Alright, so I watched Suicide Squad over the weekend. Remember when I made that little Harley Quinn for Comic-Con? I spent a lot of time on that little bugger. And it made me nervous. I normally wait until the movie comes out before I take the time to make a critter from a new movie, because what if the movie sucks? Then I end up bitter that I spent all that time making something that I ended up not liking. Even with Star Wars: The Force Awakens I had people suggesting left and right that I should make a little BB-8, but I wanted to hold off on it until I saw the movie myself. That being said, I made a little Harley anyway because I loved her new look in Suicide Squad, and hoped for the best when the movie came out. Good news! The movie itself wasn’t anything great, but Harley Quinn was good. Here are my thoughts:
I’ll start with the caveat that I don’t know much about the characters in Suicide Squad outside of Joker and Harley, so I watched it more or less as a layperson. Otherwise let’s start with the good:
- Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn: Margot Robbie’s acting skills were severely underutilized here, but for what little they DID make of her, I loved it. She got the flirty-killer thing down, and I feel like she managed to show Harley’s conflicted romantic feelings for the Joker really well in just one short scene.
- Viola Davis as Amanda Waller: Loved her too. I also loved the parts where people would start babbling on to Colonel Flagg before he’d interrupt them and say “you need to be talking to her, not me.” That used to happen to me SO MUCH at my old job. The struggle is real.
- Will Smith as Deadshot: Deadshot was probably the only other character who helped hold the movie together. Classic “badass who did bad things but HEY LOOK he’s a daddy awwwwwwww,” but it worked.
- The bar scene: The movie needed so much more of this. We got some backstories (because OMG bad guys are people too), we saw the characters finally start to find some common ground…and then it all quickly went back to their disjointed “squad” that doesn’t really act as a squad. Sigh.
And then the bad:
- Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn: See above. They could’ve done so much more with it, and they didn’t.
- ENCHANTRESS. WTF: The introduction to Enchantress was pretty cool. Then it all went downhill, FAST. I feel like the director told Cara Delevigne “Okay, stand here and flail your arms around like one of those inflatable waving dudes you see at car dealerships. Yes, YES, WAVE MORE! FEEL THE EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE 0% APR.” No. Just no.
- Too much in too little time (or inefficient use of time): I still don’t know who the hell most of these characters are or why I should care about them. Harley and Deadshot were the only ones who had backstories that were fleshed out beyond an ineffective 1-minute montage. Keyword being ineffective. Ocean’s Eleven introduced ELEVEN people and still managed to make me like them for one reason or another.
- Boomerang and Katana: They didn’t need to be there. At all. Also as much as people gripe about Harley’s hotpants and stiletto-boots, can we talk about those long-ass ribbons on Katana’s outfit? Girl, you’re going to get tangled in that shit in no time. Also Katana sobbing to her sword seemed out of place and awkward. You know what? Killer Croc could’ve been taken out too and the movie would’ve been exactly the same.
- There was no “squad moment”: Look, movies like this follow a formula. Gather a bunch of misfits, introduce all of their individual abilities and personality quirks, and then towards the end you have a big “OH SHIT THAT’S HOW IT ALL WORKS TOGETHER” sequence. It’s cheezy, it’s predictable, but it works. Suicide Squad completely missed the point of the “squad” part. Deadshot shoots things. Diablo sets things on fire. At no point do any of them do these things in a concerted effort. They do their jobs individually at the same time, but none of it meshed together well enough to make it feel like everyone’s roles were falling into place.
On the fence:
- Jared Leto as the Joker: Still not sure how I feel about this one. Jared Leto did pretty well to make his own Joker, which is a pretty difficult feat when you’ve already got two VERY different bars set by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, but something still felt a little off about it. It was never QUITE where it needed to be. Not scary enough to be dread-inducing. Not crazy enough to make you say “oh holy shit, what’s wrong with you??” The end result was a mafia boss in clown makeup. Supposedly a lot of footage was cut and the Joker was meant to be much darker, but look, what matters is what’s actually IN the movie. You don’t buy a shitty chocolate chip cookie and then have the baker tell you “oh, the original batch had higher quality chocolate in it, but we had to cut it out” – what matters is the freaking cookie that you bought.
Overall impression: there were loads of flaws, but I actually liked it. It was pretty much what I expected it to be: nothing ground-breaking or particularly distinctive, but fun enough that I wasn’t constantly asking myself “are we done yet?” It’s a superhero (villain?) movie for crying out loud, you’re not going to find anything deep or substantial here. Compared to Dawn of Justice Suicide Squad did FAR better in keeping things relatively consistent (none of that “Superman can hear Lois Lane all the way in Africa but can’t hear his own mother in the same city” crap), and at the very least it didn’t take itself too seriously. On the other hand while Dawn of Justice dragged things out, Suicide Squad crammed in too much. DC needs to find a happy medium soon, or the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League movies are going to be a rough time for everyone.