With a lot of us excited for the release of “Suicide Squad”, I have uncharacteristically been devouring all clips and pics to hit the web before the movies release. Usually if I know that I’m definitely seeing a movie or buying a game, I try to hide from all information regarding it until I’m in possession of it; I like to gain the most pleasure I can from the experience and weirdly, Spoilers seem to spoil that. In this case however, my mind keeps seeking more and more media to accompany that initial Suicide Squad line-up shot.
Having seen the trailer, I have to say that I am supremely glad to have a live action George ‘Digger’ Harkness that is actually Australian in accent as the character calls for. Yes I had to take that shot. Sorry to “Arrow” fans, but they cast a buttload of Aussie talent on that show, yet when it comes to the one D.C Character who is proudly Australian, they cast an actor (No offence to Nick Tarabay, dude was good in Spartacus) who has a heavy Lebanese accent?!
It’s kind of a ‘you-know-what’ slap to the face of the character. And he was on the same fricking show as Jai Courtney, the Australian actually cast as Boomer in this movie. They were both on Spartacus!
The only thing I can think of to accurately explain why that happened, was some shitty communication among the casting personnel where some dude was like “Just get one of those guys from Spartacus, they’re all Australian” or something to that effect and once dude showed up on set, the poor bastard who screwed the pooch just ducked down and made themselves scarce.
HE’S CALLED CAPTAIN BOOMERANG FOR F***’S SAKE!
YOUR BLOODY RAS AL GHUL WAS AUSTRALIAN, C’MON!
O.k, I digress. My original point was that in that Suicide Squad pic, it wouldn’t be far off for me to say that most Harley Quinn fans the world over fell in love with Margot Robbie as depicted in it. Even Harley Quinn herself, Tara Strong, a woman who has adorably sexy madness in as much spades (wink wink) as the character she’s voiced for years, had to show her love via her twitter.
And yes that will be the first and last playing card pun in this article…promise.
We’ve always loved the different iterations of Harley; the Arkham costume design changes have always been a personal favourite of mine.
The look they went for in this movie, along the lines of that realistic D.I.Y style is something I find equally spectacular. The snippets we’ve seen of her speak so far seem to deliver another layer of awesome onto the already amazing looking Miss Robbie cake. After making whatever perverted double entendres that last sentence might invoke in you, follow me into my thoughts about the background and motivations of this character.
Doctor Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist who turned groupie/girlfriend of Gotham City’s most notable sadistic psychopath (Let’s face it, that city has quite a bit of them).
Some might look at the transition as far too ludicrous to be plausible outside of a comic book, especially considering her bubbly bobble-headed persona post-transition. Jeff Matsuda’s “The Batman” handled this in an intriguing modernised way, making her a T.V Therapist who hosted an ambush journalism-style dating show, which would allow her personality to already be set-up largely the same way and have the added benefit of giving her a callow nature that could easily translate to a low regard for human life.
But regarding the core character, I came to realise that the reason for her transition was basically regarded along a particular theory, one that has been loosely used to frame her in the comics as well. And when watching Jeremy Jahns’ trailer review for the Suicide Squad movie, he mentioned something that reminded me of how much my theory on the character’s transition differs from perhaps what may be the more popular opinion on the topic.
In reference to a shot in the trailer that show’s what seems to be a frightened Dr.Harleen Quinzel strapped to a table and what may in fact be her future fear-mongering lover standing over her, Jeremy loosely speculates if the film may be taking a route that pitches her as a regular doctor who the Joker mentally broke via means of torture. This I had realized by my late teen years as being one of the most popular perceptions of what she mentally is. I on the other hand, through witnessing her evolution via numerous depictions from comics, to cartoons, to games always saw it as something perhaps a bit less sensational but in my opinion spades more tragic. (Shut up about the spades)
Harley always came across to me as someone who wanted control: Over her life, over situations she found herself in…Something that may have been borne from (as witnessed in Gotham City Sirens #7) her family. As clichéd as that theory may seem, said family may come across even more so. Her father is a conman who specialises in wealthy widows but as seen in the issue in question, his own family isn’t off limits to his trade. Her brother comes across as the quintessential deadbeat with different children from different women who doesn’t appear worried at all about his situation because the knowledge that his family exists to support his lifestyle keeps him firmly planted on the couch. Her mother would seem to be the closest to a positive force in the environment, but something about her constant judgement of her daughter being a super villain makes one believe that it could easily be replaced by constant judgement of another part of Harleen’s life.
