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The Suicide Squad - James Gunn now confirmed to write and Direct - Summer 2021


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17 minutes ago, NexivRed said:

Tbh my dislike of Harley Quinn probably goes a bit deeper than just finding her annoying. I dislike the suggestions associated with her character.

To me it appears she’s a multitude of mental health problems personified and then sexualised. Her dress style, hair colours, makeup etc are what define her and what people focus on, but in my experience there is an absolute connection between women suffering from conditions such as depression, bipolar, personality disorders, autism etc and unnatural hair colours, piercings, goth clothing etc. And I say this as just an observation and obviously my own personal desires. Not to mention the women in my adhd and autism groups openly talking about how about of depression is fixed by a drastic change in appearance. I think it’s pretty well documented that people seek these outlets when experiencing stress. 
 

I don’t know her back story. I know she’s obsessed with the Joker, but I don’t know if they’ve written in a specific mental health problem that she has. But I really, really dislike glorifying the external markers for someone who’s been through or is going through trauma.

 

Her creator could have made anyone good at weapons and martial art style fighting. So I’m annoyed they chose a mentally disturbed persona whose coping methods are sexualised. I find it pretty sexist as well. 

 

I love this. It has always bugged me when she is portrayed as, basically, goth manic dream pixie girl. As far as I can remember, in the original Bruce Timm Batman cartoon she was more just a gangster's moll-style character, but in subsequent appearances has had the sexualisation amped up.

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6 minutes ago, Delargey said:

The original Harley Quinn cartoon had some stuff on her back story that was quite good I remember- how Joker manipulated her and gas lighted her. Obviously,  it was the 90s and a kids tv show so it was very surface level.

 

The new Harley Quinn cartoon has more about Harley dealing with the toxic relationship she had with the Joker.


Well exactly. So her back story is one of being portrayed as a weak woman who is then emotionally traumatised, but her coping mechanisms make her cool and fun and hot to look at. Nice.  
 

I’m not saying she should be written out of existence. Or that they should try and write something in to make her story less crass. I’m just describing how it really doesn’t sit well with me so I tend to avoid her. 

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13 minutes ago, NexivRed said:


Well exactly. So her back story is one of being portrayed as a weak woman who is then emotionally traumatised, but her coping mechanisms make her cool and fun and hot to look at. Nice.  
 

I’m not saying she should be written out of existence. Or that they should try and write something in to make her story less crass. I’m just describing how it really doesn’t sit well with me so I tend to avoid her. 

 

As I remember Her back story in the original was as an intelligent woman who was lied to and manipulated over a long period of time, I don't think she was shown as being particularly weak, but I totally get your points with her character. Even the original had maybe only one or two episodes showing who Harley was beyond being with the Joker.

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5 minutes ago, Delargey said:

 

As I remember Her back story in the original was as an intelligent woman who was lied to and manipulated over a long period of time, I don't think she was shown as being particularly weak, but I totally get your points with her character. Even the original had maybe only one or two episodes showing who Harley was beyond being with the Joker.


I just meant the character was created because she was consumed, not because she fought. 
I’m trying not to make it sound like people who are emotionally abused are weak; I don’t believe that.
 

What I’m saying is, hero characters have a story. A lot of them have grief and pain and that’s all part of them becoming who they are. And then they all end up with some sort of strength, and villains tend to be misguided. 
So in that simple written format, it’s saying that her strength was to bend to the will of someone else; a man, and then subsequently be fun to be around because of the resulting personality she displays. Because she goes from being a psychiatrist, to basically a psycho. She’s ill. I don’t like that she’s cool because she’s ill.

They didn’t make her a strong character. Not because of the fact she succumbed to it all, but because her actual true personality isn’t on display in the stories. It’s her mask. And I think that plays into ye olde accepted stereotypes and tolerable trauma. 

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I get ya, I think the new series attempts to recon some of those character problems and separate Harley from just being a tool used by the Joker, I think they added in that she had psychopathic straits before meeting the Joker ( from uncaring and abusive parents, which isn't massively original) which at least tries to make Harvey's violence part of her by the Joker.

 

Though, I don’t think it really does enough to change those problems with her character but it's probably a more interesting take on her than the quirky pixie dream girl psycho from the movies.

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I love the Guardian films but this looks atrocious. All the jokes feel really forced and it feels like there’s too many characters to keep track of. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong but it’s not working for me in the way the guardian trailers did.

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@NexivRed is right to have those concerns about Harley.

 

The character was originally a MH therapist at the Asylum before she went crazy due to manipulations by the Joker. In the Suicide Squad movie this was shown by Joker Physcially torturing her by electrocuting her.

 

Having said that…she’s really popular with both Alt girls and mainstream girls as well as male geeks.

