As is inevitable in this ever connected society, people giddily sharing, shouting about or snidely remarking on certain 'geekier' developments in the world make it difficult to keep myself from seeing the things that I may not want to see.
Case in point: Suicide Squad.
I relented to my own curiosity and peeked at the first cast photo, just to acquaint myself with the talent on display, I briefly glimpsed the initial morsel of Jared Leto that now seems a red herring with fanboys and theorists clamouring to point out the allusions to The Killing Joke.
But before I even knew I'd have to start avoiding the first full image of Leto's Joker it had been splashed across facebook.
And I don't like it.
I'm not a fool. I'm not gonna simply shoot my mouth off and say it's wrong and gonna be terrible. Geeks have been burned before by exuberant expectation and unfounded ire. We've still got a massive promotional trail to get through, heck, they've gotta start shooting the bloody thing!! And all we have to go on is one out of context image that didn't even hint at any kind of mystery or subtlety.
But I still don't like it. I would at least walk you through what I think are my rational decisions.
Obviously previous big-screen incarnations of The Joker have been about re-envisioning or reinventing something that has already been firm in our memories, from ’66 to ’89 and again in 2008, each new portrayal had to break the mould of the previous and this new version is no exception, so allow me to scrutinise a little further...
The deathly pale, skinny, manic look of a deranged crack addict... I can live with this.
Bright green hair, a single purple glove and either some pimped out teeth or a hygiene problem (possibly even both?)... This could all work, I'll let it slide.
But the one thing that bothers me the most is those tattoos...
The grin synonymous with The Joker tattooed down his right forearm, a skull in a jesters hat and repeated Ha Ha Ha over the chest and arm, again it is proved that subtlety definitely was not a consideration for this project. And this is without even mentioning the dubious facial tattoos and other ink that is just about visible without being fully revealed.
Now we could discuss versions of the Joker all day, but in my mind I have never taken his chaotic tendencies to be easily placated long enough to endure multiple tattoo sessions.
This is clearly only casting aspersions but the overall tone seems to paint our new Mr J as a ruthless street thug. To me he looks more like a real-life obsessive Joker fanboy.
And with my imagination running on overdrive here is where I start to piece together my own wish-list of boxes this new DC cinematic universe needs to tick.
What if this isn't the Joker? What if this actually is an obsessive fanboy, a street thug, possibly the chief of operations that is at pains to prove himself to his boss... The real Joker.
Following Heath Ledger's near legendary portrayal I was holding out for a more laconic and brooding spin on the character, a darker and much scarier villain that is less likely to be seen cracking a smile. And with so many indicators pointing towards Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns as a major inspiration in these next formative stages, the Leto Joker image that we've so far seen feels like a rather ill fit.
Having said all that I have been thoroughly enjoying the way that TV's Gotham has been playing hard and loose with established mythology to create its own world that borrows liberally from what we know and refines it in its own image to defy expectations, and all this fuss created is still based on just one image and not a lot else, I'm curious to see where this will all eventually lead and I'll do my best to keep an open mind until we get there.