My mental post processing took shorter than expected and so I’m finally coherent enough to write out my thoughts on one of the year’s most anticipated films: Suicide Squad.
[ SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT WARNING ]
Before seeing the film I didn’t indulge in listening to the singles from the movie, and found myself pleasantly surprised upon watching. Ayer does a great job of fusing some unlikely artists into a very in sync playlist. Queen, Kanye, Eminem and the Bee Gees come together to bring some of the movie’s more enjoyable moments to life– scenes that range from Deadshot slaying at target practice to the Suicide Squad coming to life through their costume change montage.
My big issue with the music though is how off the timing is– that awesome Deadshot scene makes kickass use of Kanye’s “Black Skinhead” but the abrupt cut of the song just seems so… awkward. I was also pretty bummed about how “Bohemian Rhapsody” made its way into the movie as it was used quite nicely in one of the movie’s overhyped trailers.
Favorite Songs from the Film:
“Bohemian Rhapsody”- a Freddie high note and forever rock classic
“Without Me”- a naughty, playful diss track that just brings fun, fun, fun
“Black Skinhead”- a song I’ve been obsessed with since I heard it in a Guinness commercial in one of my advertising classes
… or lack thereof. I have to admit I came into the theatre expecting the worst after bad reviews of this movie became a news item in itself. And I have to say that for this particular aspect, the critics were right.
Whoever thought that having witch-possessed Cara Delevigne going mad in a city would make for the perfect opening salvo to the Suicide Squad series? WHO??? Also, did anyone notice the shear lack in a sense of urgency that these characters have? Or the lack of a proper, exciting buildup to a climactic end scene? All of those elements just weren’t there!
I’m not too familiar with David Ayer’s work but did anyone tell him about the idea of ‘show not tell’?? the exposition was practically the concept of ‘tell’ come to life, and the poor font choices didn’t help at all. Other movies (not Marvel ones) have done this introductory montage in a quicker, more coherent, less corny way that still gave audiences sufficient info to go on as the film progresses further.
At the start of the film I was willing to accept the ‘these characters are delusional therefore this film will be kinda off’ excuse but it just didn’t cut it towards the middle. A part of me still wants to use the ‘off’ excuse but the rest of me is just annoyed with how the movie was constructed as a whole.
Before seeing the movie, I had already grown quite attached to the cast after seeing them together. You can see from their social media accounts and interviews that they seem to really like each other in real life, and clearly bonded throughout production. That natural chemistry thankfully makes its way into the movie.
To be honest, the real heroes of Suicide Squad (one of them at least) has to be the casting directors behind the film. The combination of actors seems right in its own ‘wrong’ way, which is exactly what the point of Suicide Squad is.
Will Smith is clearly positioned as the star of the movie here, yet he’s paired with some formidable names that manage to outshine him almost entirely. Some (obvious) favorites include Margot Robbie, who brings the Harley whimsy to life in a very unique way, Killer Croc, and the adorable ( in real life) Karen Fukuhara as Katana. Unfortunately despite my favoritism for now-notable Aussie Jai Courtney, his forced Aussie enunciation just seemed annoying considering that he is Australian in REAL LIFE. Jay Hernandez (El Diablo) is another ‘in-real-life’ fav who just seemed empty onscreen, which was a big blow considering the significant role he has in advancing the plot.
Some reviews I’ve read of the film place the divine Viola Davis as the one of the minor saving graces of Suicide Squad and I have to agree with that. She’s badass, she emanates her signature strong personality and she just seems more menacing than her small screen counterpart Cynthia Addai Robinson. Manic pixie brow queen Cara Delevigne is definitely a magnetic public figure in the fashion world but seems like she isn’t exuding her full magnetism in this movie. She just comes off as a bit of an ‘ehh’ playing the big baddie. The buildup of her relationship with Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) felt like one of the victims of the movie’s rumored major post production cuts. I get how Kinnaman’s character is supposed to be a soldier but his emotional moments just didn’t make me feel for his character at all. Would’ve loved to have seen more of an explanation behind the Flagg- Dr. June relationship as it could have made audiences really connect to the two characters.
I can’t do a review of this movie without sharing my thoughts on Jared Leto’s take on the Joker. To be honest, it confused me a lot– especially coming from Heath Ledger’s Joker who came off as a dark, remorseless, deranged madman. Is there a possibility he was going for fun crazy instead of crazy crazy Joker because that’s the only thing that could make me understand how he did it. And lastly: where was the ‘method acting’ at?
SIDENOTE: On Joker x Harley
I’m not a full fledged comic book fan but have somewhat sufficient knowledge on Batman lore (thanks mainly in part to watching my siblings play Arkham Asylum, watching earlier Batman movies, exploring wikipedia and a whole lot of comic wikia sites), and I honestly DO NOT understand how some viewers seemed to think the Joker and Harley thing was even a good relationship.
You don’t need to even know anything about Batman and company to watch the film and realize how demented and disturbing this all is. She’s obviously hypnotized by his aura and does a lot of stupid things just to stay in his good graces, including becoming a bit deranged herself. It’s not a good thing, and is a pretty obvious mirror of what an unrequited, abusive relationship looks like. Are we that hurt, and that desensitized these days?
Overall, I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it either. Suicide Squad is a mix of good and bad elements, exciting and not-so exciting elements, and stupid and not-so stupid elements. Biased critics might dismiss those off as the new pattern of DC movies but it would be unfair to say that the manic Marvel universe hasn’t made its own share of blunders in the past. This film has its saving graces: good music, incredible actor chemistry (even the Avengers pale in comparison in my opinion), and a flow that is characteristic of the movie’s disjointed protagonists.
Unfortunately, the bad aspects outweigh the good here and that is enough to make people talk, talk (and keep talking). I’d have to agree with one thing that keeps coming up regarding the film– which was the decision to make it PG. This is a movie about dark, disturbed, deranged individuals and cleaning it up for a young audience just seems like a travesty in itself.
Hopefully this series gets a second chance, an epic extended version, and the opportunity to bring out optimum darkness for maximum effect. That seems like the only way Suicide Squad can truly redeem itself.
Warming up to the idea of Batfleck is taking much longer than expected since Batman versus Superman. We’ve only seen bits and pieces of Ezra Miller’s turn as Barry Allen so there isn’t enough material to judge on– I can’t say I’m a big fan of that suit, though. One good thing about Miller is that he exudes the same good boy vibe that makes Grant Gustin work on the small screen. Still keeping up high hopes despite the continual disappointments!!