 

She’s probably DC’s most popular character outside of Batman these days…

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On 25/06/2021 at 11:00, NexivRed said:

Tbh my dislike of Harley Quinn probably goes a bit deeper than just finding her annoying. I dislike the suggestions associated with her character.

To me it appears she’s a multitude of mental health problems personified and then sexualised. Her dress style, hair colours, makeup etc are what define her and what people focus on, but in my experience there is an absolute connection between women suffering from conditions such as depression, bipolar, personality disorders, autism etc and unnatural hair colours, piercings, goth clothing etc. And I say this as just an observation and obviously my own personal desires. Not to mention the women in my adhd and autism groups openly talking about how about of depression is fixed by a drastic change in appearance. I think it’s pretty well documented that people seek these outlets when experiencing stress. 
 

I don’t know her back story. I know she’s obsessed with the Joker, but I don’t know if they’ve written in a specific mental health problem that she has. But I really, really dislike glorifying the external markers for someone who’s been through or is going through trauma.

 

Her creator could have made anyone good at weapons and martial art style fighting. So I’m annoyed they chose a mentally disturbed persona whose coping methods are sexualised. I find it pretty sexist as well. 

 

On 25/06/2021 at 11:05, NexivRed said:

Okay, little bit of reading. “Harley was also inspired by a mutual female friend's "stormy but nonviolent relationship.”

 

I love how they said non violent to try and make it sound like everything else in the relationship was acceptable, and it was okay to glorify any resulting distress. 
 

Yeah, not cool. Especially considering she’s supposed to be infatuated with a person who treated her like shit and didn’t actually care about her. 

 

On 25/06/2021 at 11:17, NexivRed said:

Actually, not to go on about it, but it really reminds me of when I was younger and going out and stuff, and guys would frequently say things like “cheer up” or accuse me of not being fun when I was just my regular self (depressed and low).
So you had to act manic and “be up for a laugh” to be seen as attractive and be able to steer clear of their scary remarks, which were so humiliating in front of the other people you were out with. 
 

So yeah. “Let’s make a female super hero. But she’s only cool cos she’s mentally disturbed” leaves a super bad taste in my mouth. 


I think it’s worth noting that the majority of the things you find most offensive were added by later versions of her, so it’s not a situation where someone decided to create this character in the way you’ve described her. Harley originally looked like this:

 

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So none of the alt girl trappings which people use as coping mechanisms for traumatic experiences. She had a playing card aesthetic in line with the design of the Joker and was just one of his henchmen. I’ve never heard that story about it being inspired by a real life relationship before, and the source on Wikipedia is a published paper, so I’ll need to be at a PC to check it out, not sure where the actual anecdote is from as the paper is about Harley so is almost certainly quoting it rather than being the original source. 
 

From her depiction in the text, the original incarnation is weird. Her origin story has a pretty interesting vibe, where she’s a talented psychiatrist who wants to cure the Joker, but prolonged exposure to him through therapy sessions ends up with her coming to realise that she agrees with his view on the world. This version of her character isn’t overly sexualised and makes a conscious choice to join the joker, although he treats her really poorly at times. She’s certainly not a mess of hot crazy girl cliches designed to create a glamorous, sexy mental health patient for the male gaze.

 

The real turning point seems to have been Arkham Asylum. Her redesign there seems to have leant towards some sort of sexy Halloween nurse. 
 

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That seems to have been the point where she was reimagined as a sexy character, then the new 52 version followed suit and gave her a new origin where the joker did a bunch of awful shit to her that removed all of her agency.

 

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She’s also getting more alternative as she gets more pervy designs, which lead through to the super disgusting design from the Suicide squad movie which seems to have picked all the worst parts of Harley and has bought her to much wider attention and become what people think of as her, even though there’s nearly two decades of the old version but less than ten years of this shit version:

 

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14 minutes ago, Broker said:

 

 


I think it’s worth noting that the majority of the things you find most offensive were added by later versions of her, so it’s not a situation where someone decided to create this character in the way you’ve described her. Harley originally looked like this:

 

4ED2854B-4002-4B99-971F-41F49344FB6B.thumb.jpeg.aeda6b17bbef60ec8508dc1f9745190c.jpeg


I don’t live in a cave; I know all that. It doesn’t change anything I said. 
 

Also, if you can’t see how that image is sexualised then I feel sorry for you. 
 

You could even argue that the huge smile depicts the mania, as it’s akin to Joker’s. So again, even then, her character’s portrayal is sex and mental health. 

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I then went on to say I did research, and I didn’t just read Wikipedia thanks very much. 
 

I’m not going to read your wall of text, because your first message came across as enough of a dressing down of my opinion as it was. What is your goal here? Because if it’s to make me feel like my feelings aren’t valid, then you’re succeeding. I’m allowed my own fucking opinion, and don’t need an array of paragraphs and images to point out how fucking wrong I am. 

