Bring On The Bad Guys

suicid22017.2: Suicide Squad- Extended Cut (Blu-ray)

Hey, Suicide Squad ain’t so bad. Well, the movie is pretty poor, but the squad, well, they ain’t so bad. One of them even refuses to use his powers for fear of hurting anyone. Another is, yes, a killer but she just fell for the wrong guy (shucks, the Joker, whodathunkit) and she’s crazy anyway, so she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she just looks great doing it. Another one is an assassin who is more interested in getting his daughter through college, like any good parent should.

Were these the baddest bad guys DC could come up with? An Aussie bankrobber who throws a boomerang and keeps a pink fluffy unicorn under his coat? What?

Handicapped with a crew of b-list bad guys like that, its no wonder the film comes off feeling rather anaemic. These bad guys are more poor-mans superheroes than kickass supervillains. Even the Big Baddess that threatens to destroy the world in some weird Ghostbusters-knockoff is a good-looking white chick possessed by some evil voodoo priestess, who needs saving rather than killing (her brother who’s possessing some random Black Guy needs killing though, that’s fine, who’s gonna miss a black guy?).

suicid3
Who the fuck pissed off my stylist?

In all fairness to the film-makers, maybe they really did intend to make the superhero-genre equivalent of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. There’s just no way Warners or DC would let them go that far. Superhero films are so expensive, with entire franchises of multitudes of films riding on each and every one of them, that there is no way anyone is going to take any risks subverting genre conventions or upsetting anyone. Even Deadpool, for all its bad-language and violence and under-the-belt humor, is fairly conservative in its structure in the end.

I do suspect that Zack Snyder when he began working on the DC films, from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman to Justice League, and co-producing Suicide Squad, possibly always intended to inform them from a post-Watchmen angle, analysing and subverting genre norms under the watchful eye of a modern contemporary worldview. But each film appears to have been neutered by a nervous studio envious of how Marvel Studios are cleaning up at the Box Office. So they seem to be being made with the best of intentions regards showing a dark and gritty world of heroes but they always seem to falter, never more so than here with Suicide Squad.

suicid4
No boys, there aint nothing phallic about my baseball bat…

That said, I did quite enjoy it; its like there was a great film in here once but it got lost in the process of making it. Ben Affleck’s Batman really needs his own movie- Affleck looks fantastic as the Dark Knight. Jared Leto’s Joker needs a film where he’s the central villain so he can get on with being really bad and crazy. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has passed her audition with flying colours and is sure to get her own spin-off film to keep the pubescent boys interested in DC movies (what’s the odds she gets cameos in several films?). Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller is perhaps the only genuine bad guy in the whole picture, almost out-doing Samuel Jackson as the best badass leader around.

But as a whole, Suicide Squad is something of a shambles. If anything, it repeats the mistakes of BvS. It has to spend so much time establishing characters and motivations that it leaves little space for the actual plot, in just the same way that BvS spends far too much time setting up Justice League.

Suicide Squad needed to follow a Batman film with the Dark Knight battling the Joker and Harley Quinn, so that we knew all that background from the start. Suicide Squad needed a film with Deadshot being an evil deadly assassin so that his shot (sic) for redemption (and his daughter) actually meant something to us. Imagine if that first Avengers film had to introduce every member of the Avengers, who they were, their origins/histories, before it could get on with battling Loki and the alien invasion. It would have seemed a horrible clunky mess, like all these DC films seem to.

Oh well. There’s always Wonder Woman to save the day, DC…

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3 thoughts on “Bring On The Bad Guys

  1. DC are doing a very good job of demonstrating why Marvel were right to start with the solo films before the team-up (and I say that as someone who likes BvS).

    Probably Suicide Squad‘s biggest problem is that it has to make its supposed villains into the heroes, which rather undercuts the concept. I mean, Deadshot kills people — so what? So does Batman in this universe! And some of the stuff Jared Leto did behind the scenes is more twisted than most of what the Joker gets up to in the film.

    1. Its really bizarre how DC seem to be getting everything so wrong. And yet go back a few decades and we had the huge blockbusters Superman: The Movie and Batman, while the Marvel output was pretty much relegated to dodgy tv shows.

      1. I guess the fundamental difference in the last 10-ish years lies in how they’re run — Marvel have Kevin Feige running the show and overseeing everything with a fan’s perspective, while DC is half-outsourced to Warner, who have continued with a sort of film-by-film, filmmaker-to-filmmaker approach. Even their shared universe was launched without anyone properly guiding it, or at least that’s how it’s seemed.

        I think they’re pinning a lot of hopes on Wonder Woman and Justice League to fix the public’s perceptions. That said, BvS and Suicide Squad were both in the top ten highest grossing films of the year, so it’ll also be interesting to see what they choose to do if both the reviews and box office continue in the same way.

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