“Suicide Squad” director David Ayer has released an official version of Jared Leto’s Joker. Love it or hate it, one thing is clear: Warner Bros. thinks its target audience for the film is really stupid. In order to let everyone know that that The Joker isn’t a character worth emulating, a “Damaged” tattoo has been slapped across his forehead.
Most fans can get on board with a cheshire cat tattoo. They can accept a skull or playing cards. Writing “Damaged” across a villain’s forehead, however, just comes across as incredibly sad commentary on American culture. Warner Bros. could hardly do worse if “I am a bad guy” was scribbled across The Joker’s face.
When trying to decipher what studio heads were thinking when they decided to go the “We think our audience isn’t very bright” route, one must look for evidence that might lead them to such a conclusion. While there are many examples of moral relativism’s and political correctness’ adverse effects on our culture, perhaps the the most recent Joker-related evidence came in March; a bunch of feminists went into a white-hot rage over the character’s treatment of women.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story, a variant cover of Batgirl 41 was pulled when feminists deemed it “sickening.” Artist Rafael Albuquerque even turned on his own work, stating “My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art. For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled.”
It should be no surprise that an intellectually infantile culture caters to its big babies, but that doesn’t mean we have to like the situation. Perhaps “Suicide Squad” will be a good movie. Jared Leto may turn out an amazing performance. People complained when it was announced that Michael Keaton would play Batman and they complained years later when it was announced that Heath Ledger would play The Joker. In both instances the critics were wrong. Regardless, American culture was in a vastly different place in 1989, and no one will ever charge Christopher Nolan with treating his audience like a bunch of children.
Twenty years from now, will Warner Bros. reinvent Batman in a way where Bruce Wayne tattoos “Hero” on his forehead? It sounds ludicrous, but there are days when it doesn’t seem too far fetched. With luck, maybe Ryan Reynolds will release a Deadpool promotional image with a strategically-placed “Anti-hero” tattoo, just to show the world how weird it has become. If he did that, then I’d be there opening night.