TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. AND IT’S SNOWING, IT’S LIKE I’M IN A COMMERCIAL IF TJ’S WAS BASE ENOUGH TO MAKE COMMERCIALS.
So I saw the much-hated SUICIDE SQUAD yesterday. (Reel Film Reviews called it “rather aggressively unwatchable,” for instance.) I was skeptical for the following reasons, none of which had to do with reviews:
- I’m a die-hard fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
- And I’ve just never liked Jared Leto. Add to that the unavoidable media frenzy of what a creep he became to stay in character, like sending used condoms to his cast mates, and it was unpromising.
- The portrayal of Harley Quinn had me angry before I ever saw the movie.
- I’d seen THE KILLING JOKE, (one of three women in the four women in the theater, myself and my friend being half of them, and with good reason), which I’d been looking forward to, and was sorely disappointed.
- I’m a Marvel girl at heart, though I adore Batman.
- I just can’t Affleck in general, and held a grudge about him being Batman when Bale is so perfect, and I hate Superman. The trickle down of annoyance followed after BATMAN V. SUPERMAN (which I actually liked after seeing it, despite its downfalls), had me not so thrilled for related movies.
- I heard Enchantress wasn’t given enough of a role and I really like the idea of that character, but like I find in most DC material, they never fully realizes her potential. (Insert here another time I’ve proclaimed with red face, “AND THAT’S WHY I SHOULD WRITE THIS CHARACTER, GODDAMMIT.”)
HERE’S WHAT I THOUGHT NOW, A BUNCH OF OPINIONS JUST BELCHED OUT AT YOU.
OKAY. So I saw it and (like with BATMAN V. SUPERMAN) was extremely pleased and surprised by the awesome character intro. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller gave these characters all the background they deserved and in a really uniquely villainous, misguided way that had me hooked. I really loved how varied all their stories were. And like B V. S, I was later annoyed by how much the story fell apart, how half-assed the character development was WHEN IT WAS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEIR STUPID FACES TO DO, and was left saying, “Well, I probably have to see it again? Or something?”
THE VIOLATION OF THE JOKER: Just like happened with the Affleck Batman, I was made to think differently about the character, and I LIKED IT. I’m a goddamn hard sell on my beloved comic characters being CHANGED UNDER MY FRIGGING NOSE. You know, Leto did something amazing–he made me remember that Joker is a goddamn VILLAIN. Heath Ledger was brilliant, unquestionably. But I loved him. I loved him. I understood him a bit (don’t arrest me), and he was intelligent and so sane about his insanity. About his reasons for not having reasons. And Christ, he was funny. And hot in a creep way. (You determine who the creep is here.)
From Leto’s first moment on screen, I was revolted. HE was revolting. His look, the way he spoke about Harley, the way he treated her in that first scene was just maddeningly gross and demoralizing and everything that could ever be wrong in a relationship, if you could even call it that and not slavery. And then. AND THEN. We see his joy and pride in claiming, “I’m not going to kill you, I’m gonna hurt you, real bad,” when he captures her in Arkham, and then she belongs to him. It gave me flashbacks of THE KILLING JOKE, but way, way worse. I went from revolted to a sort of hysterical nausea with violent undertones of terror. And he just goes on and on to abuse her worse and worse, and she loves him for it. And in spite of him being on screen so little, goddamn did he command a presence that left a shadow throughout every scene of the movie. Congratulations, Leto. I despise you and respect you.
And Harley Quinn. I have so many feelings about Harley Quinn in general. She has a cool factor, most certainly, in the comics, in the merchandise…
And because this is my goddamn blog, I get to go on a short tangent. The DC Superhero Girls toys? Great idea. Good step forward to superheroes being just ONE FUCKING AISLE IN A STORE. NOT BOYS’ SUPERHEROES AND GIRLS’ SUPERHEROES. AISLE THREE, FUCKING SUPERHEROES, THAT’S WHAT THE SIGN SHOULD SAY. And then Lego gets involved, and gives Harley THE POWER OF DATING!
Great start, DC. Kill me. Not to mention that Harley Quinn is a sorta tough sell to me on a child’s character. Because no.
Back to the movie. Harley was portrayed as–well, you’ve seen it. Daddy’s Little Monster, in her booty shorts and uber-high heels and pigtails, which is neither here nor there–she can wear whatever the hell she wants. What gets me is the little girl voice and the pandering to her sexuality from the first frame. She’s a psychiatrist. Why is she talking in this annoying frigging voice, sounding like a teenager trying to sound stupider than she is to get the attention–
Oh. Oh, okay. I get it. It’s an act, to a degree. And there is a scene where she puts it on, clearly, and the rest of the squad sees it a bit, and we get a glimpse of her sadness at who she is. There’s a scene where she psychoanalyzes Deadshot as well, through the rose-tinted glasses of her “love,” and we get a glimpse of the perfectly sane Harley underneath. She’s been reduced to this little girl image by the Joker that seems like it starts with the electro-shock that made her generically crazy, but it’s his subsequent treatment of her that makes it come to fruition. So HARLEY I have no problem with in this movie. I think Robbie did a great job with her. It’s, as usual, DC’s treatment of women (see also: Batgirl, for instance, and yes, Lois Lane who everyone seems to love but me), that ruins Harley Quinn. Granted, comics in general sexualize women, but Harley is sort of the pinnacle of it.
And yeah, there’s a disgustingly vivid misogynistic overtone to–basically everything DC. We could talk all day. I mean, even Batman has his moment with Harley, like a true dirtbag, and I don’t like that one bit. Not at all. But as far as Joker and Harley, we’re supposed to detest their relationship. It’s not supposed to be adorably crazy. It’s not supposed to be remotely healthy, or have a bright side. We’re supposed to be disgusted beyond words, and I like to think that the movie was made with this in mind, not ignorantly. Of course, I could be wrong. Though I’m never wrong, you just have a different version of right.
But ENCHANTRESS. Whoa, Nellie, was she kickass. I loved everything about her–Cara Delavigne was great as June Moone, very likeable even from the few scenes we have of her, not as Enchantress. I mean, I want a whole Enchantress movie. I want the novelization. I want the comic series. I want the toys and the artwork. Superb.
But, like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, it started out with amazing potential, had me bought in right away, and then the conflict just crumpled. I don’t believe much of it. I don’t believe the world is in danger and that a guy who can shoot and a woman with a bat can fix it. I don’t believe Harley would make the move “for her friends” that she did at the end when her (hurk) “relationship” with the Joker could be restored instead. And I don’t buy that Deadshot would choose Harley’s life over his child’s future. It starts amazingly, then just sorta falls apart in its complexity, just like Affleck vs. Cavill, which I clearly also need to blog about because I have all the opinions.