While I didn’t have high hopes for Batman and Harley Quinn, I wasn’t expecting it to be an animated film I wished I had never seen.
This post contains spoilers for Batman and Harley Quinn. Be warned!
Batman and Harley Quinn is full of issues. We have a flimsy plot and the actions of some characters make no sense. However, the biggest issue I had with this film was Harley Quinn. The film destroyed her character for the ‘male gaze’ and I do feel sorry for her.
I was hoping DC Comics animated universe would’ve learned to do better after The Killing Joke debacle. But Batman and Harley Quinn has shown that there are still people in power who have little to no disregard for female characters.
The Killing Joke added extra story related to Barbara Gordon and fans were looking forward to it. However, once the film was released, the extra story made Barbara come across as a female who was only interested in sleeping with Batman. It also worsened the events that led to her paralyzation.
Considering Bruce Timm produced The Killing Joke, I should’ve known he was going to do something awful in Batman and Harley Quinn, a film he wrote. I have no idea how the company greenlit his idea and thought it was okay to release such film with a PG-13 rating.
The overall story has to deal with Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man wanting to turn the world into plant-human hybrids. So, Batman (Kevin Conroy) decides to call in Harley (Melissa Rauch) for help because she’s friends with Ivy. He sends Nightwing to go find her and we see our titular hero at Superbabes, a bar that’s all about men being served by over-sexualized females. The first scene we get from Harley involves a man touching her butt. Sigh!
Anyway, Harley isn’t interested in helping Nightwing so they fight it out. Harley wins and ties him up to her bed. Then there’s a whole scene where she takes off her clothes and proceeds to sleep with him. Now, I get that Nightwing was shown to agree with sleeping with her, however, you can’t ignore the fact that he was tied to the bed and Harley literally moves on top of him.
For anyone wondering why the scene can come across as sexual assault, try reversing the roles. If you think Nightwing doing what Harley did to him can be creepy then Harley doing the same to Nightwing can be considered creepy too.
The whole scene was just a male-gaze fantasy where a sexy woman has her way with a man (the hero) and he’s all for it.
There’s also a lot of jokes made on Harley’s expense. Batman treats her as a sexually charged teenager who needs to keep under control. Apparently, she’s also all about having sex with men and calling them if she “runs out of batteries.”
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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