Batman created the hunter

Every screen version of Harley Quinn was rated worst to best

By Juliet Kahn / .6. January 2020 1:31 p.m. EDT

Since her humble beginning as the Joker's love affair in the 1992s Batman: The Animated SeriesHarley Quinn has risen to be a superheroic success. She's into cartoons. She's in movies. She's into video games. She wears t-shirts. She is a permanent Halloween costume choice. Not just a breakout character, Harley is a real icon, loved around the world for her distinctive blend of comedy and heartbreak. Like the best cartoon characters, it contains a multitude. Some love her as a tragic friend, some enjoy her slapstick charm, and some love her as an independent anti-heroine. All of these depictions are Harley Quinn, just like Adam West's 1960s swingers and Christian Bale's Dark Knight are both Batman. It is many and yet it is unique.

Not all Harley Quinns are created equal, however. There are smoldering errors among her many on-screen displays, as well as great successes. Where should a fan start considering how many Harleys there are to choose from? We're here to answer that question as best we can - by examining every single Harley Quinn on screen and rating them from absolute worst to absolute best. Pin up your pigtails, it's going to be a bumpy, fun, club-swinging ride.




Birds of Prey has a pretty boring Harley Quinn

Long before Raptors were best known for being led by the fantastically emancipated Harley Quinn, they tore up the 2002 TV screen ... for at least a year. Only one season has ever been produced by the series after its impressive number of premieres gave way to a sharp drop in viewership. It's an odd little series that is particularly averse to comic book canon. Sure, Oracle works with Gotham's clock tower, but it also has a telepathic Black Canary, a Gotham abandoned by Batman, and a Slayer.She is not only Bruce Wayne's estranged daughter, but was also born to a Catwoman with literal feline powers who it can also manifest through strong emotions.

However, nothing beats the show's attitude towards Harley Quinn because of its weirdness. Harley, the show's antagonist, is a fraudulent psychiatrist seeking revenge on the Gotham elite who locked up their Mr. J. It's not a terrible idea on its own, but Mia Sara's Harley has little to do with the mess fans know and love. She grins instead of cackling, laying out her complex plans coolly, and generally lacks the anarchic joy that makes Harley such a beloved character. Of course that makes sense Birds of prey sleek approach to superheroes, but it sure makes for below par Harley content.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters is too nervous to be cool

One of the best things about superhero stories is their flexibility. Alternative universes are not only possible within DC and Marvel's cosmic boundaries. They are often the order of the day. Soviet Superman? Check out Red son. Wonder Woman versus Jack the Ripper? Catch sight of Amazon. Batman and Tarzan team up to defeat a 1930s Catwoman cult? Yeah, that's real too.



But where this openness to ideas leads to really inventive storytelling, real stinkers also arise. Enter Justice League: Gods and Monsterswhere DC's best good guys are reinvented as brutal, world-conquering behemoths with little interest in accountability. The Harley Quinn of this world is similarly dark. We find her in ripped lingerie, dismantling corpses to create the perfect family scene. She was defeated by Batman - here a vampire - but not before we see her hit every tired item on the Hardcore 2010s Superhero Media checklist. Chainsaws? Check. Reflection in a broken mirror? Check. Girlish affections as opposed to bloody violence? Check. It's the kind of Harley someone could love when they put childish things away at 12 and find it hideous a few years later when they realize that R-rated content doesn't build maturity. It's brutal, bloody, and all the more boring.

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is an ordinary Harley

It is not that Suicide Squad: Hell Pay is just bad, nor is his portrayal of Harley Quinn. In general, both of them are exactly what you might expect: violent, quirky, uninterested in ethics. Dedicated DC fans will have fun bringing lesser-known characters like Punch and Jewelee and Scandal Savage to life, while casual watchers will enjoy some decently choreographed battle scenes. It's something to wear, which is more than can be said for some of the other entries on this list, even when best seen with chatting friends or while doing housework.

But that's where the praise ends, especially when it comes to Harley. Hell to pay Harley is what you could get if you asked a computer to create a representation based on the Harley Quinn merch available at a particular geek convention - recognizable Harley but with no memorable scenes, lines, or Moments. Hell to pay gets these guys like Harley for being a happy sucker, so it spits out scenes where she complains of not being able to '(Jewelee) remodel ... with a baseball bat!' In fact, it's not bad, but it's not sparkly stuff either. She is the exact average of the Harley that lives in the public imagination, a perfectly fair representation that meets the minimum and goes no further. It could be worse ... but it could also be a lot better.



