Harley Quinn’s origin story has been reinterpreted extra occasions than every other comedian e-book character in such a short while since its inception. For individuals who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Sequence, she was an extension of the Joker, a annoyed however utterly infatuated lover who requested her clown boyfriend to “rotate your Harley” in an try to cease him from obsessing over Batman. All through DC’s many reboots and the arrival of DC Comics’ Black Label imprint, the character has caught to his background in psychiatry because the catalyst that led to his fateful encounter with the Clown Prince, however key particulars have been modified and moved round to lean on her character in order to not power her right into a everlasting Joker-centric existence.
Spotify’s new podcast sequence Harley Quinn and the Joker: Sound Thoughts affords one more sort of origin story (though “reinterpretation” is maybe a greater descriptor) that alters the facility dynamics between the 2 iconic characters for a gritty story that abandons themes of co-dependency and twisted love for a take a look at manipulation and social nervousness.
The seven-episode sequence sees Harleen Quinzel (performed by Christine Ricci) working at Arkham Asylum and going by way of the same old routines of a sexist office. She is pushed apart, given circumstances nobody needs, and diminished by competing male egos. Someday, a possibility presents itself. The Joker is below examination and Harleen needs to shoot him to attempt to perceive the emergence of latest varieties of villains in Gotham, particularly after the arrival of The Batman (performed by Justin Hartley). The issue is that Harleen’s father is slowly dying, and any hope of saving him is tied to an costly surgical procedure that she will be able to’t afford. Instantly the Joker (performed by Billy Magnussen) is beginning to seem like a possible answer, albeit a really scary and harmful one.
The voice solid as a complete is terrific. Elias Koteas as Harley’s father, Mary Holland like magpie, and Fred Melamed like Harley’s very easy-to-hate boss are just some of the highlights resulting from their means to assist construct the world of Wholesome thoughts like a harsh, relentless and unforgiving place. They spew sarcasm, resignation, indifference and anger with an ease that infuses authenticity into the story and its places. There was by no means any doubt that these characters each lived and have been a product of Gotham Metropolis.
In fact, the highlight falls on Ricci, and he or she seizes the chance to present followers some of the compelling and multifaceted renditions of Harley in any medium. Ricci’s Harley is not the lopsided, seductive menace we initially noticed in Batman: The Animated Series (performed by Arleen Sorkin), nor the explosive manifestation of joyful chaos that she is within the suicide squad films and Birds of prey (through which she is carried out by Margot Robbie). She maintains her composure even when the circumstances round her would drive anybody else insane on the spot. She’s imposing and relatable, traits that Ricci pulls off in a method that does not betray the character.
Magnussen’s Joker deserves particular point out for not making an attempt to ape earlier iterations of the enduring villain. Typically clues of Marc Hamiltheatrical snark cross, and to others there are examples of well being e-bookThe Joker’s laughter is sprinkled in to amp up the madman. The top end result, nevertheless, goals to maintain issues extra sensible than regular, much less cartoonish however nonetheless recognizable.
The identical applies to Hartley’s Bruce Wayne/Batman. The wealthy playboy persona stands out completely throughout the moments he is in, which are not that many. It is essential to notice that this isn’t a Batman story. There is a sturdy curiosity in sticking with Harley’s expertise as a lot as doable, extra so than every other character. Actually, Joker’s identify might have been stripped from the title so Harley might fend for herself, like she does within the story.
This concentrate on Harley’s interior struggles and life-altering choices helps make sure that the story’s many ethical and moral points come to the fore with violent power. The story picks up lots of the hints we have seen earlier than within the Batman universe comics, films, and animations. The ruminations about Batman being the rationale villains dig deeper for brand spanking new sorts of evil regardless of his presence, for instance, are a dime a dozen within the comics alone, however it’s Harley’s characterization that helps tie him down. distinguish.
The choice to not flip Harley into a girl in love who gazes headlong into the Joker’s gaze provides her a level of company that takes her to completely different locations, to a distinct sort of origin. His defiance within the face of injustice and excessive injustice in society results in disturbing developments with much more severe concerns. There’s one second specifically between her and The Joker that modifications their complete dynamic in a method that may shock listeners as soon as they take into account the long-term implications. Ricci and Magnussen profit from one another right here so as to add one other compound fracture to their already troubled psyches.
Harley Quinn and the Joker: Sound Thoughts does greater than sufficient to earn a spot in Harley’s legacy as some of the advanced interpretations of the character to this point. Whereas among the debates discovered all through the seven episodes aren’t completely new, the solid’s performances elevate them and imbue them with a variety of feelings that warrant additional exploration. Extra importantly, although, is the belief that Christina Ricci is now some of the spectacular Harleys we have had within the character’s historical past. That is purpose sufficient to flirt with the insanity inside Wholesome thoughts.
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