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2 minutes ago, Broker said:

it’s less obviously sexual than a lot of the other characters in the children’s cartoon she’s from, which has pretty limited depictions of any sexuality as it’s a children’s cartoon. All cartoon characters are subject to the general tropes of sexualised depictions of female bodies that are prevalent in western media, but I don’t think that the original version of the character is consciously trying to create a character that functions entirely as an arousing image for presumed make viewers, which the later ones obviously are. The original intention seems to have been “what if the joker had someone working for him who was a woman?!? I’ll base it on my friend and ask her to do the voice”. Like most media that’s still wrapped up in misogynistic ideas like a lot of our society’s depictions of women, but I disagree that she’s a character who was designed as a sexualised depiction of someone with mental health issues at the inception.


I don't doubt that the original intention was simply to portray her as a wacky sidekick but they had her doing this by the end of BTAS, in Mad Love itself. Let's not forget that the episode ends with Joker putting her in hospital and her swooning over him when he apologises.

harley.jpg.0b489bf8457600c41277db01d38c328a.jpg

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34 minutes ago, NexivRed said:

I then went on to say I did research, and I didn’t just read Wikipedia thanks very much. 
 

I’m not going to read your wall of text, because your first message came across as enough of a dressing down of my opinion as it was. What is your goal here? Because if it’s to make me feel like my feelings aren’t valid, then you’re succeeding. I’m allowed my own fucking opinion, and don’t need an array of paragraphs and images to point out how fucking wrong I am. 


I don’t want to invalidate anything, and I agreed with what you said in the last part of the wall of text, but I think that the 30 year history of a character who has been worked on by at least twenty artists and writers is a bit more complex than the sweeping “she’s this and it’s shit” statement you made initially. I honestly believe that these kinds of depictions in media are important and deserving of an in depth consideration which is why I wrote loads about it. 
 

Broadly if I had to quickly sum up the character I think I’d land in the same place as you, but I find it sad that a character who had the potential to be interesting for a hundred reasons ended up where this one did. 

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In the original cartoon, she was just a therapist, a normal, smart person, who slowly got manipulated and gaslight by the Joker. 

 

I think a lot more sex stuff got added later.

 

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26 minutes ago, Harsin said:

Doesn’t that also reveal she only got her qualifications by shagging her professor. Or was that just the official comic adaptation of it?


The comic.

 

Spoiler

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panel2.png.552b2f3e5ea91e31075bc8971eb87e3a.png
panel3.png.b4d67eef9f2228578f5f5e88cadd1735.png

 

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1 hour ago, Broker said:


I don’t want to invalidate anything, and I agreed with what you said in the last part of the wall of text, but I think that the 30 year history of a character who has been worked on by at least twenty artists and writers is a bit more complex than the sweeping “she’s this and it’s shit” statement you made initially. I honestly believe that these kinds of depictions in media are important and deserving of an in depth consideration which is why I wrote loads about it. 
 

Broadly if I had to quickly sum up the character I think I’d land in the same place as you, but I find it sad that a character who had the potential to be interesting for a hundred reasons ended up where this one did. 


But it’s my opinion, not a fact I expect everyone to nod along to. Disagree by all means, but don’t go into great lengths at me about why I’m wrong over how I perceive the character.
 

How is it a sweeping  statement when it’s about one thing?

 

Yeah they’re important to discuss. But you came at it from a “you’re wrong and here’s why” angle which I don’t appreciate, especially when you actually come to the same conclusion.

 

And finding it sad she ended up where she did is separate to how you are describing my annoyance at the character development. Being sad at it doesn’t mean it should be defended, which is how you were coming across. 
 

 

As for that comic depicting she shagged them to get a degree, wow. Is that true? More sexist than you can imagine then. 

So fuck anyone who didn’t stand up for giving her a better lot in life as a female super hero, and fuck them for writing her that way. 

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The Mad Love comic came out before the animated version of the story. It was critically acclaimed and loved by fans so they adapted it for TV. In some ways it gives Harley more agency - she was fascinated by crime and the Joker in particular and chose to play with fire, which ended up with her in this weird relationship with a mad man. There's always been a weird sexual element to the character. 

 

In the fairly recent alternate universe story White Knight it's revealed that the original Harley left the Joker and got her life back on track. Another woman took her place, becoming the new hyper-sexualised Harley. Joker was so mad, he didn't even realise it was a different person (which says something about the value he places on her). 

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4 hours ago, JamesC said:

The Mad Love comic came out before the animated version of the story. It was critically acclaimed and loved by fans so they adapted it for TV. In some ways it gives Harley more agency - she was fascinated by crime and the Joker in particular and chose to play with fire, which ended up with her in this weird relationship with a mad man. There's always been a weird sexual element to the character. 

 

In the fairly recent alternate universe story White Knight it's revealed that the original Harley left the Joker and got her life back on track. Another woman took her place, becoming the new hyper-sexualised Harley. Joker was so mad, he didn't even realise it was a different person (which says something about the value he places on her). 

