Sunday, October 16, 2016

Suicide Squad: A bit late to the party, but it was 'meh.'

Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer

Stars: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis

If you’ve been following my blog a while, you know that I like my superhero movies, so the new Suicide Squad flick shouldn’t be any surprise. I love the movies that Marvel has been putting out, but DC still seems a bit off its game—first with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and now, with Suicide Squad. The plot seemed slow with an odd tempo, the acting was pretty bad, and Jared Leto’s Joker was…I don’t even know where to start there.

Suicide Squad tells the story of the aftermath of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice where the world is under threat of other “metahumans” like Superman—those people who have exceptional skills or powers that could be a threat to national security. Amanda Waller (Davis) assembles a team of metahumans—“the worst of the worst,” she notes—to defend us from the next Superman, should he or she arrive with less-than-noble intentions. At the top of that list is Deadshot (Smith), an expert in all guns and weaponry; also on the team is Harley Quinn (Robbie), a psychologist-turned-baddie whose main squeeze is the Joker. Another villainous member of the team, the Enchantress, goes rogue while fueled with an ancient and mystical evil power. It’s up to the Suicide Squad to take her out—or die trying.

Suicide Squad had a very strange tempo in the storyline, like the filmmakers tried to add too much in too little space on-screen. The Suicide Squad was new to me (as a filthy casual to the comic book world), and the movie had to do a lot of background on each character so the audience would know something about each villain’s backstory. The squad had at least six members—I honestly can’t even remember them all now—which meant that the story was bogged down time and time again by trying to explain each character’s backstory through flashbacks. While those flashbacks did add a bit of action to the movie, the overarching storyline of the film seems to get drowned out by all the necessary background information for the team members. In the end, Suicide Squad almost plays out like a road movie for as much travelling as the characters had to do to get to the finale fight with the Enchantress.

I honestly don’t know where to start with the acting, because there were so many bad, cringe-worthy moments in Suicide Squad. It seemed like the casting was all over the place in this movie—some of the casting was spot on, such as Davis’ portrayal of Amanda Waller as a stone-cold government entity or Jay Hernandez as the repenting—but fiery—Diablo. I had a lot of issues with Will Smith as Deadshot; after playing the Arkham Batman games, I’ve always thought of Deadshot as a loose cannon, both figuratively and literally. He always seems to shoot first, ask questions later with a bit of a temper…but that temper didn’t really show up with Smith. Rather, he seemed to take the character in more of a quipping, one-liner direction who made light of situations instead of releasing his rage through wrist-mounted guns.

I feel conflicted about Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, since I expected a bit more of a feminist slant from her. From an acting standpoint, Margot Robbie felt natural in this role, and she encapsulated how crazy Harley is in the comics with a splash of dark one-liners; to boot, her costuming seems natural to this new iteration of the character compared to her full-body costume from the Batman cartoons where she debuted. That being said, I thought Quinn would be more of a feminist presence in the film, and it didn’t really seem that way to me. I discussed the sexualization of a half-orc woman in Warcraft in a previous post, and Suicide Squad definitely took Harley Quinn in a sexualized way, too. Is that altogether wrong? No—but this reeked of fan-service. The primary audience for most superhero flicks is going to be young men, and the filmmakers seem to cater to that particular audience by gratuitously showing Margot Robbie walking away from the camera in blue-and-red hotpants every few minutes—isn’t that going to make the audience objectify her to some degree? I’m still really torn over this debate, considering I know a little bit about Quinn’s “relationship” with the Joker, but I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Can we consider Harley Quinn a feminist character in this movie?

I’d really like to talk about Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker, but I made a boo-boo. I’ve tried to find the time and ambition to write this post for the past couple of months, and I’ve never gotten that creative and critical jolt I needed—until today—to finish the post. That being said, it’s been too long since I watched Suicide Squad, so I would need to rewatch it in order to write a more accurate review of Leto’s performance. Would anybody be interested in a post specifically aimed at the Joker’s portrayal in film? If so, let me know, and I’ll get to work on it while focusing on method acting.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Suicide Squad, but here’s the thing: I wasn’t entirely disappointed in it, and I wasn’t completely in love with it. I wouldn’t give this movie my stamp of approval—I’d rather give it my stamp of “Well, I guess it was okay.” It’s not something I plan on buying, which is similar to my view of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but I’m still looking forward to Wonder Woman to see if DC can start gaining the same traction as Marvel Studios has.

Thank you for your patience, dear reader! I’ve been quite busy with school and other life events recently, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. Now to find time to go to the movies…

All photos taken from the Internet Movie Database (

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