Suicide Squad - It's Guardians of the Galaxy, But Not the Good Kind Like You Want

We've got it. The worst of the worst.

More like the Dirty Doesn't. My column: 

It ought to be known that I am neither a fan of Marvel nor a fan of DC. The only comic I have ever read was a graphic novel called "My Friend Dahmer" (an excellent, harrowing read). I say this to allay any claims of bias against this film and the DCEU. There's already a petition by DC fans to get Rotten Tomatoes shut down due to claims of bias, which is only like the tenth funniest thing about the drama surrounding this movie thus far. I've seen lots of capeshit movies and I don't lean either way; I loved The Dark Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy, but I couldn't stand Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, nor did I enjoy Iron Man 2. One might say I like good movies and dislike bad ones.

My lack of familiarity with comic books is not something I am ashamed of. Believe me, I have no disrespect for the medium whatsoever (I'm particularly excited to one day read The Sandman if I ever get a minute of spare time). What I do not have respect for is the argument "that's the way it was in the comic." A bad story/character/situation/event is bad no matter where it originates. There's no excuse. If the character/story/situation/event sucks, it's incumbent upon the director/producer/screenwriter to change it or excise it. We've seen countless film adaptations deviate from source material, and it often works to the film's advantage (e.g., The Lord of the Rings, Forrest Gump, Let the Right One In, etc.). I just want this to be known: if you get to one of my criticisms and immediately sputter that “that’s the way it was in the comic,” refer back to this paragraph and understand that I do not give a shit.


Wait, what the hell is Suicide Squad?

You’re kidding, right? How could you not know about Suicide Squad? Seriously, I envy you. I want to know how you missed the most obnoxious marketing campaign for a movie since…well, the Ghostbusters reboot, I guess. Seriously, I (and all right-thinking individuals) hated the Ghostbusters trailers, but holy goddam moly, the Suicide Squad trailer was on some next level annoyance. Trying to play up the “wackiness” of having bad guys as the protagonists of your movie is bad enough, but the idea of setting the thing to Bohemian Rhapsody just reeks of desperation. It’s like Hillary Clinton referencing Pokemon Go; it’s so pandering and degenerate. Couple that with the absurd over-promotion of Jared Leto as the Joker and Margot Robbie somehow managing to make Rob Gronkowski look lame and you have an advertising campaign that prevented the audience from coming in tabula rasa.

Don't worry, boss. We got that Deadpool crowd for sure.


But you still haven’t told me what Suicide Squad is yet.

Oh, yeah, about that.

Suicide Squad is a 2016 action movie that’s based on a DC (apparently it’s very important to smelly nerds that it’s DC and not Marvel) comic book of the same name. Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis, in unquestionably the worst performance of her life) explains to the United States government that she’s acquired “the worst of the worst.” The idea is that Superman ostensibly saved the city last time out (probably killed more people than he saved, really), but the next super man (or metahuman as we call them in this Universe for some reason) might just rip off the roof of the White House and fly Obama back to Kenya.

It’ll take more than the US armed forces to stop that from happening, so Waller has assembled a rudimentary task force of some supervillains to do the job instead. Not only are they expendable, but they’ve got special talents no one else has. They’ve got a guy who never misses a shot, a pyrokinetic, a literal demigoddess, a bigass reptile, some guy who throws boomerangs, a guy who climbs well, and some chick with a bat and brain damage. One of the weaknesses of the film is in the premise: this is a terrible assortment of villains right off the bat. Remember how much damage General Zod caused in Man of Steel? There isn’t a chance in hell that any one of these idiots could stop him. This could’ve been so much more easily explained if Waller had just said that she wants to carry out various covert black ops missions with expendability (I like that premise and name, I think there’s money in that) and deniability (in fact, that’s one of the ways she convinces the government to allow her to do this stupid, stupid thing), but the overall reasoning that “yeah, these nearly uncontrollable people could put aside their differences, start up a “Quack, Quack, Quack” chant, and defeat a god-man from a death planet” is flimsy as fuck and clearly not thought out at all.

That doesn’t make a God damned bit of sense

Correct.
Who there, pal. Those are the bad guys! This movie looks like it'll be a bit wacky!


As the film begins, we’re introduced to Belle Reve Penitentiary, a prison complex where most of the villains are being housed, while “House of the Rising Sun” (a song about a brothel, not a prison) plays in the background. This will be the first of many, many poor music choices. The movie features a lot of really shitty editing, so I’m just going to give some character profiles really quick like in my Tekken retrospectives.