 

Lol. That's a hilarious Boris-like "have your cake and eat it too" approach.

 

i.e. Lovely real Harley Quinn is lovely and fixed and girlboss and here's some stupid slapper loony that's the new Harley. 

 

Hardly enlightened.

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13 hours ago, Broker said:

She’s also getting more alternative as she gets more pervy designs, which lead through to the super disgusting design from the Suicide squad movie which seems to have picked all the worst parts of Harley and has bought her to much wider attention and become what people think of as her, even though there’s nearly two decades of the old version but less than ten years of this shit version:

 

DC150D34-D864-47C0-8D07-FC424A26B4F2.thumb.jpeg.1f2b0e164156020896152860f10c9c90.jpeg

 

It's worth noting that though the Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey live-action costumes follow a similar style, the outfits and the way they are presented are different.

 

Caroline Siede wrote this AV Club article on BOP's costume design, and tweeted this side-by-side shot comparison of how the two films shoot similarly skimpy costumes in different ways, the former a lot more leering than the latter:

 

 

 

 

Quote

If you’ve attended a Comic Con and seen multiple 8-year-old girls dressed as the Suicide Squad version of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, you really start to understand (and question) the impact such designs have on the world. David Ayer’s 2016 film put Robbie’s Harley Quinn in hot pants so small they had to be digitally lengthened in the TV trailers for the PG-13 flick. Her sky-high heeled boots, fishnet tights, ripped “Daddy’s Lil Monster” T-shirt, and thick choker necklace convey a clear message: Harley Quinn—one of just a handful of female leads in the big-screen superhero genre—is not a character you’re supposed to want to be, she’s a character you’re supposed to want to fuck.

 

When costume designer Erin Benach signed on for Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn), her first question was whether the spinoff was going to be continuing with the Suicide Squad look. The answer was a resounding no. Written by Christina Hodson, directed by Cathy Yan, and produced by Robbie herself, Birds Of Prey was intended to be “something different and new.” Costume-wise, that meant starting over from the bottom layer up. While Yan’s film doesn’t necessarily put Robbie in much more fabric than Ayer’s did, the intention is entirely different. This is a Harley who dresses for herself.

 

Benach’s work on Birds Of Prey is both a revelation and a revolution when it comes to how female superheroes are presented on screen—one more than worthy of recognition by the Oscars. Like Yan, Benach rejects the male gaze in favor of female aspiration. Her design process began with a simple question: “In my dreamiest of dreams, what would I want me and a gang of girlfriends to wear to kick butt?” Harley’s aesthetic is anarchy by way of glam rock, spiky and soft at the same time. Her white ankle boots lengthen her legs in a way that’s empowering, not sexualized. They’re “fight me” boots, not “fuck me” boots. Though Harley is as girlishly immature as she was in Suicide Squad, this time it’s in the vein of a rebellious teenager, not a sexy baby doll.

 

As Benach put it, “I really wanted to make costumes that we as women would love to wear and be in. Something that we would feel awesome in. That was kind of asking myself in the mind of Harley Quinn what would she feel badass in? We wanted her to look as empowered as she felt.” So much of what makes Birds Of Prey work is how comfortable its female characters seem in their own skin and their own clothes. It’s a feeling that carries over into the audience. I distinctly remember leaving my screening of Birds Of Prey feeling far more badass than I did going in, which is something I’ve rarely experienced in my decades of watching superhero films.

 

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Birds of Prey was a weird one. Who was it aimed at? I thought the levels of violence and the swearing in it were really unnecessary. It could have been a slightly edgy adventure/crime film for tweens/young teenagers. I'm amazed they got away with a 15 rating.

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6 minutes ago, JamesC said:

Birds of Prey was a weird one. Who was it aimed at? I thought the levels of violence and the swearing in it were really unnecessary. It could have been a slightly edgy adventure/crime film for tweens/young teenagers. I'm amazed they got away with a 15 rating.

 

The same crowd as the animated TV show I guess. Except the animated show is better.

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On 29/06/2021 at 10:15, JamesC said:

Birds of Prey was a weird one. Who was it aimed at? I thought the levels of violence and the swearing in it were really unnecessary. It could have been a slightly edgy adventure/crime film for tweens/young teenagers. I'm amazed they got away with a 15 rating.

 

I mean, when you look at the production team it gives a bit of a hint. I enjoyed the film much more than I expected, but every woman I've spoken to about it waxed lyrical.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think this looks like it could be a fun  movie! Espically after the first, yeash! and no, im not looking more into it, or for anymore from it. and you know what ... :)

 

giphy.webp

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We had a guest on our podcast this week who saw the press screening and she was unbelievably positive about it. She’s got great taste in movies so I’m getting pretty excited now.

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