Warner Bros. has had a really rough time getting their rebooted DC cinematic universe rolling. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad all made money, but earned little love from critics, and sparked much debate among fans. Then came Wonder Woman. And at long last it seemed WB had pulled their head out of their ass and corrected course. BEHOLD A MOVIE THAT CRITICS AND THE PUBLIC CAN ENJOY! A SUPERHERO MOVIE THAT SPEAKS TO MEN AND WOMEN! So what is WB doing with all that good will? Setting it on fire with the announcement of a new Joker movie. Oh, no. Not that dumb origin story one. A new new Joker movie, this one a Suicide Squad spinoff about his and Harley Quinn’s raucous romance.
Yup. The most problematic element of Suicide Squad is getting spun out into its own sure-to-be cringe-inducing adventure.
THR reports Jared Leto and Margot Robbie will reprise their roles as Instagrammable Joker and Daddy Issues Harley Quinn for the untitled spin-off. And if you’re holding out hope that ALL the think pieces on Harley’s leering presentation in Suicide Squad—or the runaway success of Wonder Woman—would inspire WB to bring a woman into the mix for development, HA HAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
Nope. Writing-directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have been hired to pen and helm, as in the makers of the whitewashing comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and Crazy, Stupid, Love, a rom-com that leans hard on tired gender stereotypes, but at least had the decency to give us some Ryan Gosling nudity and a swooning re-enactment of Dirty Dancing’s lift.
Look. It’s not that I think Ficarra and Requa are the worst choices for this spinoff. Their quirky rom-com I Love You Phillip Morris centered on a passionate but deeply flawed romance between two convicts, and so their hiring makes a certain level of sense. But considering the MANY incarnations Joker and Harley have taken on, and how most of those are not #relationshipgoals and more #severelyfuckedup, I’m not especially stoked to see more men in this mix. Because while Harley is a sexy character, too often in movies—including the recently released Batman and Harley Quinn—her sexiness becomes her dominant trait, blotting out the whimsy, resilience, and rebelliousness that has made her such a fan favorite across TV, video games, comics, and film. And frankly, the log line from THR gives me little hope for an improvement.
One insider offered this: “an insane and twisted love story. When Harry Met Sally on benzedrine.”
Look. Despite David Ayer’s lecherous male gazing and Suicide Squad’s egregious implementation of hipster trash Joker, Robbie was actually fun and fierce as Harley Quinn. Can’t WB take a note—as they did when audiences thrilled over the smiling Wonder Woman in BvS—and do honor to the character who is so much more than sexy? It’s looking like not.