This is an environment that many have seen numerous times before, both in fiction and reality; some have even lived through it. That atmosphere could easily have morphed the girl in myriad ways, one being wanting the power that comes with control so she doesn’t end up back in a place of emotional defeat. Her way to secure this? Learn what makes people, people; learn what makes them blow $300,000 you sent them for a down payment on a house or school fees for their children on something else; learn what makes them, while behind bars, try to con their daughter out of money she has stashed away when she comes by to visit them. The obvious field to provide these answers would be psychiatry.
Ending up in Arkham delving into the minds of those considered to be criminally insane may just have been an unavoidable endpoint our blonde subject was always going to find herself in once she leapt down the rabbit-hole of trying to unravel the human psyche. And here she met Smiley; or as he’s known by his more popular pseudonym, ‘The Joker’. Now where other’s may believe that he tortured her into a fear-fuelled haze that ended with her developing one of the most severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in the D.C Universe, my theory always had her own motivations being more active in the result; the torture may have just been a trigger to reach that conclusion.
Years upon years of feeling powerless and seeking control of what happens to her and eventually she comes face to face with a creature that is anything but. He tortures, maims, murders, does whatsoever he wills at a whim and yet he still lives; most all that know him fear him and would never dare cross him; he appears as completely free to do whatsoever he pleases, whenever he pleases and however he pleases. Much like the disciple’s of other serial killers through history and fiction, he became a god to her. The mindset is steeped in wanting to be that thing that they now see as the epitome of their most desperate desire and if they can’t be it, then they become the moth to its flame. They do whatsoever it wishes and relish every reciprocated feeling of adoration like mana from heaven.
Oddly enough, it is this unabashed worship that causes the object of their obsession, in this case The Joker, to react (at least in sporadic bouts of maniacal glee) positively to her need for his affection. If she were simply something he created himself, any fan of the Crime Clown of Gotham would tell you that he’d get bored with her easily; but the fact that she is something that came to adore him for what he is (mostly of her own accord) likely gives him a constant narcissistic boost to his ego…in addition to the oodles he usually has.
This idea of her reinventing herself out of desperation to protect herself is one of the reasons we see The Bat sometimes look at her as something to be pitied despite his understanding that she is as dangerous as her green-haired boyfriend.
Now whether or not Paul Dini delved as deeply into the motivations of why the character is what she is when he created her, or whether his thought process took another route concerning the issue might be a question you’d endeavour to pose to the awesome writer himself via his twitter account.
Based on the trailers so far I feel like the movie may follow the formula used in “Assault on Arkham” where Waller bands them together for a job while Wayne is occupied on some pressing stuff that she hopes will make him not notice, then at some point they’ll run into Smiley.
All in all, looking forward to the movie almost as much as I’m looking forward to Deadpool.
I kind of have this nagging fear in the back of my mind where this awesome age of comic-adaptations kind of devolve into half-assed shit movies cause the studios will become complacent. But I’m really hoping that won’t be the case. Anyway, even if it is, at least they’ve given us a few masterpieces
I know that given this was an article I did on Harley instigated by the ‘Suicide Squad’ movie some may obviously decide to get on the “Uuuggh! This douche has been gone for over a year and then comes back to bitch about an awesome show like ‘Arrow’? I mean Ugh, Seriously?!” band-wagon, so I’ll just say this:
1: Eat a giant bucket of hot shit
2: I do like season 1 of Arrow; That, I believe they actually put more effort into by trying to leave quite a bit of the C.Wesqe ‘The Young & The Restless’ crap out of it. And most importantly
3: The music Blake Neely has done for that show is beyond fucking amazing as I have let the man know himself via twitter