I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that Suicide Squad was one of the big films of 2016 I was looking forward to seeing.
Having only recently become a superhero movie fan (please forgive me), I couldn’t resist the sight of Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith finally returning to his action movie home and Margot Robbie continuing to kill it on the big screen in the US.
And if the trailers were to be believed, the action would come complete with a side of kick ass music.
Watch: Suicide Squad trailer. (Post continues after video.)
But when I walked out of the screening this week, I couldn’t help but feel…disappointed…by the film.
Borderline betrayed, even.
Yes, it was entertaining. It is a movie, after all, and let’s not forget that the whole point of them is to escape the ‘real world’ for two or so hours.
There’s also plenty wrong with the film: it’s serious lack of character development, it’s rushed storyline, it’s haphazard approach to storytelling, to name a few.
But there’s another big thing about the film that’s stuck with me all week. I can’t seem to shake it.
There’s something seriously wrong with how the world is viewing Harley Quinn.
There's no denying Margot Robbie completely steals the show from the film's bigger name stars as The Joker's deranged lover. Her character is complex, and the audience is given the most insight into her beginnings out of all the other squad members.
She's playing opposite one of the most highly anticipated performances in years - Jared Leto as The Joker - yet his performance pales in comparison.
But here's the thing that everyone is focusing on, before and after seeing the film: she's crazy hot.
In trailer after trailer that's been released for the movie, we're treated to gratuitous shots of Margot's tiny shorts. During her (seemingly never-ending) press tour, she's even had to address rumours that her costume was Photoshopped to look smaller in the movie's promotional material.
Even more disturbing is that fact that most of the laughs drawn from the audience are when Harley is on screen and the focus is on her physical appearance, like when she realises she's the centre of attention while pulling her tiny top over her red bra.
"What?" she says, with a flick of her pigtails and, of course, the men quickly go about their business, pretending they haven't just been ogling at her body.
After watching the film, I've discovered there is so, so much more to her character than just her body.
Granted, I can't say I'm a DC Comics fan who's devoured every morsel of her comic book history. From the film, I can tell she can be charming, without relying on her good looks.
She's a bad girl who secretly dreams of having a 'normal life'. She's damaged, struggling within an abusive relationship, a fact that is pretty much skimmed over throughout the film.
We learn that Harley Quinn was once Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist who fell in love with The Joker while treating him at Arkham Asylum.
She's since given up everything - her career, her family and yes, her looks - to follow him in his quest for chaos. She's hopelessly in love with him, despite his deranged and frankly terrifying nature. She would do anything for him, risk everything - even her life - to get back to him.
It's not a love story, it's a story of emotional abuse and a woman with a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. She's lost her identity in the man she loves, so why is all we're offered up as an audience is her appearance?
Walking out of the cinema after seeing the film, I turned to my husband and commented on Harley's character.
"She didn't use her sexuality as a weapon like I thought she would," I told him, adding that that made her much more likeable and admirable than what I'd been led to believe by the trailers.
If I believed what I'd been shown in teasers and press conferences and images and videos, Harley's main weapon wouldn't be her gun or her baseball bat or her wit, it would be her body.
Harley Quinn (or Margot Robbie) is without a doubt the best part of Suicide Squad. So why are we led to believe she's just sex on a stick, appearing as the 'token female' in a band of misfit villains?
It's no secret that half of all movie-goers are women (because duh, half of the world is made up of women). But the characters in movies like Suicide Squad are disproportionately male, and when a female is represented, she's classed as 'the sexy one'.
Harley Quinn is so much more than a sexy sidekick, and she deserves more than to be summed up in shots of her tiny shorts, sexy winks and bubble-gum blowing ways.