Though the list of complaints surrounding Suicide Squad is seemingly endless, the leading criticism from diehard fans of Harley Quinn and The Joker's relationship seems to be that the film's unfortunate PG-13 rating really got in the way. If only every movie ever made could be a proudly R-rated concoction, am I right? Thankfully, a couple of fans took matters into their own hands by cleverly dodging copyright headaches and doing exactly that: giving us the disturbing Joker x Harley Quinn narrative Suicide Squad never could.
The Laughing Man, the fan-made YouTube short loosely inspired by Scott Snyder's 23-issue Death of the Family arc, has quickly scored nearly 300,000 views in just under a week. A quick glance at the clip's YouTube ratings shows that The Laughing Man has also been more roundly adored by fans and critics than Suicide Squad itself, presenting an interesting conundrum for Jared Leto's cutting room floor theory about a Joker-centered sequel.
"We wanted to tell a story that centered on the Joker without Batman showing up to save the day," Diego Hallivis, who created The Laughing Man alongside his brother Julio Hallivis, told No Film School Friday. "A story that didn't need to be PG-13 for commercial reasons—where the protagonist isn't necessarily a hero." The Hallivis brothers based their Joker on Jake Gyllenhaal's character from Nightcrawler, i.e. an actual psychopath.
The story of The Laughing Man, a truly unsettling slice of YouTubery that manages to pack a lot of terror into its 20-minute running time, centers on Joker and Harley Quinn as they proceed to relentlessly torture a psychotherapist while crowdsourcing their next move via a livestream. But above all else, it's fucking awesome.
Maybe this will inspired David Ayer to actually fight for that R-rated Suicide Squad 2?