Jared Leto got a lot of buzz for his performance as the Joker in the recently released movie, Suicide Squad. But one author/podcast host, and a growing number of critics and moviegoers, feel the execution was the 180-degree opposite of immediate predecessor Heath Ledger.
In a recent clip on the Adam Carolla Podcast, author and co-host Bryan Bishop (Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor That Tried to Kill Me), ripped apart the Jared Leto version of the Joker, claiming that it belonged at the top of a “great actors who give bad performances” list.
Ridiculing the “Damaged” tattoo on Joker’s forehead that has been the impetus of much criticism — with some referring to him as an Emo Hot Topic Batman villain — Bishop mused that “Heath Ledger won the Oscar for playing a comic book villain, and now we have this.”
— JAREDLETO.COM (@JaredLeto_com) August 12, 2016
He continued as follows.
“A few years ago on the podcast, we did the top five good actors in bad performances because sometimes you’ll get a good actor who delivers a bad performance. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, you know. Some guys are good, but when it comes to this type of part, they just don’t have it. Jared Leto jumps to the top of the list in this movie. Every choice he makes in this movie is wrong.”
Bishop also criticized DC and Warner for selling fans on the idea that Jared Leto’s Joker would have a bigger part in the film, lamenting — even while hating the performance — that “his screen time is at about five and a half minutes.”
“He has as much screen time in the trailer as he does in the movie,” Bishop said. “Viola Davis, the 50-year-old government bureaucrat, has five times the screen time. It’s a great bait-and-switch swindle.”
Bishop’s criticisms are not unique. A look at the Rotten Tomatoes score shows that the film started low in the critical consensus and has fallen ever since. It now sits at 26 percent “rotten” out of 273 reviews.
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The fan rating has taken a tumble as well, starting at 99 percent interest and falling to 70 percent in a week’s time.
One of the frequent criticisms isn’t just about Jared Leto as Joker, but about the strange world that the film inhabits where villains like Harley Quinn, who have no superpowers, are able to compete with 1,000-year-old witches.
This back-and-forth toggle caused many of the 202 critics that gave it a “rotten” rating to lament that the film makes it tough for the audience to suspend disbelief.
But going back to the Jared Leto Joker performance, critics are pretty well aligned with Bishop in their dismissal of it, with some even accusing Leto of trying to be too much like Ledger but misinterpreting what it was about the late actor’s performance that made it resonate.
Ledger drilled down into the real depravity that was motivating Joker. He made him a real crazy person and not just a character who thinks it’s cool to be crazy.
Heath ledger played the best joker. Have a nice day pic.twitter.com/YH8ekwGal0
— neelu (@tomIinice) August 12, 2016
But what do you think, readers?
Is all this criticism for the Jared Leto Joker fair, or did the star give a better performance than he’s getting credit for? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via DC, Warner]