Deadshot


Deadshot is one of the major two faces of the Suicide Squad. Any movie, regardless of quality, is helped when one of those faces is portrayed by Will Smith. Even Wild Wild West. Especially Wild Wild West. Deadshot never misses a shot with any type of gun, which is a handy skill to have, but it sounds like something out of a Metal Gear Solid game. He may be a cold, heartless, greedy, murderous sociopath who values a single dollar over an innocent human's life, but he's got a daughter, and apparently we're supposed to sympathize with him because of that. His daughter is one of the worst actors in the movie, and their relationship is entirely unbelievable, but I won't pretend like Will Smith isn't doing the absolute best he can. I swear, there has to be some secret underground cabal in Hollywood that conspires to give Will Smith the worst lines in history in each one of his movies, just to see if he'll crack. Smith has been given, by my estimation, the third-worst lines of anyone in the squad, yet he delivers at least 50% of them expertly. I don't HATE Deadshot (outside of the forced comedy bits they clearly added in reshoots designed to mimic Deadpool), but there's nothing really likable about him either. 

Harley Quinn

Huh, I wonder why they decided to make her the face of the movie.

Harley Quinn is crazy. I know this because the movie constantly tells me that she is insane. Deranged. Unhinged. Nuts. The film keeps telling us this over and over again, but it never really SHOWS that she's crazy. That's the thing about movies: it's a visual medium, so the onus is upon the director and screenwriter to show, not tell. At no point was the audience able to tell what kind of insanity plagued her mind, nor was anyone particularly interested. This is going to be one of the more controversial statements in the review, but I couldn't stand Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn was a character created for Batman: The Animated Series, one of the finest television shows ever created. If you haven't watched that show, you're not a true Batman fan. I know that's kinda bullshit for me to throw that out there seeing as I've never read a Batman comic, but it's totally true: Batman: TAS represents Batman at his best.

Anyway, Harley Quinn was one of the best characters on that show; she was a lot like Daffy Duck, never really winning, but always contributing something to the story and being genuinely funny and creative. It goes beyond acrobatic stunts and baseball bats; it's about using unconventional weapons and having an iota of class. This Harley is a stripper. That's really the gist of it. All the fun of her character has been sucked away by some truly award-winningly bad writing (the second-worst of everyone in the squad) and the horrible decision to parade her around as some T&A for the more disgusting nerds in the audience. Seriously, the movie is so blatant about what she is that her introductory song is “Super Freak”. I cringed so hard when I realized I paid money to see that. It gets even worse when you see her audition tape.

Captain Boomerang

This is the worst Mad Max spin-off ever

No, really, that's his superpower. He's good with boomerangs. We've assembled an elite taskforce of people who are good with Australian toys. Captain Boomerang is an amoral Australian thief who has a thing for pink unicorns. Honest to God, I think this was written by a 12-year-old. As if that weren’t enough, his introductory song is “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC. Subtle. In the comics he's known for being a complete pussy who often betrays the team or simply runs away from danger. Again, this group was assembled to take out a hypothetical metahuman bent on destroying the American sense of liberty, justice, and poor mental health treatment. They decided to go with a guy who's better off hunting kookaburras. 

El Diablo


This guy, who was probably named after a hot sauce, is perhaps the only character in the squad that I kinda like, and even then only because the other characters are so boring and unlikable. Diablo has the power of pyrokinesis, and he's really fucking good at it. Far more interesting is that he refuses to use that power. It's a bold move, but it's kinda fascinating to see someone with a superpower who just straight up refuses to use it. He gave up the powers because he hurt someone he loves and got sentenced to life at Belle Reve. It was such a traumatic experience that he vowed to never use his ability again. Except for when he incinerates a yard full of prisoners. 

Killer Croc


Killer Croc is a large reptile-human who can swim well and is strong. He is under arrest for being a crocodile-person. There's nothing even remotely interesting about him. He has the worst lines of anyone in the squad (all three of 'em), and I have no idea why he's even on the team (besides obligations to respect the source material, I suppose). What the fuck is he going to do against Superman besides die first? His introductory song is “Fortunate Son;” it has nothing to do with his character, but it’s a song you have to include in your movie about rebels nowadays. I swear if I hear John Fogerty shriek “it ain’t me” one more time I’m going to put an axe through the projector.

The Enchantress

Someone needs a bath.