Batman: The Arkham attack is a mixed bag when it comes to Quinn

Set in the universe of that Batman: Arkham Video games, Attack on Arkham throws pretty much anything it can into a dark, curvy mix. King shark? He is here. Dirty bombs? You are here. Badly advised intra-suicide squad connections? They happen. Harley is accordingly a patchwork of her most attention-grabbing traits, all of which have been emphasized to the point of absurdity. That is exactly not a bad thing. Any decent portrayal of Harley Quinn has to contain at least a little absurdity. But at the end of the day this is a Harley Quinn who bites off her therapist's ears, seduces Deadshot by waiting naked in his bed and twirling retractable batons instead of something as twee as a hammer.

It works? Type of. Hynden Walch's appearance as Harley is wonderfully nuanced, which goes a long way towards smoothing down the rough parts of the script. But this Harley is so clearly designed to appeal to the youngest fans that it is always slightly repulsive and frankly exhausting to see. You want to take the movie by your shoulders and tell it it's okay, everyone takes superheroes seriously now, they don't have to keep throwing blood and sex around like the grossest confetti to appeal. Fun to find in Attack on Arkham Harley, but you have to run a bloody, sticky glove to get there.

Gotham has a unique take on an icon

Gotham Harley is technically not a Harley. Instead, she is Ecco, the right-hand wife of Gotham's Joker, who is technically not a Joker, Jeremiah Valeska. Like her inspiration, she began as a professional woman who, in her legitimate work with a devious Mr. J, sank into happy madness, deranged devotion, and a lot of violence. Like everything in GothamShe is the classic figure seen through a new prism, instantly identifiable and completely new. The result is strange, but largely satisfactory.

For the most part, Ecco, being the version of Harley Quinn, sets her apart from the character as we know her. Harley has always been a tragic figure, known for her pitiful dependence on the joker for her cheeky one-liners. But Ecco's story is sharper in its sadness and accelerates Harley's commitment to literal worship. Ecco shoots himself in the head to prove himself to Jeremiah, wields cults and helps him pretend to be brain dead for years. Ecco has a quasi-religious advantage that Harley lacks. She often seems more of a supplicant than a desperate lover. It's an odd attitude best left outside of mainstream DC storytelling, but indulging yourself in the broken world of is fascinating Gotham. Ecco isn't Harley, but she isn't Not Harley, which leads to something more interesting than not.

Batman Beyond features an older and smarter Harley Quinn

Batman Beyond Chronicles of belligerent Septuagenarian Bruce Wayne's attempts to pass on his crime-fighting expertise to teenager Terry McGinnis. For the most part, the old Batman villains have either disappeared entirely or are represented by the effect they had on Gotham's underworld. The Joker, for example, is primarily spotted by the Jokerz, a street gang that promotes its aesthetic and anarchic ideals. The Dee Dees, twin girls in Raggedy Ann wigs and go-go boots, are among the most famous members and are the only ones who actually have a connection with the clown Prince of Crime himself.

Quantum leap

Who is revealing this? Her 'Nana Harley', who saves the girls from prison at the end of the prison Return of the Joker Film and rails against them for being 'lazy little scamps'. The effects are tempting. Is your grandfather the joker? Did the Dee Dees turn to crime to imitate or despise Harley? How did she escape the supervillain life or is she still a part of it, however quiet she may be? Return of the Joker The plot is based on a decade-long scheme that almost saw Harley get the chance to play alongside Joker's father in front of a brainwashed Tim Drake mother. How could thwarting this domestic bliss have led to the fat, cardigan granny we see at the end of the film? These are questions with no answers, but the fact that Nana Harley inspires them all is enough to make their appearance memorable.

The villain of the Lego Batman movie is a lot of fun

It is difficult to categorize the Lego movies' attitude towards DC Comics characters by any typical standard. Sure, Batman, Wonder Woman and Condiment King are in attendance, wearing their usual costumes and exercising their usual powers. But this Batman does his own dubstep tracks because he's super rich and brooding, this Superman boasts that the Phantom Zone has 'the sickest bad guys' and well, they're all Lego minifigures. If these representations can be compared to anything, it is 1966 Batman Show. They are entertaining precisely because they are such dramatic deviations from the characters as we know them.

How does Harley Quinn fare in this kaleidoscopic landscape of plasticized adventure? Really pretty good. The PG rating uttered by the irrepressible Jenny Slate allows the character to go back to their more goofy roots. This Harley poses as an employee of 'Phantom's Own Laundry Service', rolls through the Joker's den and cycles through every comic accent, from the stuffiest English marm to the vocal roast Millennial. She's really funny, an aspect of the character that is often hidden under violence and sex appeal, and is actually allowed to play the psychologist in front of a crazy joker. Sure, she tells him to decouple his self-esteem from Batman's opinion of him in order to advance his villainous plans, but nonetheless, it's a more serious inclusion of Harley's professional past than most versions allow. This Harley may be made of plastic, but it's made with all my heart.

