Another movie, another L for the DC Cinematic Universe.
Some of these L’s are unwarranted.
This is because when you have names like Batman/Superman and or both in the title lofty expectations are bound to arise and said expectations are bound to go unfulfilled.
Every time you deal with such storied and historic characters any slight change in the mythos and ethos of these pillars of the genre is bound to cause backlash with the culture at large and the comic nerds in particular (and the nerds are a spiteful bunch). For instance, when the next Spiderman movie comes out, we will not only judge on its merits in a vacuum but against every other Spiderman movie that has come out.
Is this unfair?
Nonetheless, we come into these movies with too many preconceived notions of what this film should have been that we don’t appreciate what it is.
But as we know, Deadshot is no Batman; Harley is no Superman, and Suicide Squad definitely isn’t the Justice League. With this movie, DC had the opportunity to take a page out of the Marvel playbook and make an obscure character relevant in our comic volksgeist. This was DC’s chance for an easy win, all they had to do was make a fun movie with characters that everyone outside nerd city (not as entertaining as rack city) had no idea even existed. This was their chance to make their versions of Guardians of the Galaxy, a film where a bunch of rat tag outlaws come together and accomplish incredible things. Which in the case of Marvel, saving an entire people from interplanetary genocide. But, in the case of DC, to solve all moral quandaries that we have when it comes to government sponsored murder.
But in all seriousness, this movie like BVS started out great. Will Smith’s opening scene was great and encapsulated this new humorous Deadshot in a nutshell. The Batman and the Flash cameos were incredible, and I was hoping to see a bit more of the Batman vs. Waller confrontation that we see in the comics/cartoons/animated movies. But all the good will this movie sows with us in the opening hour gets run to the ground in the final act (almost like BVS). The boss battle (like with Doomsday) was anti-climactic, to say the least, plus the way the fight scene is resolved was such a letdown. Which, obviously, is not how you want your movie to end. You want it to peak at the end, like the time where Superman killed Zod.
But hey! Margot Robbie and Will Smith should be contractually obligated to be in the same movies till the end of time. They’re back doing Margot Robbie and Will Smith things. These two (with help from Viola Davis) put this film on their proverbial back and almost made this movie good. Never since the days of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and its infamous sequel “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” both featuring George Clooney were such great actors been subjected to such a terrible plot (as discussed bellow). But truly, this version of Harley is not only comparable to the animated precedent it surpasses them in every way shape or form.
The Low hanging fruit:
DC opted to punt on this desired anonymity by trying to include the Joker in this film. This movie wasn’t terrible because Jared Leto’s Joker was bad (which he was). He was in the movie for like five total minutes and no matter how out of the place those minutes were they weren’t going to tank the film. But still, there is not point in adding such a legendary character in a movie whose whole point is that there are no storied characters (more on him later).
Also, the beauty of a title like Suicide Squad with minute cultural precedent is that it is a sort of blank slate which gives filmmakers unparalleled opportunities to do whatever they want with it. David Ayer did this to a certain extent because he is the first one to introduce the DC executives to the notion of humor. But again he made the movie more complicated than it needed to be.
DC could have just grabbed the low hanging fruit, got a B+ and went home happy. But for some reason, DC isn’t a big fan of the low hanging fruit and insist on making all of their projects as hard as possible.
Which is admirable, but not advisable.
Marvel built an entire movie empire going for the low hanging fruit and occasionally when the stars and the moon align they make a superb film.
Although the villains in Marvel movies are beyond basic, they’re at least consistent and allow for a clear and easy to follow plot. Most Marvel ensemble movies consist of Aliens trying to take over the world or Robots trying to take control of the world. These are concepts as old as cinema itself.
Suicide Squad didn’t have to do either of these things. But they could have chosen an easier concept than a transforming underdeveloped belly dancing witch, who has a heart that you can stab in order to control her sometimes unless she is with her annoyingly ugly brother who has the ability to channel the power of the machines from the matrix. She then tries to build a “machine” (for reasons unknown) which destroys the world with the power of lightning (also what is up with DC lighting fetish, they did this in Man of Steel and Doomsday in BVS was a laser show).
All of these things I just described isn’t Cara Delevingne fault because she didn’t write this incredibly silly script. But she was bad executing this morbid vision, and if you committed her character entirely from the movie it’s rotten tomato score would rise by 40 percentage points.
Again Suicide Squad isn’t shackled by a deep mythos like other mainstream franchises. They could have easily have made this a heist movie (not unlike Ant-Man) like it’s animated counterpart “Assault on Arkham” which is the perfect Suicide Squad movie. Although that movie features Batman for a bit, they could have easily have included him for more than the 3 seconds he was featured here. This would allow us to get to know this new rendition of the Caped Crusader before his individual film. If for whatever reason, Ben Affleck didn’t feel like it, he easily could have been written out, and the movie would still be a million times better than whatever we got.
Things I like and don’t like:
Are we unfair to Jared Leto?:
I’d like first to start this off by saying that Will Smith (aka the coolest human being alive) doesn’t like him and doesn’t invite him to parties.
And to paraphrase the immortal Future “If Will Smith don’t trust you…”
So there’s that.
But are we kinda being unfair to him?
We’re not but still…
The Joker is one of the most storied roles in cinema. Almost everyone who’s played/voiced it from Jack Nicholson to Mark Hamill (yes Luke Skywalker is the Joker) came away with rave reviews. Even that kid in Gotham actually gave me chills. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. This Joker, unlike its predecessors, was tasked with giving him a love interest. Which seems fair enough, but I don’t think that the greatest performance in this subgenre’s history Heath Ledgers Joker would have been as momentous if he had a love interest. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but merely the degree of difficulty has been elevated.
Also, this new hip hop twist that they tried to put to the entire franchise worked for almost everyone else besides the Joker. Because the Joker is perfect the way he already is and should never be changed.
Another bad boss fights:
Boss fights are one of those things that live in Extremistan. Either said fight scene is the greatest thing you’ve ever seen (a la Neo in the Matrix), or it’s the worst thing ever which is the case in this movie. This fight scene was bad for a multitude of reasons. The first of which is that the main villain was silly, the second reason is that the obscure character in the franchise was the one to fight him.
Cara Delevingne’s annoying brother:
I refer to him by that title because we have no idea who he actually is and or know anything about him. This X-Men Sentinel looking, dude, has got to be one of the worst villains in comic movie history.
I still can’t go over how ugly he is and how bad the CGI was. When will people learn that CGI costumed villains are mostly bad, and we should stop doing them.
The soundtrack was cool:
That’s fairly self-explanatory.
At the end of the day. I don’t like writing bad reviews for the sake of bad reviews. Because making movies is hard, and being pretentious for the sake of being pretentious is sad. But I love DC and hope they figure it out. But until then I’m just going to have to wait and hopefully not for too much longer.
Hope you guys learned a thing or two