Alright, so some of the characters we’ve detailed would likely prove ineffective in a fight against a metahuman. Amanda Waller made up for it by including The Enchantress, who I’m pretty sure is the closest any comic book movie I’ve ever seen has got to actually including a demigoddess. She can bilocate, teleport, pass through walls; she’s not bound by the laws of time, space or physics. She can essentially do whatever she wants. In a one-on-one battle between her and Superman, I might throw my shekels her way; the least she’ll do is make things really, really interesting. I’ve been told that in order to get her to prepare for the role, Ayer told the actress to strip nude under a full moon in her backyard, and she really did it. That has absolutely nothing to do with her character, so I’m guessing the director was just fucking with her.

Now, seeing as she’s some sort of ancient South American demigoddess, she really doesn’t have any incentive to listen to anything Waller, or the United States government by extension, has to say. There’s really nothing to stop her from destroying half the city, taking up residence in an abandoned Toys r Us and hogging all the first edition Star Wars toys to herself. That’s why Waller’s got her heart locked away in a suitcase. At the first sign of trouble, she can just stab it with a fork, and Enchantress has to do whatever she says, I guess. Seems kinda blue collar for 2016, but that’s the way it goes. This is a pretty nutty group of characters! A real who’s who of horseshit. How could you possibly control them in the field?


Rick Flag

Pretty sure that white trash facial hair isn't regulation, Sarge.

Rick Flag is not a criminal and is thus the least interesting member of the squad (somehow less interesting than Killer Croc, which really takes some doing). He’s some sort of black ops marine blah blah good with a rooty tooty point ‘n shooty. He’s also fallen in love with June Moone, the archaeologist who’s being possessed by the Enchantress (she doesn’t get a character profile because she’s in the movie for like three minutes). For what it’s worth, one of the few things I liked about the movie is the transition from June Moone (Oh comic book names, you never cease being garbage) to Enchantress. The visual effects aren’t bad. That’s really the nicest thing I can say. Anyway, Rick Flag is just this one guy who tells them where to go and what to do. Joel Kinnaman doesn’t do a bad job, but there’s no meat to this role at all so it’s one of the most forgettable characters despite being one of the most critical ones.

After Waller has introduced all these characters you don’t care about, she goes to the joint chiefs of staff and tries to convince them to allow her to put together this rag-tag black ops squad. They understandably refuse, so she brings in June Moone, who transforms into the Enchantress, who obtains the Tehran missile codes in an instant.

Stop. 

Guys, I don’t know if you realize, but that alone right there makes her so fucking powerful that you don’t even need the rest of the Suicide Squad! Why bother with some poorly dressed girl with a baseball bat? What’s she going to do that the Enchantress can’t? Why do you need anyone else? David, seriously, this should be your movie right here. Getting the Tehran missile codes and then just seeing what happens afterward would be so much more interesting than what you’re going to do. Instead the big bad men in suits go “oh, that’s nice” and give Waller full clearance to do some really dumb shit.

The first thing that happens is Enchantress betrays all of them and escapes and declares war on humanity. No, seriously, that’s what happens. It’s almost completely unexplainable too. For some reason Moone transforms into Enchantress (we were initially led to believe she could do this of her own volition just by saying the word “Enchantress” like she’s a Pokemon or something, so she’s either an idiot or the movie led us astray), who then shows Flag a vision of Moone dying, teleports to Waller’s hotel room, and steals her brother’s soul away. Her brother’s soul that was trapped in a little tiki jar. Please stop laughing this movie is very serious. Except for the times where it’s supposed to be funny.

Enchantress, now packing major heat a la her brother’s eternal soul, gives said soul to some random guy in a subway bathroom. All this happens in about 16 seconds and features some of the worst editing I’ve ever seen. I had to talk with like eight different comic book nerds and have them explain it to me frame by frame. I’d tell you what they said but I couldn’t parse out what they were mumbling while picking their freshly-dumped notebooks up off the floor. You dropped your missile codes, McFly.

I genuinely don't remember the context of this scene in the movie.

Now Enchantress is pissed at the world for being locked up for centuries and she’s looking for revenge with her brother. Waller finds out and starts stabbing the shit outta her heart (yeah, that’ll work), so her brother…gives her…his heart…which I thought would kill him…but I guess he’s okay anyway. Maybe they’re just sharing his heart for 15 minutes apiece, I dunno. Anyway, now Waller has no effective way of stopping her and Enchantress has a really idiotic looking outfit. She decides to turn city hall into some big dimensional doomsday machine (never seen THAT in any work of science fiction before).