The Batman Quinn Harley is not for everyone

Between the now iconic Batman: The Animated Seriesand the cheeky Batman: Brave and BraveAnother cartoon dedicated to the Caped Crusader aired there: 2004's The Batman. The details of the superhero were often unique ... and controversial. The fans are still divided about the unruly mane of hair The Batman this grants version of the Joker, not to mention his shoelessness.

Harley was no exception to this change. The Batman She made her debut as a psychologist, as in her classic origins, but this Harley is putting on a call-in counseling show called Heart to heart with Harley. She is more of a diva than a doctor who is led by a Dr. Phil's parody in the universe has been carefully analyzed to give bad advice to cover up their own insecurities. Eventually, she is punished by her network for ambushing Bruce Wayne on a date he dropped (for Batman reasons, of course) and immediately steps over to the Joker's side to become the Moll fans that come with Swing mallets. It's not for everyone, especially those who disfavor Harley's fall, even more so as it is unlikely. Here,The Batman Version doesn't have to travel far as she was already a Huckster with a seedy online degree. But The Batman is not Batman: The Animated Seriesand the change goes with his slimmer, slightly cynical style. It is not for everyone, but it is worth giving a chance.

Batman and Harley Quinn bring the character back to its roots

Batman and Harley Quinn is a targeted relapse on Batman: The Animated Serieson many levels. An unqualified return to 1992, his images include Bruce Timm's iconic designs over the blockier look of his contemporaries from DC Animated Original. In addition, Timm wrote the story, and BTAS Veterans Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester returned to speak to Batman and Nightwing, respectively. Harley is no exception to this trend, she wears her original costume and lacks the bloodlust that so many adaptations from the 2000s instill in her.

The film itself is mediocre and prone to the same excess as all of the other films under the DC Animated Original umbrella. Case in point, while trying to create a sexy shot, animators accidentally attempted portraying Harley with two pairs of buttocks and was rightly and outright ridiculed by fans of all kinds. But beneath this mud of sexuality lies a Harley that is actually quite a lot of fun. It is a real pleasure to spend time with a Harley that knows how to tell a joke, sing karaoke and sometimes wants to do the right thing even if it's done by the wrong means. The film would undoubtedly have been better if it hadn't allowed its team to indulge in every impulse, but if you can handle that type of stupidity you will find a refreshing take on Harley that you can enjoy.

Harley Quinn enjoys Justice League action

Each generation gets their Justice League cartoon, and this one is a beaming ballista of a series where the fights are fierce, the jokes are numerous, and the priority of the show is evident in its title - action, action, action. It's a lot of fun and Harley Quinn is there.

That’s Harley at most, Harley. Take her voice, for example. Tara Strong has played Harley before, but here she turns her performance into a bizarre baby doll seat that works like gangbusters. This more-is-more approach isJustice League Actions Harley in a nutshell, and it's fucking adorable. Yes, it's nice to hang out with Margot Robbie's Mafiosa every now and then, but how fun it is to see Harley as a cartoon character in the truest sense of the word. She hunts huge, cybernetic chimpanzees! You and Poison Ivy take the Justice League jet for rides! She flips through Gotham City because, while running is more efficient, it's a lot less fun! It's impossible to spend time with this Harley and not end up with a smile on your face and a refreshing love of superheroes in general.

DC Super Hero Girls makes Harley Quinn family friendly

At a time when Harley Quinn is the most culturally visible and the least kid-friendly, earning a G-rated setting is a serious feat. That's it DC Super Hero Girls does and with serious serenity. Launched along with a whole range of comics, dolls, pajamas and school supplies. DC Super Hero Girls introduces herself to the leading ladies of the DC Universe as high school students, trying to make the world a better place while maintaining her GPAs.

Harley is at her best here, underscored by the cartoon's unexpected willingness to go downright macabre. Yes, she's a school girl who connects up with childhood beast Barbara Gordon to go to Gotham-Con, an occasion they celebrate with an elaborate dance sequence. But cockroaches stagger around their feet as they do so, and the chalk body outlines of a crime scene join a festive template. This is a Harley to see with your kids, adorable as it is that even kids might like a bit of black humor every now and then. On the one hand, she calls Barbara everything from 'Babsie-Wabsie' to 'Babbbly-boo', on the other hand, she occasionally tries to hit Robin's brain with a blank light. Teen Harley is a new take on for sure, but one so natural that it's a wonder it took her so long to arrive.

