Suicide Squad

So much of an incoherent mess that a coherent review could not even convey its abhorrence. Suicide Squad is a very hateful film, and it is terrible for plenty of reasons, all likely equal in their idiocy, but it's hard to pinpoint which part of this film I really hated the most.

Maybe it's the haphazard editing job, likely in part as a result of late-game reshoots to add more "humor." But the overall structure of the film is so bizarre that it was likely doomed from the start. All the characters are introduced in a 30 minute long opening series of vignettes that also partially sets up the Joker/Harley Quinn storyline, and also the Enchantress plot, and only after 45 minutes does the team suit up in earnest. What follows is a split second city evacuation, caused by a giant beam of light in the sky that can destroy things and somehow set up the world for Enchantress to rule, with the help of her brother, in the form of a Gods of Egypt-esque metal giant who sprouts from a random subway pedestrian. This is entirely independent from the continuing Joker/Harley storyline that takes its main form as the squad runs around in the abandoned "Midway City" (that I thought was New York shot in Vancouver, which it might as well have been). Not that this is any better than some other comic book films - lapses in logic, especially, are to be expected - but there is a sense of apathy that pervades each edit, as much of it feels patched together by the studio and the test audience feedback, in order to include "franchise moments" and lame attempts at humor that never land.

Maybe its the generalization of nearly every single one of its characters. Both the female "leads" wear basically nothing and are treated more like means to an end than actual people. But this is also true of the rest of the cast - the poor attempts at humanization occur with Will Smith's Deadshot and Jay Hernandez' Diablo, the former of which is a little more fleshed out in his opening moments, whereas the latter's story is relegated to a second act revelation that leads to an "inevitable sacrifice" that is forgotten moments after it occurs. Jared Leto's Joker is a bizarre mix of mob pimp and annoying fan service. Members like Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang are so out of focus I doubt the film would have been any different without them. Viola Davis' Amanda Waller and the rest of her crew of spec ops soldiers bear the lite version of Ayer's sense of depravity seen in his earlier film Sabotage, but the screen is constantly bombarded by the faux silliness of the Squad.

Maybe it is that fake sense of humorous camaraderie that pervades this film. Not to say this film pushes for authenticity, but it does push for an empathetic core in its cast - we are meant to buy into this "team" by the end, but every unified moment rings false. Diablo shouts, during the final battle, that "No one else in this family is gonna die" or something along those lines, a quip that left me genuinely scratching my head. What family is he talking about? His own family? Is the squad his family now? The only relationship in this film that even feels momentarily true is Joker and Harley's, but it is one so toxic and bizarre that it is impossible to appreciate.

Maybe, and perhaps most of all, it is the misguided tonality and annoying philosophy of this film that annoys me the most. The pop art inter-titles and comedic bits have no place in a film where the Joker dresses as a Panda and guns down a crowd without a single shred of self-aware absurdity. Instead, it is just downright nihilistic, but in an elementary, "edgy" way. Harley shouts "who cares about the world, what has it ever done for us!" and it seems a rallying cry for all the "weirdos" on the other side of the screen. It all amounts to the ideals of a Hot Topic ad: everyone else but you sucks but hey we're colorful and stuff so buy our clothes - but Suicide Squad has the added hindrance of Ayer's disturbing philosophy that far too depraved for my tastes.

Visually, it is complete garbage. Everything after the prologue takes place at night, the action sequences little more than flashes of light in the dark, and the group unloads hoards of bullets into possessed humans that are no longer individuals because Will Smith says so. The quiet moments are all shot from the same basic angles, and many of them take place around tables for some reason. Really, that's where the script for this film should have remained.

It's been a while since a film has made me so vehement in my hatred for it that I feel it is necessary to write a full-on takedown but here we are. Hopefully this wasn't as incoherent as the film, but maybe that's just the justice it deserves.

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