Harley Quinn: A Broken Woman
Harley Quinn is no superhero. Her crimes are well known and numerous. People are mystified by Harley Quinn and they praise her for all she seems to represent-female empowerment for example-but is this Harley Quinn any different from her past incarnation? The answer is no. Suicide Squad brings to light just how weak of a character she is and how all that supposed power she possess stems from her relationship with The Joker. This of course is even more obvious if you know the true dynamic of their relationship and how much it was manipulated into something different for the movie
Harley Quinn aka Harleen Quinzel was once an up and coming psychiatrist with a promising career. I’m actually glad they added this tidbit in Suicide Squad. Most movies/cartoons that feature Harley never mention her background. Dr. Quinzel was Joker’s shrink. She had frequent sessions with him. She saw the monster he was and did what a doctor isn’t supposed to do fall in love with her patient. People say The Joker was so charming and convincing that he was able to make this woman fall head over heels for him I see it differently. Dr. Qunizel was so weak-minded, she fell for the Joker’s lies and deceit. She allowed herself to be manipulated by a sociopath and become his puppet. In Suicide Squad, we saw just how tight of a grip Joker had on Harley. The last thing Dr. Quinzel did as an acting psychiatrist was break the Joker out of jail. He later convinced Harleen Qunizel to become Harley Quinn by jumping in a vat of chemicals. This was of course done to prove her devotion to this crazed man. The end result? She became a monster just to please him. What does this teach female fans of Harley Quinn who watched the movie? If you love a man, you must do whatever he requests of you because that is the true way to show your devotion. Your life is no longer yours to control. You belong to him completely.
Suicide Squad showed the deadly love affair between Joker and Harley (This version is very different compared to the true nature of their relationship as portrayed in the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon and various comic books featuring the couple. t is obvious that it is abusive and toxic). Harley’s entire story is intertwined with The Joker. She would not have been a criminal had she not met him. During the character introductions at the beginning of Suicide Squad, it was said that Harley was crazy and out of control but what made her most fearful was the fact that she was the Joker’s girlfriend. What we witnessed throughout the movie made this statement true. Joker hijacked a government plane, attacked a government facility, and broke into a federal secret prison to rescue her. His obsession with her drove him to commit the worst crimes to save his damsel in distress. Everyone was afraid of how far the Joker was willing to go, but they weren’t afraid of Harley herself.
Their relationship, as portrayed in Suicide Squad, is unusual. While Joker and Harley are set up to be this inseparable lovesick couple that must reunite, the movie also gives the audience a glimpse of their traditional abusive relationship. Joker truly doesn’t care for anyone but himself. There was a scene where Joker “offered” (pimped) Harley to a local mobster (played by Common which was a cool surprise). Harley was willing to do it, however, the mobster wanted no parts in it. He couldn’t believe The Joker would whore his Girl out like she was nothing. Obviously this is a normal occurrence because Harley didn’t flinch when she was brought in to fulfill the transaction. Joker was offended that his offer was rejected and Harley backed him up. This woman has been manipulated into doing anything the Joker asks, even sexually exploiting herself. She’s not strong enough to say no but she’s so brainwashed she won’t deny him. The cherry on top was the way she got caught in the first place. Again, during Harley’s character introduction, we see her and Joker joyriding around what we can assume is Gotham, taking part in their usual dangerous mayhem. When Batman catches them, what does Joker do? He floors it towards the river, jumps out of the car before it even hits the water, and leaves Harley in the car knowing that she can’t swim. Isn’t that love grand? Even after that she’s still devoted despite it being made clear Joker has no real feelings towards her. This is the Harley Quinn/ Joker relationship we’re accustomed to. The heroic rescuing angle was just a way to make their relationship easily digestible for a commercial audience.
The last 30-45 minutes of the movie when we see Harley Quinn play the hero completed the picture. She only rejoined the team because she was heartbroken that her boyfriend allegedly died in the plane crash. She doesn’t care about her squad, she just had nothing else better to do. Her actions can’t even be considered heroic compared to the characters at this point. They all had a justifiable reason to perform the valiant acts we witnessed. Harley had none. All of the characters in the movie had valid reasons for playing the hero. Deadshot did it for his daughter. El Diablo did it as penance for all the lives he took including his family. Killer Croc did it to help his new friends that accept him as he is. Katana isn’t really a bad guy but she’s in it for her husband. Harley has no true reason other than my boyfriend died and I have nothing better to do...oh yea and an espresso machine. In short, Harley Quinn is a follower. She is weak-minded and isn’t capable of thinking for herself. Her power comes from a man and without him she is nobody. Harley Quinn isn’t a hero. She’s just a broken woman.