The Suicide Squad is assembled to tell her to hit the bricks. What follows is a really cringeworthy scene where the gang gets new outfits and weapons and shit set to bad music cues compounded with terrible jokes. It’s become increasingly obvious that Warner Bros. saw the reaction to Deadpool, a unique, original, creative film, and decided to just rip it off wholesale with terrible attempts at post-production humor. The crew is also informed that they’ve been implanted with exploding thingies in the back of their skulls, so the first chance of betrayal will result in cranial destruction. An inspired choice that made me wish I was watching Escape from New York instead. We’re also introduced to Slipknot!

Ooh-wah-ah-ah-ah
This big Steven Seagal-looking beefcake is called Slipknot. In the comics he’s really good at tying knots, but in the movie “he can climb anything.” Some superpower, dork. I’d rather be a Boy Scout than a shit ass Casey Ryback/Spider-Man hybrid. I’d also rather be watching a good movie, and if wishes were fishes we’d all be swimming in the dirty brown trash water this film negative was run through.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Slipknot. Yeah his head explodes 30 seconds into the mission. You see, his job is to get his head blown off, just to prove to everyone else that they’re also in danger. I never liked “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” anyway.

Amanda Waller contacts them via Skype to tell them they’ve been tasked with rescuing someone called HVT-1 in Midway City (wasn’t that where Son of the Mask was set?). Because the movie is atrociously edited, we’re introduced to yet another character before anyone has a chance to breathe. I’m sorry to split the review up like this, but I learned it from Warner Brothers.

Finally.
It’s about time we get a character I actually like, and only 3 hours into the movie. Katana (they had to find a character with a worse name than Deadshot somehow) is a Japanese assassin who’s out to avenge her husband’s death. We don’t know who did it, but I pity the fool who did, because her sword traps the souls of those it kills. Sounds pretty badass, right? Wanna see a sword trap a soul inside itself? Too fuckin’ bad, kiddo. David Ayer made the executive decision to introduce the idea and never show it to the audience. What a nice guy. I guess the reason I like her is that her backstory is really short and she almost never speaks. Trust me, that compares really well with the other characters. Another reason to like her is that she isn’t actually part of the squad. Katana’s just there to provide some muscle and keep them in line (she never really has to, but that’s David Ayer for you).


That’s everyone. Grab a fork and dig in to the plot, nerdlington


The squad is transported to Midway City, along with a cadre of various military personnel. I kinda thought the idea of having these criminals perform dangerous, possibly illegal missions was that if you lose them, hey, they were on death row anyway. Furthermore, the military actively protects these losers. I’ve got no idea what David Ayer was thinking when he made this stupid movie, or how it passed through so many levels of phases of production without someone raising their hand and asking what the sam hill is going on in this dumb movie for idiot babies.

The squad is finally confronted by some nameless, faceless, nondescript enemies. Turns out the Enchantress has been taking innocent citizens and converting them into zombies with bulbous sores all over their heads. It’s kinda like how Dr. Cortex has a bunch of henchmen who look just like him. We’ve got a villain with the strategy of a PS1 villain, kids. This leads to a really disappointing action sequence and the genocide of several innocent men and women who hopefully could have been rehabilitated or cured. It’s okay though, because they’re the bad guys!

Another fight of similar proportions takes place in an office complex. Diablo refuses to engage because of his commitment to pacifism (even though his life is at stake, I still kinda respect that to some degree), until he decides to unleash his powers on this particular group of nameless, faceless hostiles. I know this is a(n unmarked) spoiler-filled review, but the reason behind him suddenly using his powers now is the absolute dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie (besides everything in Catwoman). It’s one of those “you have to see it to believe it” sort of deals, except I would never ever advise anyone to see this movie.

While walking up a flight of stairs, Harley Quinn has a flashback. Harleen Quinzel was a clinical psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, and she was assigned to the Joker. Unsurprisingly, she was driven insane (and fell in love with him) and helped him escape. This is one of the major failings of the movie: exactly what drove her insane? In the Batman: TAS episode Mad Love (an essential episode), Harley Quinn is driven insane by her love for the Joker. That's really all you need. In Suicide Squad, she a) is driven insane by her love for the Joker, given electroshock therapy by the Joker (why?) and tossed into a vat of nondescript chemicals that more than vaguely resemble a big ole barrel o’ jism. No one has been able to give me a serious explanation as to why those last two events happened. If she was already devoted to the Joker (devoted enough to sneak a machinegun into a mental health facility full of criminals, mind you), why did she need the electro shock therapy? If that drove her even more insane and even more devoted, why dump her into that vat of chemicals? At least one of those scenes ought to have been excised; probably both. Again: Paul Dini gave this a stamp of approval. I legitimately have no idea how he saw this and went “yup, that’s how I would write her.”

