Suicide Squad was very bad. Although it was written in six weeks, it felt like it had been penned in a quarter of that amount of time. Its villain plot makes no sense no matter how drunk you are and its sense of pacing and character development are nonexistent. That all being said, if Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn ends up getting the solo movie that’s theoretically in the works, it will still be good. How can a good movie spring from this mess?
It’s simple: Margot Robbie’s performance was one of the few beacons of light in Suicide Squad, and in the hands of a writer who knows how to navigate her complex dynamic with the Joker — and how to plot and pace a film — she will be the best female superhero since Jessica Jones.
Harley Quinn is at once abrasive and whimsical, aggressive and uber-feminine. She’s a bundle of contradictions, which makes her far more real than women in Superhero franchises are usually allowed to be. Not to mention, her dynamic with the Joker — which was criminally underserved in Suicide Squads comically rushed flashbacks — needs its own film to breathe. It has shades of the Hannibal Lecter and Clarice relationship; shades of Jessica and Kilgrave, of Buffy and Spike, and of a flavor that is entirely its own. No relationship is more fascinating than a wildly dysfunctional one, but Suicide Squad didn’t even scratch the surface.
The Harley movie, above all, needs a writer who knows the basics of story progression and has enough time to implement it. But if the elements are in place, it could not only be the commercial and critical hit DC so desperately needs; it would also be one of the best movies to emerge from the superhero era.
Getting a writer who understands female characters aside from, “look, they have asses!” would help, too. If David Ayer and Michael Bay are busy and they want to elevate the artistic caliber, maybe they should call Nic Pizzolatto.