I Don’t Know What I Fucking Expected, Part 2: Suicide Squad

by thethreepennyguignol

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and, well, you’ve probably just got me to watch Suicide Squad.

maxresdefault

Yes, with superhero movies apparently taking a (hopefully fatal) nosedive over the last year or so, Suicide Squad seems to have learned no lessons from it’s catastrophic DC predecessors. What promised to be a movie laced with solid action, iconic characters, and actual fun turned into  a goopy, sexist, physically painful test of how bored the human body can become without actually flatlining. Let’s take this down, piece by piece.

landscape-1460370191-movies-jai-courtney-suicide-squad

Look, I wasn’t demanding a huge amount from the story here. And, at the very least, it managed to cram in a few more actual moments of levity than Batman vs Superbland, so it earns a few points on that front. But actually scoping out the story Suicide Squad was trying to tell was difficult; packed with flashbacks, weird over-explanations, all while managing to sustain an almost impressive lack of characterisation, it was just a mess. While it ostensibly revolved around the Squad taking down Enchantress, they also had the Joker to work in there, and Batman turned up, and, ooh, The Flash too, because everyone seemed to like Ezra Miller in that Justice League trailer, didn’t they (hey, while we’re on the topic, you see that Wonder Woman trailer)? While the film seemed more focused on telling it’s own story, as opposed to other superhero movies of late who are more concerned with franchise-building, it was a shame the story it was trying to tell was so…well, so utterly dull and insipid.

05018f62f938e47ff9780fb424afc4adfe203b22e1bd285ba470c80ed89f0acd

And talking of dull, let’s get to those action sequences- well, maybe “action” is an overstatement. While director David Ayer presumably masturbated himself with the barrel of Deadshot’s rifle, at least judging by the amount of fucking guns in this move, the action sequences were left to stew in an odd and ineffectual broth of boring shooty-shooty sequences meshed with each character getting a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of them using their special powers, all choppily edited into senseless oblivion.  The effects, too, were really quite shockingly bad, rendering the final battle worthy of a boss fight from some mid-noughties fantasy shooter. I found myself drifting off and thinking about more important things, like how to peel an orange, instead of paying attention to the thunderingly repetitive violence on-screen.

jared-leto-talks-joker-suicide-squad

You know what else was thunderingly repetitive? That fucking soundtrack. I swear to God, it was like someone crammed together fifty seconds from every “hey, everyone seems to think this track is dope” song from every movie soundtrack ever into that first act- we got House of the Rising Sun, Spirit in the Sky, Sympathy for the Devil, Seven Nation Army, Black Skinhead,  Without Me, You Don’t Own Me, Bohemian Rhapsody…I had almost plugged my ears with spare bits of popcorn by the end of act one, and I actually like most of those songs. But here, they just rendered the film not too far removed from a poorly cut together Youtube fan video.

shom2b-2bamanda2bwaller2b2528102529

But, okay, on to what I know you all give a shit about: the characters. As I predicted many a (June) Moon ago, Viola Davis and Will Smith were by far and away the best things about this move, the only things, in fact, that raised it above the level of BvS (to be fair, I cut myself slicing on onion this week and was bleeding for about half an hour and that was still a more enjoyable experience that that movie, but you catch my drift). Will Smith is and will always be a fucking faucet of charisma, and that man just knows how to carry a movie, while Viola Davis brought a controlled sociopathy to Waller that I feel has been undersold in the reviews. The rest of the performances ranged from good (Jai Courtney) to terrible (Joel Kinnamen, oh God, oh God, get him off the screen, he’s so bland it’s causing a vacuum and REALITY IS ABOUT TO IMPLODE).

suicide-squad-3-2

One of the biggest problems with the film is that I don’t but these people actually liking each other. When offered a chance by Amanda Waller to get his daughter back if he shoots Harley Quinn, Deadshot deliberatley misses. Harley Quinn passes up a chance to be with The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad again to protect her “friends”. They try to push the “honour amongst thieves” narrative, but I’m not buying it because no time is spent actually building their relationships beyond one or two uninspired bits of exposition. They’re meant to be ruthless bad guys, but when they’re so set on getting all mushy over each other for no apparent reason, it’s hard to take them seriously. And, since we’re on the subject, let’s take a look at two of the films most important characters: The Joker and Harley Quinn.

