Flash-back a couple of years to when Jared Leto revealed his juggalo pimp version of the Joker (as tightly inspired by the comics as he was) and you get a very clear picture of how NOT to excite a fan-base with a new version of an iconic character. It was excessive, garish, way too on the nose ("damaged" anyone?) and it just wasn't what anyone really wanted.
The thing is though, as happens with everything that replaces another thing (or seeks to), that Joker was a response to Heath Ledger's predecessor. Leto and David Ayer had to do something different and they didn't do it well. They got the difference right though, you have to hand THAT to them. And at least we can now be thankful to them for allowing Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix to reveal their new Joker in a different, superior way too.
The hotly-anticipated (but slightly controversial) Joker origin movie seems to be hurtling forward quicker than anyone could have anticipated - especially considering the fact that Phoenix was naysaying rumours not so long ago. And now, finally, we have an idea of what the lead actor is going to look like in full clown make-up.
The look was revealed thanks to Warner Bros on Twitter with a simple, effective preview that heavily draws on Scorsese's King Of Comedy (as we knew it would) and also hints at The Man Who Laughs being the key story with the choice of The Guess Who's "Laughing" as the music.
In short, it's great and it genuinely whips up more excitement whether you think the film should exist or not. Sure, it's presented as a camera test, but it gives some insight and it looks like the test is a narrative gimmick more than anything.
Anyone else picking up a John Wayne Gacy vibe?
Whether this is what he'll look like as the Joker by the end of the movie is a different matter. He'll probably go through something more permanently disfiguring to mark his full transformation, but the good thing about this look is that you can imagine that it WOULD work. Just imagine the bravery of allowing Phoenix's performance speak louder than the character design...
Maybe that's the perfect antidote to Leto's Joker, actually...?