appears to be positioning itself as a film about Harley Quinn more than anything else. Harley is one of the most popular characters among fans, a favorite choice for cosplay at conventions. 
We hope that the new film will give Harley the chance to shine that the previous animated series have not. She no longer has to stand in the Joker’s shadow as a character. Perhaps the most revolutionary thing Leto could do as the Joker, ultimately, is take a back seat.

Watch the trailer for Suicide Squad below. 

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