Thursday, 11 August 2016

Sam's Take: Suicide Squad


2016 seems to be the year of polarizing movies. Batman Vs Superman was hated by many, yet many DC fans vehemently refused to believe its shortcomings. Ghostbusters released a trailer that got record numbers of dislikes, and on release seemed to get reviews that either claimed it was the best film of all time or worse than Troll 2 - not to mention the whole ugly stereotyping and counter-stereotyping shitshow. Suicide Squad, as most people know, has got some rotten reviews as well, and once again many fans have responded angrily, in the form of a petition to take down Rotten Tomatoes for its apparent bias against DC as well as various other online arguments.

In fact, the word polarizing describes Suicide Squad perfectly. Tonally, the film seems very confused (most likely due to the reshoots ordered by Warner Bros, a frankly fatal mistake) it's unsure whether to focus on comedy or dark backstories. There are many flashbacks and side stories that seem rushed and unfinished, skipping over many details in order to cut down the already-large runtime. One great example of this is the introduction (and quick death) of Slipknot, a villain who can climb any building. He's introduced by being bundled out of a car, and a quick dialog with Harley Quinn is meant to establish his character. Five minutes later, he's killed by Rick Flag, and everyone acts as if nothing happened.

It seems that Warner Bros wanted to fit as many well-known songs as possible into Suicide Squad, because the soundtrack plays like a film made by someone who's just discovered Windows Movie Maker for the first time. The opening sequence is just a barrage of songs that transition into each other horribly - at one point, the excllent "Seven Nation Army" is played for a scene that totally doesn't fit the song at all. I get that Warner Bros wanted to have an all-star soundtrack, but it just seems like they tried to stuff in as many famous songs as possible without considering the tone.

Because of the sheer amount of characters in Suicide Squad, there's a big problem with their introductions and character developments, as well as the characters themselves. Killer Croc seems to just be a background for half of the movie, Katana (a samurai who's also hastily introduced) has a 1 minute emotional scene near the end of the movie but does virtually nothing else, and the Joker, who's basically advertised in every poster and promotional material about this movie, has about 10 minutes in the entire movie. Frankly, it's a shame he's not in it for longer, because he's unintentionally the funniest thing about the movie, overacting massively and generally trying far too hard to be a crazy Joker that he ends up being awful.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie are both great as Deadshot and Harley Quinn, although the latter seems to be relegated to "punchline lady" saying such great lines as "now that's a killer app!" after Rick Flag uses a phone to blow Slipknot's head off. El Diablo, a cartel leader/man who can shoot fire out of his hands, seems to have been written for by an old white guy, as evidenced in the line "You trippin' homie" and Amanda Waller, the leader of the Suicide Squad, seems to be a good character except for the scene where she shoots a load of her own men for literally no reason. Rick Flag is also a character in the film. That's all I really have to go on in terms of him. 

In fact, the best performance surprisingly goes to Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, who had the charisma of a half-buttered bollock in Terminator Genisys. Boomerang is the surprise package of the film, a genuinely funny character with a real personality. Sure, for most of the film he really doesn't do much because - at the end of the day - he's just a guy with a boomerang, but he's a constantly funny presence, a hilarious scumbag whose fetish for pink unicorns provides some comic relief.

Essentially, the main villain of the film is Enchantress, a 6000-year-old god who's meant to be the most powerful Suicide Squad member, but immediately (and unsurprisingly) goes rogue, because she's a 6000 year-old god who obviously can't be controlled. The fact that Amanda Waller even thought it'd be a good idea to include her in the squad ends up making her look like an asshole for the entire movie, since Enchantress ends up destroying most of the US Army's infrastructure, causing immeasurable damage. 

Honestly, once Enchantress ends up creating an army of clay people and fantasy elements start to come into play, the movie just lost my interest. If the main villain was, say, the Joker, then the film would make more sense - Harley Quinn would actually have a purpose instead of being included in the team because she has a baseball bat and tiny shorts.

And speaking of sense, there are so many things in this movie that don't make it. Deadshot ends up missing a shot with no explanation as to why, which is pretty confusing since he's never supposed to miss one; there's the aforementioned part when Amanda Waller ends up killing a load of FBI men for no reason just to show that she's tough, but easily the dumbest thing in this movie is when, after realising that Enchantress (whose doctor alter-ego is Rick Flag's lover) most probably can't be killed, the Suicide Squad end up going into a bar (in a city that's about to be destroyed) and just getting drinks. You'd think that Flag would be against the idea, and threaten to kill the villains unless they got up and fought Enchantress, but no, they just start drinking like friends. 

The film just feels so muddled and confused that it ends up being a cautionary tale for any studio that wants to meddle with their films. Suicide Squad could've been excellent, but Warner Bros decided to try and "fix" parts they thought were wrong instead of letting the director do their own thing, and ultimately the quality suffers. 

1 comment:

  1. Agree with every word of this. In fact I think your too nice about Captain Boomerang, as his character is just of a list of Australian stereotypes.