Good girls don’t get dirty and do as they are told? Yeah right, not when it comes to one of the most badass comic book “bad girls”, the incomparably intelligent and compassionate Ms. Poison Ivy who, thanks to a team . Somehow, this short snagged an appearance from Eric Roberts (who played Maroni in The Dark Knight and MANY other Hollywood villains), and it also featured stellar performances from novice actors who helped bring this story to life. Though it is not necessarily a “true to story” origin movie because it showed little of the eco-motivation behind Ivy’s “terrorism”, despite this, Pamela & Ivy: The Poison Ivy Origin Story is an entertaining antihero project.
The story begins with Pamela (Aria Lyric Leabu) as a young girl in the care of an overbearing man, whom she calls daddy (Eric Roberts), who keeps her in deplorable living conditions and controls her every move. It comes to light that he has kidnapped her, but thankfully Pamela is rescued and returned to her parents. The trauma has caused her mental health to conjure a dual personality though, one that stays with her into her adulthood as a botanist. When her lab colleague issues a dose of lime green serum to Pamela, she is forever changed, seemingly endowed with superpowers, ones that she will use after a move to the infamous Gotham City.
What I love about DC comic characters is the fact that much of the villains are complex, three-dimensional beings who have experienced such painfully traumatic events that they tend to end up at Arkham Asylum. Because of these psychoses, DC villains are much more than stock, foil characters (forget Suicide Squad!), and the origin story of Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, Ph.D. is perhaps next on the list of DC universe characters getting their own feature-length movies after the success of GTE Production’s epic short — it would be a natural progression after Joker (2019) and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020).
Written and directed by Leah McKendrick and produced by Mariah Owen, Pamela & Ivy is a femme fatale action-thriller that packs an emotional punch, and though comparatively light on the violence factor compared to what I’ve seen in other DC movies, it packs a feminist punch to the gut in the end with its rebelliously spirited narrative. Pamela & Ivy is full of standout performances — from young Ivy (Aria Lyric Leabu), to Eric Roberts as “daddy” (not Maroni in this DC-inspired movie), to the comic-relief grocery store clerk (Jocelyn Ayann), the film was well cast and made for an entertaining watch.
The film, however, gives Ivy super strength, which is not a typical display for her, and the dialogue for adult Ivy made the movie go into more of a campy tone which was in stark contrast to the beginning’s mix of abrasive and heartbreaking dialogue. Personally, I am more of a fan of the jaded and sarcastic portrayal of Ivy in the 2019 Harley Quinn cartoon series than the sex-pot villainess portrayed in Leah McKendrick’s Pamela & Ivy that reminded me of the over-the-top Uma Thurman portrayal in Batman and Robin (1997), but this still seems like a very promising starting point for this director despite some very minor missteps in her artistic license.
As I understand it, there have been quite a few reimaginings of the Poison Ivy story in DC comics as well as TV and film adaptations, but Leah McKendrick’s Pamela & Ivy: The Poison Ivy Origin Story makes an earnest effort in telling Pamela/Ivy’s sorrowful origins with heavy character development in a short amount of time. McKendrick adeptly cultivated a DC universe movie’s tone and made this short like a concept submission rather than just a fan appreciation short.
Watch Pamela & Ivy: The Poison Ivy Origin Story here.
MOVIE RATING — 7 out of 10
|Pamela & Ivy|