Harley Quinn’s Solo Movie Will be a ‘Gotham City Sirens’ Adaptation

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Say what you will about Suicide Squad, but audiences everywhere agree on at least this much: Harley Quinn was the best part of the movie.  Although I had some serious issues with how her abusive relationship with the Joker was glossed over in a haze of marketable romance — and questioned the odd departure from her traditional costume — she herself was an unflinchingly awesome character incredibly rendered on the big screen by Margot Robbie.

Warner Bros noticed.  Coming as a surprise to nobody, they quickly greenlit a spinoff for her to headline in before anybody could so much as say “ca-ching.”

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Beyond that — Harley Quinn and the lamentable DCEU — we have had no idea what form this movie would take.  Who would direct it, given that Warner Bros. seemingly burned their bridge with David Ayer over their mishandling of Suicide Squad?  Would Jared Leto’s Joker factor into this movie (and, if so, would he be more of a driving force than he was in his lackluster debut)?  Divorced from Batman, Waller and the Squad, what would Harley Quinn do?

Yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter gave some insight into what direction the project is being taken.  Executive produced by Robbie herself, the movie is said to be an adaptation of Gotham City Sirens, a comic series which teams Harley up with like-minded villainesses Catwoman and Poison Ivy.  What’s more, is that David Ayer is returning to direct the project, having seemingly patched things up between him and Warner Bros.

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On paper, the new movie sounds awesome: like all DC movies do on paper.  Robbie is an incredible actress who seems to know where she wants to take her fan-favorite character.  Ayer is a fine director suited to exactly this kind of work, especially given its rumored R-rating.  Catwoman and Poison Ivy are investing, complex characters who have a great rapport with Quinn.  Harley and Ivy are even an item in the comics, which alongside the supposedly bisexual Wonder Woman could help DC leapfrog Marvel in terms of sexual representation on the big screen.

But that’s the problem: it only looks good on paper.  Warner Bros’ post-Dark Knight Rises track record with superheroes is dodgy at best.  Man of Steel, while better than its reputation suggests, remains a controversial subject among Superman fans.  Both Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad — despite their monumental box office takes — were critical failures and were unsuccessful at keeping audiences returning to theaters after their opening weekends.  None of these recent DC movies have lived up to their Marvel counterparts, never mind the DC movies of previous decades.

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While Harley Quinn having a salacious romance with Poison Ivy is a selling point for the movie, I doubt that Warner Bros. has it in them to do more than tease the idea at us.  There’s bound to be a few tantalizing magazine covers and suggestive shots in its trailer, but little else.  This is the same DC that’s happy to parade Wonder Woman around as bisexual, but still places her in a safe, heteronormative relationship for her debut movie.

As for that R rating, despite what Deadpool or Logan might suggest, Hollywood blockbusters are still number games.  An R rating might please a certain subset of fans, but it cuts out a lot of paying customers who are underage and unable to buy tickets without dragging their eye-rolling parents in with them.  With Harley Quinn being such a popular character — especially with the under-seventeen crowd — DC would have to accept a more modest profit margin than they’re used to: something that I don’t see them doing anytime soon, not when there’s this much money to be made.

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And, when the dust settles, Warner Bros. is still Warner Bros.  They are their own worst enemies with their superhero films, constantly second guessing the talented men and women that they put in charge to make their movies for them.  This is exactly how Suicide Squad wound up being the mess that it was.  I wouldn’t expect any less from them here.

We’ll ultimately have to wait and see if Warner Bros. can finally manage to make a good superhero movie again, but I’m willing to be at least cautiously optimistic for this one.  Despite their abhorrent track record, the character is fun and the people at work are talented.  If they can learn from the mistakes from their last three movies, maybe Gotham City Sirens will finally be the one to turn their cinematic universe around.


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