Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad ★★★

In honor of Suicide Squad, I am planning to watch the three major live action Batman movies co-starring The Joker.

Ranking:
1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
2. Caesar Romero (Batman '66)
3. Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
4. Jack Nicholson (Batman '89)

It has become taboo to admit that you like Suicide Squad. For starters, the fanboys wanting to shut down Rotten Tomatoes is enough to make you hate this movie going in. However, it achieves something that I feel like Deadpool got way too much praise for. It was a B-Movie level quality superhero film with a budget. Sure, it does have a heap of problems. I find the soundtrack cues to be at times infuriating. I think Killer Kroc looks like Killer Krap (sorry). Even the press around Jared Leto's notorious "method acting" (now confirmed as simply being an excuse to be a jerk) made this a tough film to want to root for, even though it had the most promise of any DC film this summer.

The one thing that should be noted is that this is the first DC Extended Universe (DCU) not to be tainted entirely by the legacy of Zack Snyder. I liked Batman v. Superman more than most (though mostly for what it was TRYING to do). I didn't care for Man of Steel. I feel like fresh blood will do this new venture justice. Speaking as I don't like David Ayer that much, what he does deliver is something that seems at least promising. He's assembled a series of wisecracking characters that may be B-Level in most respects. Beyond Harley Quinn and Deadshot, nobody leaves a noticeable mark (unless getting random liquor bottles is a skill). Still, again I like the film for what it was trying to do. It wanted to be vulgar. It kinda was. It wanted to find morality in evil - it did in a generic way. It even did it with a problematic but on point character in Enchantress who sets up the third act's "We didn't steal this from Ghostbusters, we swear." plan.

I know that this is problematic, but I still feel like the vitriol is off the charts and sometimes unwarranted. I am not going to burn Rotten Tomatoes down because of this. I already had my grieving period when everyone but me disliked The BFG. I like that it is scrappy and that even if it only works half of the time, it does so in a way that makes me want to see B-Movies with this cast every few years. Will Smith's cockiness is enduring. Margot Robbie's sass works in spurts - not to mention that she at times looks taken from Batman: The Animated Series. Go ahead and hate this movie for all of its problems. I simply think it makes it a far more interesting movie even if it's far from the best thing most of this cast has done.

Of course, there's the elephant in the room. The Joker. Speaking as I have spent the past week watching the four forms of The Clown Prince, this was a small reason that I was eager to see it. Speaking as I'm on the "Jared Leto is just all right." wagon, I didn't have much anticipation. I knew he wouldn't be on screen long. He's almost a non-entity for a far more interesting film regarding The Joker and Harley Quinn's strange, pimp/whore-like relationship. There's tragedy and heart there that may get stuck in a Hot Topic-gaze at times, but I buy into their chemistry and I think that a romantic comedy (albeit deranged) would've made me like him a whole lot more. For now, I simply have to say that his momentary time on screen added menace and made me honestly find him effective. Did the cast need to get used condoms from Leto for this performance to work? FFFFFFUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO. Yet I cannot fault the results. He's interesting. He has a sexuality. He's a new kind of Joker that makes me appreciate the diverse characteristics that can be mined from him.

I'm sure that I'll get flack for saying that I like him more than Jack Nicholson's take, but guess what? I feel like there was more dynamic in Suicide Squad that didn't involve mugging and being eccentric. Listen, Nicholson is a way better actor, which makes his role a tad disappointing. I know that Suicide Squad isn't as assured as Batman (1989), but I still think that its intents are far more interesting and, beyond set design, does more with the universe by streamlining a story.

I like this movie. I don't expect you to. But if you do, please don't demean the opposition. Opinions are crucial to enjoying cinema, and trying to shut down one only makes the conversation far more boring.

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