Disclaimer: I am using these photos in this post for creative purposes only and I do not own them and they are owned by the respected comic, DC Universe, and movie owners.
Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn and Joker
After watching many videos and reading quite a few articles on this movie, between the split between the comic world and the movie, then the cut scenes and how Harley and Joker’s relationship should have been portrayed, there are many parts to discuss, which I will do over several articles.
- Joker and Harley Quinn’s Relationship
First, my opinion Joker’s and Harley Quinn’s relationship is that it is abusive in general. Harley Quinn in my opinion, has Stockholm Syndrome for Joker, a love in her mind that is real but is sick and twisted which contains mental and physical abuse. They portray her in the comics as something broken, she keeps coming back for more but in reality, it is a mental illness. Joker is abusive, Harley is just as dangerous as Joker but not as abusive.
Harley Quinn made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series in 1993 while Joker came before Harley decades earlier. She captured the minds and hearts alike of her fans with her broken appearance and how she was Joker’s love. In a later addition, she made an appearance in a comic named The Batman Adventure’s: Mad Love in 1994, showcasing how she was Joker’s therapist (like in the movie) turned co-conspirator.
In The Batman Adventure’s: Mad Love you really learn who Harley Quinn is and see some of Joker’s abuse toward her. Harleen Quinzel had an abusive father and Joker got to her this way by telling a story of how he had an abusive father (in their first session) and made them connect on a deeper psychological level and made her feel for him. Then he described himself as the victim of Batman’s “schemes” and tied his “childhood” abuse to that and Harleeen thought he was a tortured man caught up in the wrong places.
Near the end of the comic, when Harleen is transformed into Harley Quinn for some time she has had Batman captured but to get away Batman convinces her to call Joker who rushes over and gets angry, he hits her and throws her out a window and left her for dead. Batman even admits that Harley had him better tied up then Joker ever has and that his ego got in the way.
Going on with the comics, in the Suicide Squad comics, the abuse continues. In one situation Joker hangs Harley on a wall where there are other “Harley’s” in the room showing his demented and twisted views of her.
In the iconic toxic waste scene in the movie Harley jumps in voluntarily, but in the comics (at least the 2011 edition), she is pushed in by Joker and is screaming falling in before being taunted by him with it, it is issue #15.
These are only two of many parts in the Suicide Squad comics of their abusive relationship, Joker has been verbally abusive and also tried to shoot Harley.
In the Suicide Squad movie the abuse was more subtle than the comics and didn’t show the extent of how the relationship really is. In Suicide Squad (the movie) Joker keeps trying to rescue Harley out of the prison and get back his “love” when (as I have pointed out) in the comics he has tried to kill her, left her for dead (like in the movie in the drowning car), and insulted her. Joker probably would not have gone to these lengths in the comics or gone crazy about it, he probably would have left her there.
In the movie there is a deleted where Joker supposedly tries to kill Harley in the helicopter scene which does show that the directors were debating with the extent of the abuse in the movie; below I have put a video of the most recent deleted scenes with Joker and sometimes Harley that would have showed their relationship more. Even though it is toned down, there is still evidence of the relationships abuse. Trying not to put too much on screen light on it was the Directors idea to not do so much violence and abuse, though, fan says it romanticized Harley and Joker’s relationship, which I agree.
What are your thoughts? Is it too subtle in the movie? Did they romanticize a relationship that is full of abuse?