"Suicide Squad" spoilers ahead! Proceed at your own risk.
I saw "Suicide Squad" this past week and was instantly intrigued by Harley Quinn's and the Joker's relationship. In fact, I was so intrigued that I went and saw it a second time... and then a third. Trust me, I did not go for the plot. That's a whole 'nother can of worms I'll have to analyze another day. I kept going back because the characters, most of whom I have never heard of, and their dynamic were really interesting. I have never read DC comics, or comics in general, so I was going in the theater with barely anything to compare them to. The only characters I had heard of before seeing the movie were Harley Quinn and the Joker, and these were the two characters that actually surprised me the most. Their individual characters and their relationship were so fascinating that I had to analyze it.
First, let's look at them separately.
Harley Quinn is an incredibly complex character. Many people seem to dislike this new version of Harley because she is just “stupid”, and a “ditz”, “eye candy" and “crazy.” I completely, full-heartedly disagree. Harley Quinn is extremely calculating and smart. It’s hard to become a psychiatrist and be stupid, don’t you think? She was also the first to catch on that the helicopter was jacked by the Joker. All these trained army and government professionals were trying to make contact and figure out what was wrong with it as it got in prime position to shoot the hell out of them. She didn’t say anything about it, but you can tell by the look on her face that she knew what was coming and promptly got to safety. More power to her. I also don’t believe that Harley is a real ditz, either. This is to make people underestimate her real strength. I think she over-exaggerates some moments in the movie to keep the rest of the squad on their toes, which is smart if you’re surrounded by killers. Sometimes you gotta use whatever weapon you have in your arsenal. “Eye candy”? More like weaponized sexuality. Harley is an attractive woman, and she knows it. She uses her doe eyes, pigtails, and short shorts in a similar way she uses her so-called ditzy-ness. If you’ve seen “Suicide Squad” then you know she kicks some major ass in those short shorts and high heels, partially due to the fact that most of the people she fights are too bust ogling her and partially because she is simply a bad ass. Apparently she took down five armored guards while in Belle Reve. Also, the only actual weapons she in equipped with on the squad's mission are a baseball bat and a gun. If you've played baseball or softball then you know how tiring swinging a bat can be... and she does it with ease throughout the entire movie! She's not just intelligent and deceptive, she's also strong and tough.
Now, do I think Harley Quinn is crazy? Yeah, definitely. Anyone who kills other people with a smile on their face is not right in the noggin. She obviously has some other mental health issues that I will touch on later in this article. But let’s face it, being tortured by the Joker would cause anyone to become a wee bit crazy.
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Before I start my next analysis, I’d like to congratulate Jared Leto for being a super creepy Joker. I had my doubts at first, due to the fact that the late Heath Ledger’s Joker was incredible, but I was thoroughly surprised. He made his Joker memorable and different than Ledger’s which is huge. He is the same character, except he is upgraded with a new perspective and an obvious differing inspiration. Leto’s Joker seemed to figuratively stalk out of Ledger’s shadow with gold-emblazoned guns blazing. Jared Leto is an attractive fella (those eyes, though! And he can sing!), but I felt genuinely uneasy and disgusted watching him be (he’s a method actor, so he’s not just portraying Mr. J.) the Joker. I couldn’t predict whether or not he would shoot, grope, laugh, fight, snarl, sit on, seduce, or growl at someone on screen. I honestly wish there was more Joker in “Suicide Squad”, but alas, I know DC would be stupid to use their best and most well-known villain in their first movies. I hope to see more of Leto’s Joker in more movies to come. Joker vs. Batman anyone?
Now, back to my analysis.
