Harley Quinn and The Joker in action
Pacific Coast News
I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Suicide Squad, mostly based on the direction of David Ayer and the presence of one of my favorite comic book characters, Harley Quinn. A couple weeks ago we got a look at the Squad, dubbed “Task Force X” for the movie, in their costumes, but for one notable absence—Jared Leto as The Joker. But new set photos from Toronto give us a clear look at Leto in Joker attire, complete with silver lamé jacket and dumbass grill. He’s seen getting out of a purple Lamborghini (I think it’s an Aventador), dressed like the meth-head offspring of Marilyn Manson and a Vegas lounge lizard.
All superhero stuff looks silly out of context, so Leto’s Joker may well end up looking incredibly cool on screen, but he looks dumb in these photos. I’m trying really hard to get on board with this, it’s just that stuff like the “Damaged” tattoo on his forehead and the “Hahaha” license plate on his neon purple car are just so on the nose. The Joker is not a subtle character, but that doesn’t mean you have to literally tattoo his psychosis on his forehead. It’s like they don’t trust us to understand him without explicitly telling us how to feel about him, which does not give me confidence in the movie.
Harley, meanwhile, is dressed in normal clothes, looking like her pre-villainess days as Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist who falls in love with The Joker and has her life systematically destroyed by the man she loves. Their relationship functions as an allegory of domestic abuse, and Leto can be seen striking Margot Robbie in-scene, which means that subtext is making it into the movie. It’s disturbing, but it’s also one of her best character arcs as she pulls away from The Joker until finally dumping his ass. I’d be super into Suicide Squad if the subtext of the movie is a victimized woman regaining her independence and leaving her abuser. I would watch Harley Quinn: Fury Road a hundred times in the theater.
Click here to see video of the scene