DCEU might redeem itself with Harley Quinn



‘Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey’ has slowly building an audience at the box office.

“Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” starring Margot Robbie was released earlier this month, more than three years after “Suicide Squad.” The $82 million film made only $19.2 on opening weekend. The sequel is rated R and focuses on one specific character from Suicide Squad rather than keeping the group of antiheroes together.

“I support the new route DC is going with their movies, letting creators make what they want and tell stories without restricting them with things like ratings,” Gage Huff (10) said. “Harley Quinn is crazy, violent, and psychotic, and needs an R rating to show the extent of her character.”

According to Huff, Harley Quinn’s character is what brought “Birds of Prey” to the next level.

Madison Mills (10) agrees.

I was really glad that Margot Robbie decided to make Harley Quinn her own character,” Mills said. “Due to the fact that with so many other Harley Quinn’s — like in games and other animated series — always try to keep her insane side and we never really get to see her more emotional side.” 

Between the writers and Robbie’s performance, a new side to Harley Quinn has been revealed for the first time in the DC Extended Universe.

“She brings in a sort of sophistication to the character,” Mills said. “Most people forget she actually is a licensed doctor so I’m glad that Margot brings in that bit of information so people can actually remember how smart Harley is.” 

Aside from Harley Quinn, some new characters from various comic books and animated series were introduced into the DCEU including Black Canary, Renee Montoya, Zsasz and the main villain, Black Mask. When introducing new characters into a live-action DC film, there are always different opinions on how well they were portrayed and whether or not the character went too far from its source material.

“I felt like they held back in some instances, they don’t really explore the psyche of Zsasz that makes me love him, but I feel they still channeled each of the characters unique personalities in ways that matched the source material, Harley Quinn and Black Mask especially,” Huff said.

It can be difficult for filmmakers to introduce new characters into such a huge franchise with so many memorable superheroes and villains. As a result, Mills said of the characters other than Harley Quinn were underdeveloped and overshadowed. 

“Some movies, when they try to centralize around one certain character, they forget the main point of the story,” Mills said. “So while we’re going to be focusing on Harley Quinn, we’re also going to be focusing on all these other girls and in doing so it’s going to take most of our attention away from the main story of why the girls are there.”

Recently, DC has had quite a few flops and has not been keeping up with Marvel, its main competitor. The DCEU has been trying new strategies to try to be different, such as making a team of all bad guys in “Suicide Squad,” making R rated movies like “Joker” and “Birds of Prey,” and making a team of all women also in “Birds of Prey,” but according to most critics, they have been unsuccessful. 

“I think DC is also trying to market to a more mature audience that Marvel isn’t, who’ve made it very clear that their movies will stay PG-13 and relatively family-friendly,” Huff said.

The DCEU has also been confusing when it comes to which movies are in the same universe. They have made stand-alone films such as “Joker,” have been re-doing movies due to things like bad reviews and have been trying to mop up messes like “Justice League.” In addition DC is trying to expand on the characters that audiences like such as Aqua Man, The Flash (which is scheduled to have its own film released in 2022), and in this case, Harley Quinn. 

“The DCEU is in a weird transitioning period, trying to distance themselves from the likes of ‘Batman vs Superman,’ ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Justice League’ and trying to find their footing and what to expand upon and do next,” Huff said.

Moving into the future of the DCEU, a new “Batman” movie is scheduled to be released with Robert Patterson playing the Dark Knight and another “Suicide Squad” movie is also supposed to come out in 2021 with an almost entirely new cast.

“I’m most excited for Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ and James Gunn’s ‘The Suicide Squad’ just because they’re both directors I really like who can add new interesting ideas and takes to their respective movies,” Huff said.

By Violet Chace