3 years ago, Warner Bros. released a spin-off to the acclaimed The LEGO Movie, that being The LEGO Batman Movie—a film that utilized its unusual circumstances of blending Batman into the culture of this imaginative toy manufacturer, to invent something that felt very much like a parody of Batman rather than a straightforward tale of the caped crusader. Not only did this movie end up doing well at the box-office, but it was also hailed by critics as another success in this LEGO universe that many beforehand had no intention of praising. More importantly, however, it might’ve just been the initiator, along with the help of the 2016 release Deadpool, to this spoof genre that we see so prominent in superhero cinema today.
1 year ago, Amazon Prime released a fabulous TV show called The Boys, which took just about everything you could hope from a cynical, grounded mockery of the superteam genre and melded it into a frankly hilarious political drama of fair-intelligence. To this day, the show has become one of my all-time favorites that the superhero genre has had to offer.
It seems as if comic-book adaptations have become the ruling hand of the last decade’s Hollywood prioritization in production. While I’ve definitely favored some in the past ten years, the massive amount of movies that we’ve had to sit through in this genre has sort of worn out many such as myself, and have accessed us into desiring something more divergent from these crime-fighting story pushers. Thus, it makes sense that even the very studios themselves who had essentially created this scenario would begin parodying their own genre as an alternative to the tediousness. Yet, these off-color shows and movies have strangely become some of the best that the occasionally over-casted and shamefully redundant genre has had to offer.
DC’s new departure Harley Quinn impersonates the roles of these recent self-aware properties, particularly very much in the realm of The Boys, with an MA-rated zest of hardcore dark humor that pokes jabs at the beloved DC personas while relating us to a more down-to-earth illustration of what it could actually be like if superhero and supervillains truly existed in a modern environment. Furthermore, however, it scrabbles together a fairly applicable amount of meta social commentary regarding the issues that plague comic-book trends. So sure, in regards to its deadly questionable similarities to The Boys, it feels like a “lite” edition of it, acting out as a more thematically surface-level and immaturely plotted walkabout of that live-action parody rather than one that outdoes it. However, it’s the cartoonish charm of both the loyalist animation and the victoriously addicting enhancement of the Harley Quinn character, as well as her COUNTLESS comedically reinterpreted sidekicks or foes, that make this show come off as less of a copy of what The Boys succeeded in doing and more of a significantly bigger success than what anything such as Birds of Prey had to offer to the edgier side of the DC universe.
With all odds against it though, Poison Ivy was definitely the remaining factor that saved this show from mediocrity. This is pretty much just as much of her show as it is Harley Quinn’s, and their indestructible relationship in this animated detour is convincing as hell. Oh, and Ivy’s boyfriend, Kite-man, was certainly “something” redeemable too… Oh yeah! And, the unusually alcoholic Jim Gordon had me dying of laughter every moment he was on screen. S***, does this show have so many incredible characters! They even do creative justice to Batman in this, as well!
Season 1 Verdict: B-
Season 2 Verdict: B
“Harley Quinn” is now available to stream on DC Universe and HBO Max.