The Joker is a hard character to analyze thoroughly because he is simply not in the movie long enough. I did, however, notice a few things about him. While Ledger’s Joker was an anarchist trying to send a message, Leto’s does not. He is bad for the sake of being bad, and crazy for the sake of being crazy. He’s not trying to send any prolific messages to the citizens of Gotham or Midway City-- no, he’s just there to make money and cause chaos. He’s reminiscent of old-time mobsters and gangsters, except more gaudy and prone to flaunt his power and wealth through material possessions, such as a purple snake skin (I think) trench coat, diamond earrings, gold chains, tattoos, and sparkly suit jackets of various colors. Despite these lavish possessions, however, he is animalistic. One of the most startling animalistic qualities he displays is body movement. Stalking, surprising his “prey” from behind (i.e. see the scene he meets Ike Barinholtz’s character for the first time), showing dominance, lack of respect for personal space, and not to mention growling, are all on the list of animalist examples of body movement that the Joker demonstrates in “Suicide Squad.”
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Now let's analyze these two clowns' relationship. Harley is obviously head over heels for her puddin’-- this we can tell by Enchantress’s spell. Harley realizes that what she really wants is for the Joker and her to get married, which is kind of sweet if he weren’t such a monster. She also seemed genuinely heartbroken when Joker’s helicopter crashed and he was presumed dead. The Joker is different. He talks about Harley in a purely sexual way, describing her as “the fire in his loins” and “the itch in his crotch” but not the love of his life. When Harley and the Joker were finally reunited in the stolen helicopter, he almost immediately informs her that he’s got, “some grape soda on ice and a bear skin rug waiting,” for when they return. Not even a “hey, I’ve missed you!” or “Wow, your face is all bruised. Are you ok”? Nope. Just an invitation to get it on when they get home. You’re too sweet, Mr. J. Too sweet.
So, Harley obviously has deeper feelings than just lust, unlike her puddin'. So why does she stay with him? In a world of flying men and monsters, it could be a really simple answer: Stockholm's Syndrome. In a nut shell, this occurs when a victim feels positively about their abuser. They don't comprehend that their abuser is actually hurting them. The victim will sometimes become like their abuser. This is pretty much Harley's identity in the movie.
Harley and the Joker also have an imbalance of power in their relationship, with the Joker on top. He destroyed Dr. Harleen Quinzel when she fell for his charm and, by using torture and manipulation, created Harley Quinn, his own personal plaything. The thing is, Harley is practically Joker’s new toy. He has all of these shiny, glistening objects like gold chains and gold guns, but Harley is new, and therefore his new favorite. Do I think he intended to like having Harley around at first? No. When he coerced her into jumping into the vat of chemicals and God know what, he at first walked away. He was done playing with her already after just creating her. He eventually grimaced, tore off his jacket, and dove after her. Maybe he’s as attached to her as she is to him? No, I still don’t think that is the case. He left her again after plummeting their car into the water and leaving her there to drown since she can’t swim. Maybe he knew Batman was right on their tails and he would save her while he got away safely. I can’t say so for sure. So… Harley is Joker’s toy and toys can be lent to others. Joker gifts Common’s character with Harley in the club scene, and the Joker informs her that she belongs to him now. This insinuates that Joker had taken ownership of her previously like she was an object. He eventually gets jealous and shoots Common’s character. Poor Common’s character.This brings us to a theory that I have. The Joker obviously
doesn’t share Harley well… even with their own children. Yep, you heard me: The
Joker and Harley Quinn have had kids together. The Clown Prince of Crime obviously doesn't believe in using protection. But where are they now? I think
you can take an educated guess based on these two characters’ pasts. Let me
explain. There were two young toddlers in Harley’s dream like spell that was
cast onto her by the Enchantress and in Joker’s lair or whatever you call it,
there are two baby onesies. Take a look. Pause this trailer at 0:51 and look in the right corner under the laptops and phones.
Another bit of evidence was during the scene in the bar when Diablo is talking about killing his own kids and wife on accident. Harley brashly tells him to own that shit because only normal people can have happy families and that they are definitely not normal. To me, it sounds like she has owned her shit a long time ago and feels no remorse about it. So why does the Joker keep mementos of his dead children? Well, I can't answer that. Someone contact Jared Leto and demand an answer.
I hope you all enjoyed my article! Thanks for sticking with me and reading through it since it is pretty long.
All quotes were taken straight from "Suicide Squad."
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