So, after months of speculation, claims that it is going to be bad because it is in August, and experiencing the precursor that was Batman v. Superman, I have to say that Suicide Squad is alright. On a story level, the movie is not good at all and the cinematics are standard affair. But all things considered, I didn’t hate the movie and left with a general feeling of semi-satisfaction. So I guess I can chalk this one up as a shittier grittier version of Guardians of the Galaxy. There is surprisingly a lot to talk about this movie though on both the good and the bad side so at least there is that as well.
After the “Superman” incident, the US government is looking into ways to counteract the next meta-humans. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) concocts a plan to create a group of meta-humans already captured and behind bars as a type of “suicide squad.” The idea is that they will send this squad in to situations that require meta-human assistance and in repayment they give them “time off their sentence” or another fancy term for slave labor.
The group is assembled including Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and the infamous Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). The group is captain by a soldier named Rick Flag (Joel Kinnamon) along with his girlfriend/possessed ancient witch known as the Enchantress (Cara Delevingine), and his assistant assassin Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Having the Enchantress on the team for… reasons? proves costly after she summons her brother and begins to take over Midway City. Thus, we need the Suicide Squad to save the day. The group is sent into Midway to collect, things? and fight the bad guy. All the while, Harley Quinn’s “gangsta” (because that is the only way I can fucking describe him) puddin’ The Joker (Jared Leto) is out to rescue his girlfriend and bring her home.
Amanda Waller is a Terrifying Character
Viola Davis, you beautiful human being, I need you to play more corrupt government members because damn. You make the best stone cold killer that I have ever seen. Viola Davis in this movie is, without a doubt, flawless. There is such a disconnect in her voice, her eyes, the way she delivers her lines that is just so cold and lifeless. She is a woman of action, who is willing to get her hands dirty for the sake of the mission at hand.
Amanda Waller is a much more quiet villain of the film and one that is clearly going to be recurring. While the Enchantress is out there destroying a city, Waller is controlling the minds and wills of everyone around her.
The Bar Scene
This movie would have been shit without this scene. I mean it, this one scene alone brought this movie from a 2 to a 2.5. It is the only true scene between the members of the Suicide Squad that delves into the realms of good and evil. It is the best introspective look into the minds of these villains who have banded together for a greater good. They lament that if they succeed, they are still labeled villains and scum and if they fail then they get to be the patsies. They lament, over drinks, of the corruption of the “good guys” and the small differences that separates the two sides in this relationship.
It is such a good scene and one of the thankfully quieter moments near the third act climax. It is the best character development moment in the movie and I am so thankful that it appeared.
… I don’t know how to feel about Harley Quinn. This isn’t a matter where her performance was so out there that I cannot place it as a pro or a con, it is the fact that the Harley Quinn character has both excellent and horrendous qualities, that I cannot put it into either category so, instead, I am going to put it into both categories and calling it a day.
I will start this off in the pro category by saying that Margot Robbie does an excellent job with Harley Quinn. She truly does embody that chaotic nature of the character and got into the role of Harley Quinn with gusto. Which is a good thing, because her charisma and performance is carrying a role that would have been terrible for anyone else.
Quinn is written terribly in this film. The relationship wit the Joker will be covered in MUCH greater detail in the cons section of this review, but as far as the character herself, Quinn is terribly written and played by an amazing actor.
Most of her dialogue can be summed up as “meme trash talk.” What I mean by that is that most of her dialogue is made solely for the fact that someone is going to take a still shot from the film, slap some words on the front of it, and share it on Facebook because it speaks to them. Some of the lines are okay like the voices in her head bit at the army base, which does feel like something Quinn would say. But then there are literal groan inducing lines like “What is that new perfume? Scene of DEATH?!” that left me, literally facepalming and groaning in the theater it was so terrible.
That is my problem with Quinn. Even though the character herself is great and Robbie is able to bring out the joyful madness in the character, most times she opens her mouth it is to say some corny one liner for people to make memes out of. So I guess bottom line on Harley Quinn, amazing job Robbie; shitty job Ayer!