Harley Quinn is finally giving the character its own spotlight

After conquering video games, films and television, Harley Quinn reached truly stratospheric heights in 2019 when she won her own animated series. Harley Quinn is not Batman: The Animated Series, Gotham Girlsor one of the other ensembles she was part of. No, Harley Quinn everything is her, all the time. The first episode makes this point clear by parting ways with the Joker, a decision that could have sunk the entire company. Sure, she's had many adventures alone, but isn't Harley Quinn defined by her relationship with her dear, insane puddin? Can she really exist without him?

Harley Quinn doesn't just say yes - you dare say no. By kicking Joker to the side of the road, the show launches its protagonist into the wider wilderness of the DC Universe, realizing that a character as insane and kinetic as she has had a lot to bring to all sorts of superhero tables. That's not to say it's perfect, far from it. At worst, it's a junior high school joyride through the DC Universe who believes being gross is the same as being interesting. But at best, it's the story Harley Quinn has always deserved and a triumphant keystone to a breakout character's long career as a scene stealer. At least the scenes are all hers, and she makes them manic.

Gotham Girls allows Harley to be her own wife

Gotham Girls was unprecedented in many ways. For one, it was a cartoon made exclusively for the web that was almost unknown in 2000. Second, it focused exclusively on the women of Gotham, particularly Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Batgirl. While his Flash-based animation looks choppy and flat to the modern eye, it was a revelation at the time and in today's superhero landscape Wonder woman Like movies and girl-centered cartoons DC Super Hero GirlsIt was a true trailblazer.

Harley here is the Harley from Batman: The Animated Series, from her voice to her design. She's a wonderful take on the character, but as a Gotham Girls unfolds, the character goes in a completely different, unique direction. Inhabiting a female-dominated world subtly changes Harley, freeing her (and the other characters) from weird, wilder, and generally more interesting. None of them have to be the girlfriend, the buddy, the femme fatale or anything else that is that simple. You just can Be- Harley most of all. She's not the Joker's pet Gotham Girls but a villain in its own right, and if it's something for anyone, it's the clown counterpoint to Poison Ivy's composed coolness. Seeing her turn into a sucker who is never baggage-free is a bit of a vacation from other Harley representations. You will return to them happily at some point, but taking a break from time to time is wonderful refreshment.

Suicide Squad shows Margot Robbie's fantastic performance

Forget your problems with Suicide squad as a whole for a moment and focus on Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Amid characters like Enchantress and Deadshot, sinister and serious about their plans for vengeance and absolution, there's a cheerful, bouncy Robbie dotted with stick-and-poke tattoos and extremely dizzy about the possibility of causing property damage is. That is not to say that she has neither desires of her own nor sadness in her past. Of all the members of the suicide squad, she is most focused on emotional goals. She longs for love and stability, seen most clearly when Enchantress grants her visions of a home with the Joker with kids, dishwashers and a kiss before the man in the purple Lambo goes out to support his family.

But of course she can never have this life, and not just because the Joker is the guy who likes to show affection by shoving girlfriends into vats of unknown chemicals. Harley himself is a puzzle of a person, his romantic streak of war with his love for chaos. Robbie leans into this contradiction with a grinning self-confidence and feels extremely comfortable in this central discomfort. Your Harley is at the intersection of several ley lines. She is a friend, a gangster, a psychologist, and a hell summoner. Robbie illuminates some of these facets more than others, as history demands, but she never forgets their existence or the glittering whole that they create.

Batman: It all started in the animated series for Harley Quinn

Decades have passed since the debut of Batman: The Animated Series, but the years have hardly tarnished the legendary series' shining reputation. If anything, love for BTAS has only deepened. Adults revisit their favorite episodes and mature eyes realizing how much it got right. Small Batman adaptations debut and throw BTAS'triumphs in sharper contrast. And with each passing year, the series’s unique contributions to the myth of the Dark Knight only get deeper into the medium-tension DC universe - most prominently with Harley Quinn.

Initially intended to play a brief role for Arleen Sorkin, an old friend of serial artist Paul Dini, Harley Quinn took on a life of its own from the first frame of her appearance on 'Joker's Favor'. Many played the role at the time, but no one has ever captured Harley's particularly one-sided charm like Sorkin, whose Harley skipping rope plays on the line between comedy and tragedy. She's a joyful failure, a cackling outcast, a psychologist who ran away and joined the circus. Lesser accepts the character claim that Harley give up that messed up middle ground for something simpler, however BTAS got it right the first time. Harley is, quite frankly, a mess, and that's why she's one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe.