Margot Robbie Was A Great Harley Quinn That Was Trapped In The Wrong Universe

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Margot Robbie Was A Great Harley Quinn That Was Trapped In The Wrong Universe

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is officially the final film in the DCEU. Though the entire universe didn’t live up to the potential that the MCU set, there were still plenty of bright moments. Enter, Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn; the Oscar nominee was the perfect casting of the DC icon. It wasn’t just the voice or looks that Robbie nailed down, but the mannerisms of the DC villain that solidified just how great Harley Quinn was.

Unfortunately, the character itself was stuffed in a universe that was misguided from the beginning. I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives of the DCEU because the issues surrounding the entire saga have been well-documented. However, the problems highlight the missed opportunities that came along with it. Margot Robbie was an amazing Harley Quinn who was trapped within the wrong universe.

Warner Brothers Tried To Make Her A Crazed Sex Symbol

Margot Robbie Was A Great Harley Quinn That Was Trapped In The Wrong Universe

Sex sells. That’s why it’s everywhere in the market. However, that’s not who Harley Quinn is. Sure, the character in the cartoons and comics are attractive, but Quinn was never the type of woman who used sex appeal to her advantage. So when David Ayer revealed Quinn’s attire, it was immediately clear that the filmmaker didn’t truly understand who the character was. It came across as if executives were more concerned with getting the young crowd into the theaters, so they wanted to boost the sex appeal of Quinn.

I do understand that Ayer’s model is based on the most recent comics. However, Suicide Squad‘s focus is mainly on how hot her character is. She isn’t completely devoid of what her core characteristics are, but it takes away what made Harley so special in the first place. Harley Quinn is a smart (but deranged) follower who uses her brain more than anything else. This isn’t to say that this new version of Harley Quinn couldn’t work, but her character wasn’t compelling enough because there wasn’t much development beyond hot crazy chick.

Harley Quinn As A Feminist Icon Fell Flat On It’s Face

Margot Robbie Harley Quinn

Then the character made a shift in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) as Cathy Yan tried to turn her into a feminist icon. This was even more misguided than Suicide Squad. In Detective Comics #23, Harley gives several children video games with explosives inside and detonates them. In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Quinn helps Joker torture and brainwash Tim Drake. Quinn even kills Duela Dent, Joker’s daughter, in Suicide Squad Vol I by throwing her into oncoming traffic.

It’s safe to say that Quinn is not a good role model. She’s not a feminist icon. Birds of Prey (and the incredibly long title) completely botched the character because they wanted her to be more of an anti-hero. The issue is that Quinn is a follower. She’s insane, but not particularly an “alpha” type character. Take Max’s Quinn cartoon – they perfectly capture who she is. Quinn bases a lot of her decisions on the approval of others. Birds of Prey tries to lean into the sexy again, but not for the male gaze, more for empowerment and it pushes her character either further from her true identity.

Margot Robbie is darn good in both films. She embodies Harley Quinn from beginning to end, and if you close your eyes, it feels like the character straight from the early 2000’s. Margot Robbie was NEVER the problem in any of these films. Her direction was simply misguided. It’s okay that Warner Brothers made changes. Todd Phillips made changes to Joker’s origin story. In fact, the Oscar nominee outright stated that the story is not from the comics.

However, Todd Philips never changed who Joker is as a character. The Quinn portrayed in both films got certain aspects of the character right, but trying to make her a feminist icon was a terrible creative decision that only hindered her character.

Margot Robbie Passing The Role To Someone Else Is A Wise Choice

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn wielding a pair of pistols in The Suicide Squad

James Gunn got Harley Quinn right in The Suicide Squad. Again, there were some changes made, but this was the best live-action representation of the character thus far. Sadly, The Suicide Squad bombed hard in theaters. The future was bleak for Margot Robbie as the title character, though there was some hope that she would return since the DCU is only a soft reboot.

She seemingly confirmed that her time in the DCU as Harley Quinn was over, though it wasn’t as clear as “I’m done playing Harley Quinn”. If The Suicide Squad was her final time in the role then the actress should hold her head up high because she did an incredible job with what she was given. She was stuck in a universe that didn’t understand its future and lost within a world that should’ve been so much more.

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