Over the years, we had many adaptations of the most notable villain in comic book history – Joker. Batman’s biggest foe and rival were reborn in the Suicide Squad movie released in 2016 by Jared Leto. In the movie, Joker is an extreme, psychotic crime lord from Gotham City who is greatly feared among the underground criminal leaders, including Roman Sionis, Black Mask, who is also a long-time rival of the lunatic. Joker is twisted and insane in the movie but is shown to have some feelings for his on-and-off girlfriend, Harley Quinn, who is imprisoned by Amanda Waller and later recruited into Task Force X. Suicide Squad movie left a lot of questions about some of the characters, and this article will discuss does Joker die in the movie.
Joker survives in the Suicide Squad movie. After the Battle of Midway City, the squad is seen trying to defeat Enchantress, the movie’s main villain. Joker comes in and tries to save Harley Quinn in a helicopter, but the explosion stops the reunion, and the psychopath of Gotham City is presumed dead. However, when the Suicide Squad members are imprisoned in Belle Reve after defeating Enchantress, Incubus, and their army of monsters, Joker comes with his gang and breaks out Harley from prison, showing us that he is alive and well.
We will discuss this topic more by explaining Leto’s Joker in the Suicide Squad movie, the state of his character after the first movie, and his relationship with Harley Quinn. If you are interested, stay with us until the end of the article.
Joker in DC Extended Universe
We had many adaptations of the most notable villains in comic book history – from Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger to Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix. In this case, the Joker of this topic is one of Jared Leto’s portrayals, who appeared in the movie Suicide Squad, released in 2016.
In this version of the character, Joker is a psychotic crime lord from Gotham City who everyone fears. He shares much with his comic book version of the character but simultaneously is vastly different. In one interview, Jared Leto said that his character’s theatricality and flamboyance stem from the famous singer and personality David Bowie. Now, some people will say this version of Joker was far from what the psychotic villain of Batman is, and I would agree, but the character is still in the movie and part of the DCEU.
The character of Joker in Suicide Squad is evil, completely psychotic, and doesn’t have any regard for others and their well beings. Before he appeared in the movie, Joker killed Batman’s son and sidekick, Robin, who emotionally and physically abused Harley Quinn and implanted a nano-bomb on Dr. Van Criss’s neck.
He is sadistic, finds joy in other people’s suffering, and is extremely manipulative, which he uses to seduce and attract Harley Quinn, formerly Dr. Harleen Quinzel. Simply put, Joker is an awful, twisted, and manipulative individual without regard for human life. In Suicide Squad, Joker is everything we mentioned before but is also extremely twisted and sexual and uses the latter to “butter up” male and female characters. Of course, he is also extremely intelligent and always has the upper hand over anyone, only adding more to his notoriety.
However, even though everything he possesses is twisted, Joker is presented as an individual with romantic feelings for Harley Quinn. Now, one can discuss Joker’s definition of love in many different ways. Still, in the movie, he does some romantic feelings for Harley, who the psychotic villain absolutely smites.
In Suicide Squad movie, Leto’s Joker actually has only ten minutes of screen time, which was controversial at the time of the movie’s release. However, he still had some significant moments, which we will explain in the article’s next section.
Does Joker die in the Suicide Squad?
The premise of Suicide Squad revolves around a group of supervillains who are recruited by a secret government organization A.R.G.U.S., led by Amanda Waller. The villains are tasked with executing dangerous plans that superheroes don’t want to do. In this movie, Suicide Squad must stop a witch called Enchantress, killing everyone in her sight.
Joker isn’t part of the Suicide Squad, but only appears as a crime lord of Gotham City and the psychotic boyfriend of Harley Quinn. His role in the movie is mostly spent in scenes with Harley Quinn, and he appears in the movie through her origin story parts of the movie, and when the psychotic villain wants to extract her from Suicide Squad. Of course, that meant that Joker wasn’t a big part of the movie, confusing some fans.
Joker arrives in Midway City intending to save Harley Quinn, but the plan fails when Amanda Waller shoots his helicopter from the sky. Joker is presumed dead, and Harley is devastated but continues the mission with the rest of the Suicide Squad.
After Suicide Squad defeats Enchantress and her goons, Amanda Waller sends Suicide Squad members back to Belle Reve with deducted prison sentences. While just hanging around and doing her own thing in a cell, the wall explodes, and Joker’s gang starts extracting Harley Quinn from the prison – it is revealed that Joker is alive and has survived the helicopter explosion.
Leto’s Joker actually doesn’t appear anymore because Harley’s break out from prison is the last scene in the movie, and the mid-credits scene features Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne.
Joker’s character does feature in the Birds of Prey movie from 2020, mostly as part of Harley’s memories. Furthermore, Harley uses her relationship with Joker as a learning experience to move forward in her life. Technically, Joker never died in Snyder’s DC Extended Universe – only the alternate version of the character, who was part of the Knightmare future, featured in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
However, the character got easily forgotten after the poor reception from the fans, and the fact that we got Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the character, which was much better portrayed in the standalone movie Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, says a lot about that era of DC Extended Universe.
DC Studios confirmed that Phoenix’s Joker is part of the Elseworlds, the alternate and different universe than the DC canon universe.