Friday, 24 April 2015

Leto's Joker: a brief character design analysis

This is probably going to be covered a lot, so I am going to use it as more of an exercise in character design theory than an article I expect anybody to give a damn about, so get ready for some poorly formatted ramblage.

My feelings towards this image are mixed. While I do think this is an undoubtedly beautiful piece of character design, there is a lot I have to complain about.

Obviously there are some major differences in his design, taking it in a more Marylin Manson, 90s NĂ¼-metal kid, "My Dad doesn't understand me" direction, but I feel that in the context of the suicide squad this is a good decision. It comes across a lot more punk, anti-hero than "rich white bastard with a nice taylor"

Now on to the tattoos. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely dig the idea of Joker with his impulsiveness walking into a tattoo parlor and inking himself head to toe. This isn't out of character and actually looks pretty sweet, but then you take a closer look. I know he is a narcissist, but they are some pretty masturbatory tattoos even for him. Not only masturbatory but weirdly self-aware and pop-cultural. They are the tattoos of a fan of batman gets; It's like if Bruce Wayne wore one of those batman logo shirts fat guys wear at comic book conventions.

Oh and whoever thought of him having the word "damaged" tattooed on his forehead can fuck off. There is absolutely nothing clever, or even appropriate to the character about this. We guessed he was damaged without this little visual clue, lads and the fact that he acknowledges himself as damaged to the degree where he will mark the fact on his face forever just feels so... not him. He was never one for reflecting or brooding, he just does shit he thinks is funny, poetic or will prove some unusual point. And again, he is a narcissistic sociopath, why would it even occur to him there was anything wrong with him, let alone feel the need to point it out to his mates. This is the man who cut his face off as part of his plan. clearly he doesn't give a shit about his physical or mental state.

The other stuff really works for me. The grill, the makeup, the hair, he looks like a guy who's done some shit, and done the time that comes with it. There is some really sinister, cannibal quality to his appearance, and what's more is he actually looks like some people I've met at gigs. He's legitimately horrifying to look at with his haunting and iconic state of uncontrollable, maniacal hysterics.

So all in all I'd say I'm pretty impressed if not for some quite prominent niggles. Hopefully Suicide Squad is as interesting as its looking to be.

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