She's a murderous psychopath, yet she drinks coffee! Comic book villain or Oscar Wilde character: we report, you decide.

The squad works its way through the office complex and comes upon the extraction target: Amanda Waller herself. Why couldn’t they have told the team this earlier? David Ayer needed some bullshit suspense for his white-knuckle thrill ride of a movie. Waller then shoots three of the people in her little mission control room because they didn’t have a high enough security clearance for what they overheard, leading Deadshot to say “That’s gangsta.” Honestly, this movie is pathetic.

It’s even more pathetic that we’re asked to believe Waller’s character is threatening, intimidating, or even in control of anything. She had to be rescued by her own bullshit squad, for starters. When she reveals that she possesses a program on her phone that can detonate the neck bomb in everyone’s body, there’s so many opportunities for any one of the villains to simply kill her before she slides her thumb over their picture. You can even make the argument that Enchantress might not have gone rogue if Amanda Waller hadn’t captured her and forced her to do her bidding. What it all comes down to is this: I don’t believe what Viola Davis (and the paltry script) is trying to convey at any point in the movie. Unfortunately, I have a feeling I’m the only one who feels this way. It’s not like the comic book nerds are going to care.

The Suicide Squad (which sounds like a more accurate portrayal of a middle school girls’ clique than the Babysitter’s Club) doesn’t seem to care either, as they prepare to load her onto a plane to remove her from the building. What’s the plan to eradicate the Enchantress and her brother? Eh, who cares, we have a military for that. I’m sure we could’ve used the Suicide Squad we assembled for this exact reason, but to hell with that! We’re going to focus on a two time Oscar nominee instead. However, her aspirations of escape are wrecked when they’re ambushed by…oh, no.

Imagine being the set designer for this shit.

Let me tell you about this bitch. Recruiting a highly obsessive method actor who’s also won an Academy Award seemed like a great idea at the time; it was like adding Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger at the same time. Jared Leto’s method acting manifested itself in some pretty peculiar ways: he never broke character – ever – on set, he went around the streets bothering people with his Joker laugh, and he sent gifts to his coworkers to keep the tension up. These gifts included a live rat, anal beads, and used condoms. Somehow I can’t imagine any other iteration of the Joker doing something this asinine. Leto would probably argue that the ends justify the means, and I might even agree if he had given a standout performance. Instead, he gave a performance that I swear any local community college drama student could have given. I’m inclined to agree with Will Smith: Jared Leto is an asshole.

One of the things about the Big Three (Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Ledger) was that their Jokers were all at least a little bit funny. That’s one of the really unsettling things about the Joker: you’re laughing with a crazed killer. It’s like laughing at a joke by Edmund Kemper, or enjoying the paintings of John Wayne Gacy. I never laughed at Leto’s Joker; I’m not even sure whether I was supposed to laugh at him. Let me rephrase that, I laughed at him. I laughed at him a whole lot, but I never laughed with him. There’s nothing complex about him; he’s just incredibly dull. That boredom seems to infect the entire movie, like smallpox. Even though he’s only in the movie for seven minutes, it feels like that’s too much time for him. If I was the editing team I would have cut his performance out of the movie entirely.

Maybe Ayer could feel the boredom spreading, because he quickly does away with ol’ Mr. J. Harley escapes with the Joker, but the chopper crashes. Harley escapes just in time, and we’re left to wonder whether the Clown Prince of Crime was able to survive (if you’re actually wondering whether he lived by this point then maybe you should go see Nine Lives instead).

(please read this next paragraph very quickly to match the film’s atrocious pacing)

Waller gets her own person chopper off the roof of the building but it gets attacked by the Enchantress’ brother but she survives the crash but then she gets abducted by the Enchantress’ forces and then they capture Waller and take her to the Enchantress’ headquarters and then the Enchantress takes her heart back from Waller (so she doesn’t have to share her brother’s heart anymore) and then Enchantress siphons off the knowledge from Waller as to how to defeat the US military and now the squad goes to locate Waller (because they need her to uphold her end of the bargain to Deadshot and his daughter) but then Deadshot finds a top secret mission briefing that they’re going up against some unstoppable evil that they could have just told everyone about and they’d still have the same bad attitudes they’d had before.


All this is a bit much to take, so the crew just kinda gives up and goes into a bar to drink away the sorrows of working on a shitty Warner Brothers movie. Here, it is revealed the dark past of El Diablo: he was a married gangbanger, with two darling children. His wife somehow couldn’t tell that the guy with a face tattoo might be in deep with a crime syndicate, drugs, and weapons, and in a fit of rage he killed his family.

