Yesterday, Variety announced that we would be getting a third Joker film. That’s right. A third film. And that’s not if you include the Suicide Squad sequel! There is a non-DCEU Joker film in pre-production plus a DCEU Joker and Harley Quinn movie that has been announced. According to the site, this new addition would star Jared Leto as the clown prince of crime in his own film outside of the glorified cameo in Suicide Squad and the Harley and Joker film. So the first question you have to ask is – why?

Well outside of being Joker-overkill with 3 films on the way starring the character, we have to talk about Leto’s Joker. In Suicide Squad, the Joker held very little qualities to the character we’ve seen throughout his over 75 year history. Leto’s version was a mobster, adorned in tattoos, and drove a purple Lambo. In Suicide Squad, there were no plots to kill Batman. There were no plans of chaos in the streets. There were no…jokes or gags. To acknowledge, the Joker has worn many different hats throughout his long history. The character would be stale if he was just always did the same things. But what Leto failed to capture was the mystery and danger of the character. You never know what he’s going to do next. You can’t just dye your hair green, send co-stars rats (yes, Leto did that), and portray him as a thug. There’s much more to him than that. He wouldn’t have been one of the most iconic villains and Batman’s greatest nemesis if he was just a glorified thug.

The second reason has to do with Joker’s relationship with Harley in general. Their relationship is abusive. Mentally and physically – there are zero questions about that. As much as I love watching the Joker and his master schemes to try to take down Batman, I don’t like seeing him abuse Harley. And this Joker is no different, treating Harley like an object he owns rather than a woman that is absolutely bonkers about him. He can’t stand to see someone else have his property, busting through jail cells to get her back. He even gives her as a “gift” to another gang leader. In the time of #METOO and #TIMESUP, we do not need to take steps backwards by sharing their abuse further.

And if you would humor me a moment, I understand that Leto’s Joker got very little screen time in Suicide Squad. Only 7 minutes, in fact. But the Joker scenes that standout to me the most are the club scene where he growls predatorily while Harley sits in another man’s lap and when he lays in a perfect circle of knives pointing towards him. These scenes did not tell me that he’s Joker. The Joker’s essence wasn’t portrayed in the 7 minutes. The Joker works best as a piece of the puzzle in these stories, not the main focus. He loses his shock factor if all we see is his point of view. 

WB needs to keep their focus on the female side of Gotham in the Birds of Prey/Gotham City Sirens film. We have far too many films of male villains – human or otherwise. Joker is a fantastic villain and one that is praised up and down. But we don’t need yet another story of his, especially the abusive thug version. It’s time for other characters to take the spotlight.

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Erin Lynch