Comic books usually aren’t afraid to show some very dark and disturbing imagery. It’s only in recent years that Hollywood has caught up with the medium. Superheroes are for kids (or at least, that’s what Hollywood thought). Fast forward to today and Marvel has become the most successful Hollywood studio ever. Batman went from campy to dark and back to campy in the 1990s, and was rebooted back into a franchise that puts the “dark” in Dark Knight. Hell, even the current Superman series casts the Man of Steel as flawed.
The trend that everybody seems to want to see is origin stories. What was Wolverine like when he was younger? How did Batman learn all of his moves? While I like origins, its aftermaths that hook me. Villains don’t set out with an intention of being caught by their nemesis. They don’t know when their last moments will be. To them, it’s starts as just another day.
It’s here that the new Peter Dukes short film Sweet Madness sits. Sweet Madness is just one of those days in Joker sidekick Harley Quinn’s life. She was once a successful psychiatrist tasked with working with the Joker (only to “fall in love with him” through torture). In the short, the Joker is currently incarcerated while Harley runs the streets looking for ways to free her love. Sweet Madness stars Madeleine Wade as Quinn and Micah Fitzgerald as Mr. J.
I won’t spoil what happens in the short (You can watch below. It’s a mere 11 minutes.), but let’s just say Quinn shines. The Joker has always been one of the most calculating criminals in the DC universe, but Quinn has always been more of an “in the moment” character. It will be interesting to see what will be done with her character in the upcoming Suicide Squad. The Comic Con footage that was released looks to be quite interesting and foreshadows an origin story on the voluptuous villain.
“Harley is a fabulously complex character and since the live action Batman canon has yet to show her any love (pending SUICIDE SQUAD, that is) I wanted to show her some myself.” says writer/director Peter Dukes. “This is HER story. The Joker is in it, but in a way most people haven’t seen before. If I’m going to take on a film like this, I might as well be bold:) I’ve stripped him of his make-up to not only expose the twisted man behind the clown, but also to keep the focus on Harley.”
“Harley and the Joker have a complicated history together, to say the least. This film explores that relationship, but being that it’s a short film it doesn’t take much if any time explaining their background. It’s a film designed for fans of the Batman universe who already know it, though others can enjoy it as well.”