‘Suicide Squad’ Director Responds to Claim Harley Quinn Was ‘Eyecandy’

Suicide Squad certainly has its fans. However, many audiences felt the movie was subpar. Numerous critics felt that it was oddly edited, repetitive, and overly reliant on pop songs.

Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn in the film, however, generally received positive reviews. Many critics and fans who otherwise disliked Suicide Squad felt Robbie displayed her acting chops. Despite this, some took issue with the way the character was written. Here’s how director David Ayer defended the portrayal of Quinn in his film.

Harley Quinn | Ollie Millington/Getty Images

‘Suicide Squad’ vs. ‘Birds of Prey’

Firstly, a little background. Suicide Squad was followed-up by the film Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Birds of Prey received a much warmer critical reception. Some felt Birds of Prey captured Quinn’s character better than Suicide Squad did.

A fan on Twitter named Samu de Badalone made that known. Reaching out to Ayer, she said “Harley was sexualized in the entire Suicide Squad movie and in Birds Of Prey she was a real character, not a eyecandy [sic].”

David Ayer’s tweet

In a different age, de Badalone’s comment would have remained on a forum somewhere, never to be heard by Ayer. However, Ayer responded to her directly. This is part of a new trend where artists will directly engage with criticisms of their work via social media.

Ayer defended himself and his work on the film to a degree. “Sadly her story arc was eviscerated. It was her movie in so many ways. Look I tried.”

David Ayer reacts to the politicization of movies

David Ayer | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Deadline

Ayer explained he made his version of Quinn reflect how she is portrayed in DC Comics. He also lamented how, in his opinion, “Everything is political now.” Ayer said his goal was simply to entertain people. He also vowed to do a better job with his upcoming projects.

Some fans criticized Ayer’s lament over the politicization of movies. Another Twitter user, VoyageofDameron, wrote that Ayer had previously directed films with political elements. He specifically pointed to Bright, a film which deals with racism, and Fury, a World War II movie.

Ayer seemed to dismiss the idea that there were political themes in either of those films. He wrote “Ugh see everything’s political. When can we just go back to making cool art? Are you bothered the US won WW2? Isn’t that a good thing?”

Fans defend Harley Quinn from ‘Suicide Squad’

A Harley Quinn cosplayer seen attending the MCM London Comic Con | Ollie Millington/Getty Images

Ayer did get some positive feedback. Blogger Paul Shirey said Ayer shouldn’t apologize to anybody. Shirey said Ayer should take credit for casting Robbie in the role. He said his version of Quinn paved the way for the character’s portrayal in Birds of Prey.

Ayer appreciated what Shirey had to say. Some fans were on Ayer’s side during this exchange. Thanks to Ayer, Quinn it’s popular to dress as Quinn on Halloween and at conventions.

To some, the Suicide Squad version of Quinn is mere eye-candy. To others, she’s more than that. A good character is the eye of the beholder.

Also see: Margot Robbie Explains Why Harley Quinn Is ‘Such a Gift’