Suicide Squad

Listen to ScreeningNotes and I discuss this film and much more on our podcast, Movies Now and Then.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

I am going to put logic aside for this review. The film isn't concerned with it, so I won't be either.

Suicide Squad is about a collection of "bad guys" who are forced against their will to fight against a globally catastrophic entity. The members of the SS consist if a man who never misses a shot with a gun, a clinically insane sex pot, a crocodile / man mutant, a guy with boomerangs, and a gang banger who can conjure and manipulate fire. Am I forgetting anyone? I just left the theater and I really don't remember...oh wait, there is a Japanese lady with a sword that collects the souls of the people it kills. I have to go to IMDB to see if I am forgetting anyone else. Hold on...

So I guess a witch is / was part of the team. She inhabited the body of a woman, who was the girlfriend of a military guy, that sort of lead the SS into battle. A battle against the witch or The Enchantress. What is the world coming to when you can't trust a witch.

The SS repeatedly says out loud that they are the bad guys. But Viola Davis is the government agent that collects and manipulates them. So even the government is bad, arguably worse than the SS. The government as a whole is fine with forcing a former archaeologist (the civilian woman now inhabited by the witch) into servitude, despite her having done nothing wrong. Even her boyfriend is kind of like, "that's the brakes kid".

So if you are keeping score, a bad government collects killers and thieves, to fight an evil spirit. Who do we the viewer support? The movie is called Suicide Squad, so I guess we are supposed to sympathize with them. The movie goes so far out of its way to show Dead Shot as being a father, and we are supposed to feel for him because he has a kid. It is gross how thick they lay this on.

We never get any real understanding of the croc guy and his story, other than he is a black guy because he says things like "shorty" and wants B.E.T. in his cell. We also don't get any real understanding of boomerang guy. Other than his stereotype of drinking a lot and liking to fight. The pyro gets a full back story, and the closest thing to a character arc. He was a killer, now he is a pacifist, who has to be goaded back into using his power for good. Or at least for "not so bad" reasons. But even he is a horrible stereotype. The movie uses these stereotypes as shortcuts to character development. You know what all L.A. gang bangers are like right? All of them.

As for Harley Quinn, we are told that she was good, then the Joker turned her bad and crazy. I think we are supposed to connect with her romantic story angle, but when the person you are pinning for is The Joker, its quite a leap for us to want those two crazy kids to end up together. There is a scene late in the movie when the SS sees visions of what they really want in life, as we see Harley Quinn and the Joker in a suburban home, with a kid, living a "normal" life. But never does she take any opportunity to pursue this life. She is a wild card. The film tells us so in text during the "getting the team together" montage.

That brings me to The Joker. I just didn't care. He serves no purpose in this movie. He isn't on the squad, but he isn't fighting against the squad. He isn't anything. He slithers around, making funny noises, and ominous threats, but he accomplishes nothing. Probably because he set out to do nothing. He wants to free Harley Quinn, but he really doesn't seem all that into her when they are together.

You don't know how hard it is for me not to make logical complaints about this film. But I am not doing it here.

So, I pretty much hated the music cues in this movie. I have a history of not liking when movies use the most obvious or recognizable songs available, and this movie is nearly a music video for a "That's What I Call Music" compilation CD. I didn't like it when Guardians of the Galaxy did it, and I didn't like it when Dazed and Confused did it either.

The "action" is dumb and incoherent (still not making logic complaints). The editing is offensive and I would say objectively bad. You can feel the reshoots overtime "humor" is inserted. The script is vulgar and dumbed down. When the witch tells the military guy "You don't have the balls" at pretty much the dramatic climax of the movie, I laughed out loud.

Harley Quinn is objectified like no other character I can remember in comic book movies, and they don't exactly have a good record of treating female characters well.

Not the movie's fault exactly, but in my screening, the biggest laugh came when one of the SS punched a civilian woman in the face. Good one.

Then my final complaint is that this movie officially declared that hate and violence can overpower love. The love between the witch and the army guy, was not enough to bring an end to the destruction. It took guns, swords, bullets, and bombs to bring down the witch and her CGI robot brother. It also took a moment of deception. Lies and hate trumps intelligence and compassion. The army guy literally has to crush his girlfriends heart.

I think the movie tries to go for a dysfunctional family vibe, and like everything else in the film, it failed miserably. I didn't care about anyone, despite the movie wanting me to care so badly about Will Smith's Dead Shot.

My favorite moment is when they introduce a character called Slip Knot, who I guess is good at climbing things? He tries to escape within 2 minutes of being introduced, and is killed instantly. Sorry for the spoiler if you are a big fan of Mr. Knot.

The introduction of the Japanese woman with the sword is bumbled too. She just shows up about 15 minutes after the rest of the crew had been assembled. She isn't a prisoner per say, she seems to be working with the military, I guess. I'm not sure if she has one of the exploding neck devices or not. Her motivation is not explained at all.

I said I was done complaining, but I guess I lied. We don't know what any of these people really want, with of course the exception of Dad Shot, who only wants the one thing, and maybe Harley Quinn wants the Joker because...reasons. We don't know what the witch wants, we don't know what the rest of the SS wants either. Which makes it a bit ironic that we get a scene at the end of the movie where we see what these people actually want, and it conveniently leaves out Corporal Boomerang and Crocodile guy.

We know what government wants, but I can't talk about that because I am not getting into the logic of the movie.

The film takes place entirely in one night. There are tons of flash backs, all of which take place during other nights. I think there is one scene where sunshine is shown through. The evil horde are all black creatures fighting in an all black environment. Probably to cover up the fact that they don't look all that great.

This is just a dark, gloomy, dower movie with no moral center. It takes the heroic element out of super heroes, and then doesn't do anything with it. It tries to cover up its sins with candy colored cutaways, but this is a major missed opportunity for DC, and an assault on the eyes and brains of the people that see it.

Oh, and it doesn't make any fucking sense!