The Script is Terrible
I’m sorry to those who like David Ayer, the man who brought us Training Days, SWAT, Fast & the Furious, and all things bro down and sweaty during the mid-2000’s… But this script is fucking garbage. I can talk for hours about the pacing of this film that is all over the place. The motivation of the characters or the lack of depth given to the team that was randomly thrown together to enter a city filled with too much action for character development. The second half of the film in which Amanda Waller takes off in a helicopter is completely lost on me what the mission was or what they were planning on doing. Enchantress’s brother was nothing more than a dragon to slay. Their relationship felt like nothing more than a business one, making his eventual death in the movie absolutely pointless.
I can, honestly, go on for hours about how this script is nothing more than a hack’s version of Guardians of the Galaxy with only half of the charm. Luckily, the casting was able to get a group of amazing actors to carry an absolutely terrible script.
I am going to say this right off the bat that if this character was ANYONE besides The Joker, it would have been fine. Jared Leto does a good job as an eccentric gang lord akin to some kind of extravagant drug cartel. But the problem is that THIS IS NOT THE JOKER! This isn’t even close to the Joker, this doesn’t even approach who the Joker is, what the Joker’s motivations are, or how the Joker would act in any conceivable reality that I am aware of.
The Joker is not a gangster, a gun runner, a drug cartel, or something so clandestine. The Joker is, and always will be, a nihilistic misanthrope who sees life as nothing more than a cruel joke. His goal is not to make money, but share this joke with the rest of the world. Thus, we have the problems. The Joker, in Suicide Squad, is nothing more than a tattooed gangster who enjoys his weapons for the sake of stylized shots. The Joker does not run a night club where he holds regular meetings in the champagne room, he does not bother with tattoos or a grill, The Joker doesn’t give a shit about status with the exception of what status can do for him.
I don’t want to put too much blame on Leto because a lot of the problems with Leto is not his performance but the script he has to work and the style that they gave him that just doesn’t work. The look doesn’t work, the writing doesn’t work, and the relationship between Harley and Joker DEFINITELY doesn’t work… Speaking of which…
The Joker and the Harley Quinn Romance
Okay, I’ll just put this out there. The relationship between The Joker and Harley Quinn is the worst kind of trash fan fiction that should have never made it onto the big screen. The relationship between The Joker and Harley Quinn is meant to be a symbolic abusive relationship. It is supposed to be a story of what happens when someone can control someone in such a way that abuse become minimal to their acceptance. The Joker and Harley Quinn are not supposed to be a fucked up, but loving couple. It completely goes against the entire set up of their relationship to show the dangers of control and abuse and before you say creative freedom, you can shove that up your ass and keep it there. This type of relationship is dangerous and to make it into something that is potentially desirable to pander to an audience is disgusting.
Do not make any mistakes when it comes to this movie, Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship is almost downright functional. Sure, they start off with the Joker wanting to “hurt” Harley with electric shocks, but she is all about that pain. Later, she willingly falls into a vat of chemicals, not because Joker pushed her or coerced her, she willingly did it and he jumped in after her. Joker actively attempts to break Harley out of prison, something that the regular Joker would not give a rat’s ass about unless she could do something for him and all things considered, the two are completely fine. Hell, they almost have a more well adjusted relationship then most people. Sure there is “pain” but it is pain that is enjoyed by one party and, in truth, I’m willing to bet if she uttered the fucking safe word this version of the Joker would happily stop.
Hell, the Joker is probably the most heroic person in this movie. Think about it, after discovering his girlfriend is being forced to work for a corrupt government agency, the man fights the corrupt agency and is able to successfully free his girlfriend from a situation that may get her killed. This guy is a fucking hero!
I do get creative freedom and all that bullshit. But when you take something as iconic as this relationship and try to add a spin to it, it almost makes all the abuse Harley Quinn suffers null and void. Yeah sure, the past version were meant to show an abusive relationship, but see? Joker in this one is nice and sweet to her so it is all okay. I’m sorry, this writing is just absolutely atrocious.
After I finish this, I find it kind of funny that I have so much to say about a movie that I ultimately consider painfully mediocre. The movie, on the whole, is bad. But it is at least enjoyable and worth at least one watch to satisfy your urges. The script is aweful, the Joker is aweful, the relationship between Quinn and Joker is downright offensive. But if you can get past that, it will keep you entertained for two hours.
Final Score 2.5/5
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