If I were a better writer, I might have spent the last few weeks ripping Suicide Squad to ribbons on here and attempting to get as many hits as possible. Instead, I’m a crap blogger, and I only do this when I’m up at 2am and probably shouldn’t be. I once heard on a podcast that restraints breed creativity, so why not try my best to wring the wet rag that was my experience watching Suicide Squad and see whether I can muster up five of the best things about it. Besides, you all know why the movie is bad. Here goes… Also, spoiler warning, if it matters at this point:
5. The Actors
I promised I would be nice, but I have to get this one jab out of the way to put this in context: I honestly didn’t find any faults with the acting or filming of Suicide Squad. The movie was still a garbage fire of monstrous proportions, but I place all of the blame on whatever was done in post. The movie does not do its ensemble cast’s performances any justice. Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Viola Davis, and (surprisingly) Jared Leto were all splendid, and the supporting cast did their jobs well enough. It was campy, not all of the jokes were funny, and there were probably too many characters, but the performances themselves were all worth watching, making the entire situation all the more depressing.
4. The Twist
Suicide Squad is one of those surprising movies where I read reviews and discuss it before watching with friends, and yet still run into the movie’s big twist. I suspect it’s because people were much more focused on how shit the film was to worry about spoiling people, but I found the mid-movie twist really compelling. It made me pay attention and got me interested for a few minutes until I remembered what movie I was watching. I’m not going to spoil it, because you may actually derive some sort of enjoyment from Suicide Squad without knowing it beforehand.
3. The Beginning
Despite the fact that the first 30 minutes of this movie feels like the result of a sloppy session with Fisher Price’s “Babies First Director’s Kit”, acting out more like a series of trailers than a coherent story, there was something to going through each member of the squad and explaining their back story briefly with laughs throughout. This movie will not be receiving an official soundtrack, mostly because it would be impossible to download the entirety of Spotify onto a compact disc, but if you cut out the nonstop licensed music, the beginning of the film does a good job of hyping up the audience and introducing a bunch of silly comic book characters quickly before getting to the fun stuff.
2. The Shots
While the film is a muddy mess of incoherent crap, there are some scenes, particularly the ones that got into the trailers, that are spectacularly shot. These scenes provide small snapshots into what I imagine was David Ayer’s original vision, which makes the fact that the movie is such a disaster all the more sad. This film had potential and it shows, but all we can really wait for at this point is an alternative cut.
1. The Story
Ha! Gotcha! Suicide Squad’s plot is almost laughably bad. I imagine the Suicide Squad’s porn parody had a more coherent story line (which I understand is probably a given, considering the complexity of porn plots). That being said, I spent the few minutes after walking out of the theater thinking through what slight changes would make Suicide Squad’s story so much more interesting. First off, the fact that there really is no villain is a plus. Technically, everyone is a villain, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t protagonists and antagonists, they just so happen to land firmly on the same side of the moral spectrum: Viola Davis is cold-hearted and completely self-centered, the Joker and Harley are bat shit nutso, Will Smith is a serial killer, and the Witch is possessed by an evil 6,000 year old spirit. Despite all its flaws, the movie makes you care about each of them in their own way and then despise them in the next scene. Secondly, the Joker’s involvement, while minimal, hints towards what possibly could have been. I like the idea of Viola Davis sending the Suicide Squad off on their mission and having the Joker mess with her throughout in a sort of love triangle of evil. That is what happens, but it is so inconsequential that I almost had to ask my friend what the point of Jared Leto’s Joker was before the movie’s final scene.
Every critic and their mom shit on Suicide Squad’s antagonist before the movie was released, and I agree with everything that has already been said. What I’d like to add is that if the antagonist had been more consequential and less plot-structurally fucked and if the Joker had more involvement, I think the plot would have been one of the more interesting comic book adaptations to date. The Avengers, Avengers 2, every damned Iron Man, Man of Steel, and every other comic book movie relies on the most basic hero’s journey story structure; super hero good, big bad guy bad, super hero beats bad guy, everyone cheers. Suicide Squad tried really hard and failed to create an interesting comic book movie story, but I’d prefer twelve more failed attempts at something interesting than one more cookie cutter comic book adaptation. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that (I’m looking at you, Justice League).