This led to the line that made me hate this movie, one delivered by Harley Quin: “Own that shit.” Not because it’s an incredibly cruel thing to say to a man who is still mourning the death of his family, not because it’s something you ought not to say to a man who has renounced violence, but because it reminds me of all those awful drunken conversations amongst friends and coworkers where everyone thinks they’re smarter than everyone else and everyone turns into a philosopher with the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. I won’t pretend like having this rag-tag group of off-beats meet up to discuss their feelings in a bar isn’t a pretty good idea, but of all the aspects of realism to nail, why did Ayer have to hit on the worst part of inebriation? “Own the fact that you killed a child” yells the woman who had a direct hand in the gruesome murder of The Boy Wonder.

They never stay, never stay small. But the Justice League doesn't like 'em at all.


Rick Flag comes in there and tells them that the Enchantress is inhabiting the body of the woman he loves, and for some reason he sees fit to release them all. He even destroys his phone (with the app that kills people – Harley called it a “killer app” and everyone in the theater groaned). As soon as he does this, Captain Boomerang picks up all his drinks and rushes out of the bar, and he’s the only one who does. It’s the only (intentionally) funny scene in the movie. With absolutely no decent motivation at all, the rest of the group decides to join up with Flag to go in there and defeat the Enchantress. Captain Boomerang even comes back for literally no reason at all, which is one of the more infamous plotholes in the movie (I swear, if any nerd comments that “well, that’s what boomerangs do, they come back” I will never watch another comic book movie in my life). Editor’s Note: Hahahahahaaha. See you at Wonder Woman, idiot.

The club makes its way into the heart of city hall, where they meet up with the Enchantress. This is one of the other infamous scenes of the movie: she’s doing this weird dance where she’s shaking her hips unnaturally, like a woman who has no idea how to be sexy. The whole time I’m just wondering if she was really doing this for a solid hour in front her Half-Life 2 citadel the entire time. The plan is to detonate a bomb beneath the (much larger) brother and work on Enchantress later. Deadshot recommends that Flag slap her on the ass and tell her to get in line, in a move that I just know some doughy studio executive with a bad haircut insisted on inserting after seeing Deadpool. Enchantress, however, knows they’re there (again, they should be brown bread by now) and gives them each a vision of what they want most of all.

I’m not a comic book nerd, as I’ve made abundantly clear, but I’m pretty sure the movie misses the motivation of three of its main characters. Deadshot’s fantasy shows him standing over a dead Batman, smiling complacently. Wouldn’t he rather have a life where he’s living comfortably with his daughter? Harley’s fantasy shows her living a suburban, white bread, normal (she even presses the “normal” button on the dishwasher – subtle move, Ayer!) life with Jared Leto (not the Joker, he’s not even made up or in costume or anything). This is the same sort of shit she lambasted El Diablo for dreaming about in the bar, so why is it suddenly okay for her to dream about? Moreover, in the cartoon (and in the movie), the key attribute about Harley is that she fell in love with the Joker – warts and all. She loves him even more because they’ll never have a normal life; that’s what makes it so much more exciting for her. She’s got no cause to dream of a suburban life. Finally, it cuts to Diablo, who fantasizes about having his family back – and luckily he realizes that this too is bullshit, because it’s something he can never have.

They break free of that temporary distraction (that could be any scene in the movie, really) and she sends her big brudda after them. This guy’s like 20 feet tall, so none of them stand a chance, even taking him on as a group. Diablo says “let me show you what I really am”. He then transforms into a 20 foot tall ancient god of fire and says “it’s on, bitch” in Spanish. No, seriously, that’s the climax of the movie. This might have been great from a “hilariously idiotic” perspective, but unfortunately it’s attached to the only sympathetic character in the entire movie, one who’s been played straight the entire time. Warner Brothers would have been better off having Captain Boomerang transform into a giant kangaroo.

That'll thhow the Thuithide Thquad!

Diablo fights him off into the corner with the bigass bomb and sacrifices himself for the team; I guess all it takes is some alcohol and harsh words to get to know someone well enough to immolate oneself. It also appears that you can just kill a demigod with a big enough explosion, which begs the question: why wasn’t June Moone outfitted with one of the head-exploding devices? Why didn’t anyone bring a bazooka? Enchantress did absolutely nothing while her brother was fighting; you know Deadshot would’ve had a clear shot at her the entire time.

