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Christina Hodson's script for the DCEU's Birds of Prey is finally in. The film is set to start production early next year under director Cathy Yan. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn star, Margot Robbie, put up this image, giving the script something of a subtitle.
The Feedback of Harley Quinn's Emancipation
Quickly this image is sending fire amongst everyone. Sadly, some even think this is the official subtitle of the film. Sorry, but this so-called subtitle is first and foremost, a bit too long and probably not all that marketable. Second, it was written in freaking pen! Therefore it is hardly official and more of a joke! On top of that, it gives us a glimpse of what the film's premise is.
In our current, politically-charged environment of a populist, ultra-conservative America, these words are charging up some people. Commentators fear a politically correct, pseudo-feminist film posing under the guise of a comic book film. Meanwhile fans just want a run of the mills comic book film offering little, if any, food for thought. They simply want a good time with laughs and action. Do not worry that is always going to last, don't believe me? Check out the Sharknado series or the fact Mission Impossible is still going strong over two decades later.
I fear some forget we still have plenty of comic book films that just offer up escapism like most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Did our comic fans forget so many of their favorite franchises, stories, and icons are beyond a-political? The birth of X-Men and a character named Black Panther in the 60s? Beloved classics like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns are certainly far from just plain, cheap thrills, and escapist entertainment.
Harley Quinn's Sad History
Beginning in 1992, Harley Quinn has existed under the oppressive, authoritarian and assaulting thumb of The Joker. It is odd looking back now at her as she is continuously subjugated, humiliated, and at times left for dead by his pathological antics. In one episode he tries to replace her, in another we learn he rats her out to get time off, and let's not forget when he kicks her out to only come back for her... as in for just her and Ivy's loot.
We see this crossover into the comics, video games, you name it! He knocks her out of a window in Mad Love, reverting back to Harleen Quinzel, stating how she will never love that monster again. Yet she quickly forgives him all due to receiving a rose from him. Her puddin' dies at the end of Batman: Arkham City and afterwards goes into mourning, demanding the Batman be killed. We see her next in the Suicide Squad film begging for Joker's attention in one scene, crying over his presumed demise, and then jumping for joy at his last minute arrival.
Harley Quinn has something of a Stockholm-like Syndrome as she just puts up with this emotional, traumatic abuse. Luckily, we are slowly killing it. With the introduction of DC New 52, the publisher went out of their way to break up Harley Quinn and The Joker. She appears first in the Suicide Squad comics, and later obtained her own solo-series that continues to this day. She begins her own journey without a Joker in her life, finally putting things to rest with him back in Volume 5 about two years ago now. Skip to the Injustice video games, which is quite mainstream now and has her in a separate universe, not mourning The Joker and helping out the Batman. Then we get the animated feature Batman & Harley Quinn where she begins a life anew, with no Clown Prince of Crime. Now we just have to solidify it on the silver screen.
The time for Harley Quinn's emancipation is now.
This country just appointed and confirmed a Supreme Court Justice with a history of assaulting women. Famous men in Hollywood are being exposed for similar accusations as well from Weinstein to Kevin Spacey. Our own president has even made claims of sexual assault and harassment... proudly! Yet, we let them go and pass. Instead, we cry foul at the women trying to bring them to justice, how dare you jeopardize this man's reputation.
Many of fans still have problems trying to come to terms with this with Harley Quinn and The Joker. Images and memes in support of their relationship can still be found all over social media. They refuse to let go of what they grew up with as children, refusing to move on. People seem to be fine with Harley's traditional role as merely The Joker's pet, sidekick, plaything, and nothing short of an strong, intelligent, independent woman. Old-timers are fine with this role for women. It seems as nothing more but an ornament that when left to their own devices can damage a man's reputation. Hence, we fail to ask men to take any responsibility for their own fiendish actions.
No disrespect towards Wonder Woman, but Diana was not raised in this toxic culture. When or if a man lays a finger on her, they will live to regret it. She hails from a dominantly feminist culture, where the sensibilities, intelligence, and character of women are not taken for granted at all. Harley comes from our world, where she is born into and has to just make the best of it. Many young girls hate this idea of having to stay silent in today's toxic patriarchy, but Harley Quinn can serve as an inspiration for them. Imagine a film where she leaves The Joker and embraces her new, diverse family of sisters such as Black Canary, Huntress, Renee' Montoya, and Cassandra Cain.
She rejected The Joker in comics, in video games, and on the small screen for an audience of nerds. Now let's have Harley Quinn take control of her own life in front of a worldwide general audience on the big screen!