enchantress-secret-plan-revealed-by-suicide-squad-trailer-easter-eggs-854131

First off, I didn’t mind The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad. The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad, however, was not the Joker. In Heath Ledger’s seminal and still-unbeaten performance, he talks about how the Joker does things just because he can, a defining characteristic of the iconic villain. The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad, however, runs crime empires, rules Gotham, has nothing more than green hair and a maniacal laugh in common with that other character. Luckily, though, he was horrifically oversold in the trailers and maybe lands about ten minutes of screentime, which is frankly a merciful gift. The movie didn’t have time for him, but I do look forward to seeing how he’s dealt with in future Batman movies.

0bcd82c0-3c9d-0134-cce3-0aec1efe63a9

And so, we come to Harley Quinn. I think it’s important to stress here that Margot Robbie is a fine actress, and she’s actually really solid in this role- it’s just that the role of Harley Quinn is one of the most embarrassingly sexist, cringe-inducingly pandering characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. All those scenes of her acting all-sexy-like from the trailers made it to the final cut (despite the fact that many other trailer moments didn’t make the jump to the big screen), and, somehow, the film manages to fuck it up even worse than that.

phluzkzffawaou-1-l-bb432

Harley Quinn is, at her very core, a character driven by misogynistic actions. The Joker takes advantage of her maniacal love for him, forcing her to harm herself and others in order to keep his interest. That’s part of her character, and I get that. But one of the things that at least keeps her from falling into complete abuse apologia is the moments of clarity she has, the moments where she sees what the Joker has done to her and hates him for it. Here, though? We see a romanticised view of their relationship (which, in Suicide Squad, includes The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad offering her up to someone as a sexual favour, as well as abandoning her to be caught by Batman), but one that gives her character no depth, no torment, no real emotional backstory.

She treats her relationship with The Character Jared Leto Plays in Suicide Squad unquestioningly, and, disappointingly, the film does too. When asked what she dreams for, she imagines her and The Character Jared Leto Played in Suicide Squad married and raising children, her the stereotypical housewife, in a scene that completely neuters her. Her craziness is directly linked to her sexuality, a horrible trope that refuses to die and isn’t helped by her giggling “I’m off my meds” in that Barbie-doll flirtatious voice of hers. These terrible things happened to her, and she is deeply broken because of them, but we see that manifest itself in one or two decent fight scenes while she struts around in tiny booty shorts instead of any actual emotional depth.

suicide-squad-wb-2

And speaking of costumes…Jesus. Enchantress, who might I fucking remind you wears this in the comics, is clothed in a variety of string bikinis and, in order to create her zombified human army, has to french kiss her victims, while Katana gets a belly shirt to show of her abs while she chats away to her husbands soul that just happens to be trapped in her sword.  Aside from Amanda Waller, who I loved mainly because of Davis’ always-phenomenal performance, this is one of those movies that makes you check the date to make sure it really is 2016, and then wonder sadly if women still need to be crammed into ass-baring shorts and terrible CGI bikinis if they’re allowed to be there at all. I’m not asking that every woman have Simone de Beauvoir books tucked into her sensible slacks, but I think politely suggesting that your lead female character shouldn’t be a violently abused yet uncomfortably infantile fuck-doll is going too far. I mean, I literally found a porn parody (NSFW) where Harley Quinn is wearing more clothes WHILE GETTING FUCKED than Margot Robbie is in this movie, for fuck’s sake.

SUICIDE SQUAD

The theme of the movies main women characters seemed to be “Women can do anything men can do, as long as we’re allowed to ogle their tits while they do it.”  There are many more egregious examples of the films sexism and racism, and Suicide Squad seems to come firmly from the Zack Snyder school of feminism, ie, abused women in little clothes is empowerment.

So, overall, Suicide Squad is a piece of utter fucking trash. Honestly, I can’t bring to mind many other movies that exhausted me as much as this one did- simply fucking staying awake through the running time was trial enough, let alone paying attention to what passed for plot and characterisation. It was a nightmarish fuck-up of epic proportions. And yet, still better than Dawn of Justice. Go figure.

If you enjoy this review and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon!

Advertisements