Perhaps she was just admiring her work, as her organic vegan non-GMO doomsday machine has finally been completed. It starts laying waste to the entire world, particularly the base of operations for…some arm of the US military. It’s not really clear nor do I care enough to Google it. The group decides that speed would be expedient, and they proceed to get their asses kicked by a demi-goddess. The Suicide Squad is losing worse than the Cleveland Browns, and they know it. Enchantress offers a chance for them to join her, and Harley actually considers it. Nah, just kidding, she uses the opportunity to get close to the demigoddess and cut her heart out. Seriously, that’s all it takes. This is the worst villain ever. Croc tosses a bomb at her, and Deadshot takes aim to shoot it for the detonation. Enchantress slows him down by producing a vision of his daughter in front of his eyes, begging him not to pull the trigger, but Smith just roars really loud and the vision dissipates instantly. Again, this is a really shitty villain. Deadshot pulls the trigger, the bomb explodes, and Enchantress is dead.

Oh no, poor Rick Flag is all upset because now his girlfriend is gone. Up to this point, despite constant reminders, I still forgot that Flag and Moone were a couple. Seriously, they had about as much chemistry as oil and water. Either way, she’s somehow still alive, because Ayer makes really dimwitted decisions. Speaking of still being alive, Waller somehow survives everything she’s gone through, and she brings up that stupid exploding neck app, meaning everyone’s stuck back in prison and we have the possibility for sequels. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?


I bet Margot Robbie's perfectly sculpted thighs are freezing.


You might want to sit down for this, because I don’t want to alarm you: I didn’t like this movie, and neither did the critics. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s the worst movie I’ve seen in theaters since The Last Airbender, and almost certainly the worst I will see all year. The film seems like it was made by (and to appeal to) those awful kids in eighth grade who thought random humor was the best kind, the kids who were fine with any kind of attention they could squeeze from an audience, the kids who declared they would never follow trends as they waited in a 30 minute line at Hot Topic. It has all the subtlety and cleverness of a Foamy video. I didn’t include even a quarter of all the idiotic lines, partially because I’d be ashamed to type them, partially because I don’t want to acknowledge that Will Smith said half of ‘em. David Ayer allegedly only had six weeks to write the script, which I’m pretty sure was the time frame given to Howard Scott Warshaw to design and program E.T. for the Atari 2600.

I’ve mentioned the editing in the movie, but what really bothers me is it’s difficult to describe exactly how the editing gets on my nerves. It’s choppy, it’s frenetic, and it often spoils the mood. Word has it that the movie was re-cut by the people who edited the trailer; if so, that has to be in the top twenty most idiotic decisions I’ve ever heard of from a major movie studio. There were multiple times where I – and other viewers – had no clue what was going on, the music was too loud, and everyone talked like they were on serious amounts of Quaaludes. It was like high school prom all over again.

One of the things I really hate about bad movies is when it’s obvious that a supreme lack of care and effort went into the product (a la Catwoman), but I can’t say that here – there was definite care and effort taken by the director, crew, and cast. It just seems like it was a) completely unchecked and b) obliterated by the editors and studio upon release. My comic book fan friends tell me this is material that could’ve been made into a great movie, were it not for studio interference. Instead, we got stripper Harley and the worst Joker since Cesar Romero.

There was, apparently, a lot of studio interference that went on in this movie. There are plenty of other much better articles you could be reading about that detail all the mishaps, but the gist of it is that there was a conflict in tone, with studio execs overreacting to both the success of Deadpool and the reaction to Batman v Superman. Remember, Suicide Squad was well into production when the embargo for that lifted and we got Sad Ben Affleck. That isn’t at all the feeling I got from the movie, though. This seemed more like a ripoff of Guardians of the Galaxy, a comic book movie I loved so much that I declared it better than anything Star Wars related. For instance, the constant retro music choices were a clear reference to Guardians, but while Guardians’ music choices were good, not too well known, and served an emotional purpose, these songs…well, just click on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_Squad_(soundtrack) and try not to laugh.

I’m not too terribly caught up with the controversy surrounding Warner Brothers and DC, but from what I can gather, this is causing a lot of drama in the comic book community. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was boring at best, and Suicide Squad was a very weak follow-up. So what is coming soon for DC? What does the near future hold for a universe that has produced 3 movies, 0 of which I’ve cared for? We’ve got Aquaman, a movie I would have zero interest in seeing but for the director’s possible take on an underwater city. There’s The Flash, which I’ve got no desire to see. Full stop. Another is Wonder Woman, who, to be fair, was the best part of Batman v Superman and, to be even more fair, has produced an excellent trailer. And most importantly, the big dumb answer to Marvel’s Avengers that we’ll all see no matter what, Justice League. Part 1. Even though they say it’s not Part 1 of 2 but really it probably is. I’m not saying I want this whole thing to fail and come crumbling apart, but I’ll say I can only imagine what’ll it be like if we live in the same timeline where a major, historic movie studio has to bet all its chips on a superhero who communicates telepathically with krill.

