After Harley and Joker are done, one of Gotham’s most notorious baddies is on her own for the first time, ready to take on the city- and run into a few pissed-off crime bosses while she’s at it.
I’m a big fan of Harley Quinn, and I liked everything about this movie. Sure, she’s no role model for little kids, and unlike Joker, it’s not a psychological insight into a character, or a stand-out when it comes to quality. It’s basically candy, but it’s really good candy. There’s no shame in indulging in some sweet sugary dessert that makes you smile (or a breakfast sandwich…I appreciated this movie’s love letter to bacon egg and cheese sandwiches).
I probably shouldn’t say I relate to Harley, but in a small, strange way I do, which was why I liked it (will go into that). I know that there are a lot of haters out there, and for a few reasons, some of which I think are pretty stupid. First, there are the people who just want to hate on DC movies. Either it’s because they haven’t been as good as the Marvel movies, or they’re still bitter about Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. That’s not a good reason to want a franchise not to do well. Or it’s because it’s an action movie with women, written and directed by women and…yeah, you know who you are. It’s 2020 for goodness sake, get over it. Rotten Tomatoes has a good score from critics and audiences thankfully.
The movie is a fun ride, with Harley narrating some scenes (I would have liked more), some DC characters finally on the big screen, and Ewan McGregor playing an absolute jerk. I am not a comic book reader, but I was already a fan of Huntress (yes, from the animated series) and I want to see her in more films. Each character stands out with their own fun side, their own personality, and no one felt like a cardboard cutout to me. Sure, Ewan’s character wasn’t the most exciting villain, but we’re here to see Harley in action, and Margot Robbie delivered. The action is what you’d expect (it is very violent, some of it comic and cartoony, some of it not), and the style in a strange way is this movie’s substance, but in the best way. The plot is so simple, that if it was made with just generic characters, it would be forgettable. It does work because of who is in the movie, and some may fault it for that. The ending was also very rushed, but not bad. Honestly, if this were a TV series, I’d fall in love with it. As a film, I think it’s great, and I hope to see more films like this from DC.
Personally, and I will be writing more articles about stuff like this, one thing that I appreciated about this was Harley’s situation. The reason I relate (and many women do) was her triumph over her identity, meaning Harley learned that she’s someone even without the Joker. For so long she was defined by his presence, his identity, and their relationship. She was “Joker’s girl”. Not only was it an abusive relationship, but she based her life and actions around him. If there’s anything I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s that no one deserves to be defined by who their tied to. You are your own person, and if anyone tries to hold you back or bring themselves up by bringing you down, get away from them. As someone who’s cut ties with people like that in my life, I felt pretty good watching Harley’s triumph. We need more of that in writing, and in stories.
No shame in identifying with Harley Quinn! She’s no role model, but she’s cool!