The Joker and Harley Quinn have one of the most interesting and unhealthy dynamics of any fictional couple. It's something of a complex power play between the two, with the Joker generally coming out on top more often than not, and Harley Quinn always coming back to him like a victim of domestic abuse (a phrase I don't say lightly). So how much of this dynamic will we be seeing on the big screen? Were this film to focus solely on those two, I'd assume we'd see most of it, but as this is an ensemble flick, one has to wonder just how much they could squeeze into the film's runtime.
Let's first start with the character of the Joker, which director David Ayer says is the "third rail" of the DC Comics world:
"Yeah, that’s the thing. It’s definitely, the Joker’s sort of the third rail of the DC Comics world, right? And Heath and his work is in the Pantheon. That shouldn’t preclude reinvention. It’s the most iconic bad guy in any medium. For me, what an incredible opportunity to reinvent, to have some fun with the character, and to use him in the role of Suicide Squad, and that’s what’s so fun about what Warners is doing with the DC universe now is cross-connecting these films so that different characters can enter and leave and go through these doors and have these worlds link up.
We came at it with an incredible respect for the history of the Joker, and I’ve read every freaking comic. If you look at—I grew up on the Batman TV show, the Adam West TV show. Look at the incarnation of the Joker in that, look at how the Joker has evolved. So I don’t think we should freeze him in ice and never let him evolve with us as we evolve as an audience. As far as visual development of Joker, I wanted a guy who felt like he had history and he wears his history. This is a guy with some prowess and presence in the criminal world and I want him to feel like a modern day criminal. I want him to feel like someone that you believe could emerge from today’s underworld."
So rather than him being a terrorist, á la Heath Ledger's Joker, they've gone the more "modern day criminal" route. So despite how big and unhinged the character seems, Ayer, Leto and company really seem to be trying to nail him down has a believable character, which plays into his relationship with Harley Quinn. As was revealed LAST WEEK, the Joker is dead-set on getting Harley Quinn back.
"Oh, it’s a fantastic relationship. The Joker, the more plausible the Joker can be the more well-rounded as a person, the more accurate his psychology can be, I think the scarier he becomes. As a character, he represents—all these characters are powerful because they represent mythologies. They’re almost like Greek Gods right out of Pantheon. I think that’s what attracts people to superhero movies. It’s like the first Comic-Con was Ancient Greece and people would dress up as their favorite Greek Gods and celebrate and stuff. So there’s something very primal and ancient about that. You simply have to look at what the Joker represents as a force of chaos. Even as a criminal and an organizer in the criminal world, he’s still chaotic which Chris Nolan tapped him to in a great way in THE DARK KNIGHT.
But without getting too much into it, their relationship is dysfunctional. It’s very accurate to the source material and that’s something that Harley has to deal with and grow and how does she empower herself? What does he mean to her? What does he mean to us? It’s all rather complex and I think rather honest how we’re dealing with it."
Of course, we can't imagine that the whole film will focus on their dynamic. By this point in the universe, it seems like Harley has separated herself from the Joker and become a force of her own. I don't expect this version of the character to be so vulnerable to the Joker this time around.
SUICIDE SQUAD hits theaters on August 5, 2016.
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