Asking for someone’s thoughts on Suicide Squad is like asking what color paint someone prefers; everyone gives you a different answer. Critics less than loved the movie, while fans of the movie and original comic books are raving. Whoever decided to get all these villains together to fight another, super-powerful villain was either a genius…or totally crazy.
And crazy” kinda sets the entire tone of Suicide Squad. The movie is chock-full of dark humor, subtle songs that definitely don’t match what’s going on, and escapades both dangerous and crazy.
Speaking of dangerous and crazy, how about Harley Quinn’s relationship with the Joker? The two have had a kind of twisted affair, and what’s shown in Suicide Squad really only scratches the depths of their mutual insanity.
— Comic Book Resources (@CBR) August 11, 2016
We first met the Suicide Squad Harley at Arkham Asylum, where she was working under the name Dr. Harleen Quinzell. After taking Jared Leto’s Joker on as her patient, Harley (played by Margot Robbie) begins to slowly fall in love with him.
In one flashback, we see Dr. Quinzell vow to do anything for her “puddin,'” and then jump into a vat of weird orange liquid. The Joker follows Harley into the vat, and as they embrace inside the weird goo, a dizzying dance of colored dyes emerge from where they’re standing.
Okay, the story’s a bit thin, but we get the gist. It’s more than we ever get on Captain Boomerang or any of the other “Squad” members, at the very least.
Robbie revealed in an interview with Comic Book Movie that Harley and the rest of the Squad’s stories were cut short to prioritize the main story, which was the gang facing off against The Enchantress. The film’s director did this so as not to confuse multiple flashbacks with the Enchantress’ storyline in the present.
Some have suggested we could see another movie detailing Harley’s backstory more thoroughly and explaining exactly why and how she falls for The Joker. Suicide Squad also did little to touch on the abuse Harley suffered at Joker’s hands, and so didn’t fully illuminate their relationship to audiences.
the only thing i didn't like abt suicide squad was how the harley/joker relationship was romanticized. like you were almost rooting for them
— kayla (@txicabs) August 10, 2016
There’s also the matter of the Joker’s backstory. Jared Leto’s insane clown figure also had a lot of his own backstory cut from Suicide Squad. Though the exact amount hasn’t been released, Leto told the Telegraph that it would be enough material to make a Joker origin movie (foreshadowing?).
Cinema Blend may have shed a little light on the subject. The site mentions that Harley and The Joker were separated by the death of one Jason Todd, better known as Robin. Since Harley starts Suicide Squad off in jail and her green-haired compadré is free, some guessed that the kooky clown might have used Harley to kill Robin and then framed her. This is fairly likely seeing as Harley isn’t just in prison but in a mental asylum, where presumably only the worst offenders would be locked up.
Suicide Squad does manage to capture some of the complexity of the characters’ relationship, if only briefly. We get from flashbacks that the Joker is just downright mean to Harley for no reason, but yet she loves him and basically lives for her abuser.
At the same time, as Viola Davis’ character Amanda will tell you, “He [Joker] was the King and she was the Queen…and God help anyone who messed with the Queen.” Joker quite literally kills anyone who even remotely disrespects his girl, and also murders several guards to break his darling doll out of prison. When the chips are down, Joker even lands a helicopter on a roof to rescue Harley from the dangers of fighting The Enchantress.
What do you think of Harley and The Joker’s relationship? Is it more complex than Suicide Squad has previously depicted it as? Deep enough to justify a Harley or Joker spin-off, or even both?
[Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images]