In the end, this review isn’t going to do a damned thing (quelle surprise). It’s not like any studio executive is going to read this (if any of them do, I implore them to consider my idea for a biopic on Larry “Wild Man” Fischer). I dragged my feet writing this (although I had a lot of fun in the process) and wasn’t able to warn enough people in time to stay away. Suicide Squad made money hand over fist on its opening day, but the good news is – like Batman v Superman before it – the money is drying up as word of mouth spreads. Regrettably, the fanboys remain, as ever, clouded by their fealty to a comic book publisher that doesn’t acknowledge their existence. I’m not trying to say that if you like Suicide Squad, you have bad taste in movies. I would never say something like that. I just feel like people who genuinely, honestly, no bullshit, legitimately enjoy this movie ought to look at it and realize some of the faults that critics and non-virgins have found with Suicide Squad instead of getting colicky over Rotten Tomatoes.

Could be worse. Could be someone you know.

On that note, I'd like to take the opportunity to close this massive essay by educating everyone on what Rotten Tomatoes (RT) actually represents. The unwashed masses navigate to RT to look at the little two digit number and see whether the little splotch nearby is red or green. What do these morons expect to glean from this? What have they learned from the number and the splotch? It is imperative that people recognize that that percentage is not a score on your physics midterm. It's nothing more than a numerical representation of the number of critics who gave the movie a slightly-positive-to-very-positive review, vs. the number of critics who did otherwise. Simply put, it's trying to represent a swath of complex opinions with a number. It's trying to quantify quality. Is that really why you use the Internet?

Personally, I find no use in that sort of thing; I still visit the site to read all the different individual reviews from different sources. Most people just ignore this and somehow think RT actually gives out its own score. This leads fanboys to argue, “no, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice couldn't possibly be a 27% movie!” I will only address this idiotic argument as such: movies are more than numbers. Would you assign a number to Casablanca? Would you denigrate a classic like Citizen Kane with a numeral? Would you asperse a work of art like Fantasia with an integer? Would you put a film like In the Realm of the Senses - a movie I don't even like, but acknowledge was made for a very specific audience - in a box with a fading orange sticker on it, telling you how 84% of nameless, faceless people enjoyed it? 

Mostly I'm just mad because critics think they're too intellectual for a classic like Yellowbeard. 

5 comments:

  1. +1 for the Rotten Tomatoes explanation
    +111 for the Off-Beats reference
    +111111 for the review

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  2. My friend thinks critics are bullshit and no one should listen to them. Such an ass. critics are important because they tell us that is a movie worth spending money for. i never build my opinion around a critic review but i go to the movie hall after seeing critics review but no one want to waste thier money on a dumbass flick.
    P.S- amazing review man. everything was on point. this review was more intresting than the whole movie XD

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  3. I have been watching this idiotic movie for the last couple of weeks since it hit "cable" somehow thinking there was something terribly wrong with my goofy ass because I thought it sucked horribly. Your work here was absolutely fantastic. I write and I know you worked hard on this and I must tell you - I laughed harder during the last 10 minutes of reading your work than I have laughed in the last five frickin' years!! We think alike...yet I never knew you existed until I began to look for someone to help substantiate my I'll will for this horrible movie. For me, notwithstanding the horrible editing which can plague even the most superbly-written scripts, I honestly was blown away at the sheer idiocy of the writing in this movie. You have hit on many - and there are many more - of the most poorly written scenes and one liners in movie history...and yet I continue to see much better than average reviews for this piece of shite. Concluding now...you seem a fan of Will,..I certainly am...it is so bizarre to me to see a movie with Will Smith where he is clearly ONLY THERE to be involved and for the paycheck. It certainly affects my opinion of actors who seem to not notice how horrible they look with bad lines coming out of their mouths. It seems like they should know better, and yet I guess that's unfair. Clearly, the tools that make one a pleasure to watch are not the same tools that one uses to create competent stories and/or dialogue. I just expect some of these so called professionals (as you point out was not done in post prod.) to know the difference between shit and shinila. Too much to expect on this effort anyway.

    Absolutely love your work...I would like to receive everything you write. How to? JD.kinard@ymail.com and thank you so much for the huge belly laughing...I usually must go to the bowling alley for this kind of fun. God bless sir. Salud.

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