Well, it doesn’t look like any Joker we’ve seen before. But, to be fair, we need to judge this latest interpretation in its own context. No comparisons to Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson here, folks.
Film is a visual medium and directors obviously know the importance of visuals. No respectable director would purposefully release an image that didn’t communicate exactly what they wanted to communicate.
So let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume all my questions below are exactly what the director wanted us to ask.
I’ll start with the big one:
What the actual fuck?
Who is this guy? Why is he topless and covered in tats? Why does he look like an LA street gang member? Is he an LA street gang member? Why am I supposed to care about a shock-rock reject, emo gang member? Is this look supposed to suggest a kind of juvenile machoism? Is that why he looks like a bad video game character? But then why isn’t he physically intimidating? Why is he striking a pose that suggests vulnerability? Why is he so obviously striking a ‘pose’? Does he do this pose a lot? Is this pose totally him? Did someone go to take a photo of him and he was like “wait, hold on, I’m gonna do my ‘arrrghh’ pose cos that’s totally me”? Why didn’t the other person tell him that’s a bad idea? Did the person taking the photo not care about how silly this looks?
Why has he got tattoos? When did he get them done? Was it when he was too young to know better? Is he embarrassed by them now? Is that why he’s like ‘noooooooo’ cos someone’s taking a photo of him without his top on and he doesn’t want it to go up on Instagram and make him look like a prat? Did he design the tattoos himself, or point at a picture on the wall of the tattoo parlour and say, “that skull, please”? Did he get drunk and wake up with hahahahahahaha written across his chest and go, “ohhhh, man, I was so wasted last night, what a mistake”? Is he proud of these tattoos? Why does he want everyone to know he’s damaged in the head? Is he physically damaged or emotionally damaged? Is that a cry for help? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him? Because if we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, why does he look like such a douche?
Why the jester and gambling iconography across his body? What does that mean to him? What’s the point of tattooing those things on his body? Does he walk around topless at parties to show these off? Does he like to take his top off in public and make old ladies nervous? Has he got a lot of time on his hands to get this kind of stuff done? Does he think he’s a fan of the Joker from the Batman comics and wants to prove how much of a fan he is in order to appear ‘edgy’ in front of his mates, but actually he’s only read a couple of graphic novels and doesn’t really get the character? Has he such a lack of a personality that he needs to draw on common iconography found elsewhere and stamp it on himself to claim an ‘identity’? Did he lose a bet?
Does he want to fit in with the rest of the LA street gang he’s a member of and prove how much of a badass he is but everyone teases him because he’s such a try-hard and is that why he thinks he’s ‘damaged’? Does he shave his body hair? Why does he dye his hair bright green? Does he think it makes him look cool? What’s up with his eyes? Is that make-up? Does he know he looks a bit like Marilyn Manson? Is that intentional? Why does he look like he’s about to cry?
Why does he wear a big, ugly gold ring on his pinky finger? Was it a gift from his granny? Does it have sentimental value? Does he like bling? Did he steal it or did he buy it? Is that supposed to show off how rich he is? And why does he wear a single purple satin glove? Is he a Michael Jackson fan? Is something wrong with his hand? Was that the only glove he could find? Does he realise it looks a bit silly? And that it makes people think of Michael Jackson? Is that a comparison he is happy for people to make? Or did he not really think about it?
What happened to his teeth? Does he think that makes him look scary or did he spend all his money on gold rings and couldn’t afford proper dentures? Why do his top teeth look rotten? Does he not brush properly and is that why he has fake teeth? Were they knocked out? Was he bullied and is that why he feels ‘damaged’? Why did he choose that font to express how ‘damaged’ he is? Does he think it’s poetic or romantic? Is this guy a bit of a romantic? Does he write poetry in swirly handwriting? Does he have a Tumblr account? Did he get these tats to impress girls?
Why is the photo taken at a completely flat level against a plain background and why is he tilting a little? Why does it look like he’s going “woooooaaaahhhh”? Why does the style, tone and shadowing look like something from a glossy magazine shoot? Is that what it’s supposed to look like? Or is this supposed to be something like a mugshot taken by the police? Did the police ask him to take his clothes off, but told him to keep on the glove and the ring? Why would they do that? Or did they arrest him while he was walking around topless? Why does he walk around topless? Does he not wear clothes? If he usually wears clothes why have they released a photo of him not wearing clothes? Is it just so we can see his stupid tattoos?
Why is he holding his head like that? Does he have a headache? He looks like he’s freeeeeeeaking out. Did he ingest some bad ‘shrooms? Why is he like “nooooooooo what have I done!?”? Why does this look like a bad album cover?
Why is he not far enough away to look hauntingly remote and mysterious, yet not close enough to look intimidating and intense? Why is he perfectly positioned to look like a normal, average guy with stupid tattoos and make-up pulling a funny face? Is the point that he’s just a normal guy with stupid tattoos and make-up pulling a funny face? If that’s the point, are we supposed to get excited?
Why did they take a good actor, cover him in so much distracting shit that it completely buries any characterisation he might be trying to pull off, and then make him do a pose that looks like something out of a shitty music video?
Do they want us to think the movie is going to be shit?