Suicide Squad (2016, dir. David Ayer)
Hey, kids. Did you ever want to know what it would be like to have Hot Topic produce a DC Comics superhero film? Are you tired of all those boring character development scenes in the good superhero films and just want fucking cool music, sexy chicks, and guns? The Suicide Squad is the film for you!
Continuing Warner Brothers apparent need to shit on every IP they own at DC, we are given the story of Task Force X, the Suicide Squad, a collection of lower-tier villains forced into government servitude. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is an intelligence officer who brings these supervillains together explaining that it’s a contingency plan in case Superman-level threat were to rear its head. Superman-level threat? Apparently, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot could have taken down Doomsday? Oh well. A big bad villain makes a thing that shoots a beam of light into the sky and then something with the Joker.
The most glaring problem with Suicide Squad is the editing. Holy shit. The first twenty minutes of the film are obviously longer origins vignettes that have been sloppily cobbled together to serve as music video/trailer-esque introductions. The Harley Quinn origin feels like a much more dense side plot, but in a film that already goes just over two hours there is not much room to reasonably fit it in. That is another ongoing problem throughout the entire film: characters are pushed into the movie and we are given little to no reason to care what happens to them. Katana felt like the most egregious of these. As the team departs to deal with the menace, she comes out of nowhere and leaps onto the helicopter. Joel Kinnaman plays Rick Flag and seems to function as an exposition delivery device tells us who she is in about two sentences. Once again I ask, why should I give a damn about what happens to a character I don’t really know anything about and then doesn’t do much for the rest of the film.
Suicide Squad is a movie that is trying to “catch up” with Marvel. A good contrast would be Guardians of the Galaxy which did introduce five protagonists and managed to develop them into pretty well rounded characters. Suicide Squad opts to introduce seven characters on the team, plus The Joker plus the main villain and then expect us to care about what happens. It’s made even more disturbing when the film tries to make us swoon over The Joker and Harley’s relationship. It’s been very well established in the comics that the two have a textbook toxic relationship, not one based in love but abuse. The film believes it is a sub/dom thing possibly? This is a very dangerous route to go down and I’ve already seen a lot of social media where young women are idolizing this thing.
I was asked why Wonder Woman isn’t one of my most anticipated films of 2017. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and this movie are pretty much why. Warner Brothers have taken a very strange approach in my opinion to developing this cinematic universe. They have definitely made a lot of money, but I don’t see the films being part of a long lasting legacy. Ten years from now I expect there will be lots of used copies of Suicide Squad filling up second-hand stores.