Aug. 15th, 2016

briarwood: Suicide Suad Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad Harley)

I'm actually glad I didn't post this sooner, because after seeing it a second time, I've changed my mind about Suicide Squad. It's actually not bad. It's not as great as it needed to be to "save" the DCEU, but if you divorce it from the trainwreck, it's a decent movie that does well on its own terms. That's how I tried to see it.

Suicide Squad should have been to the DCEU what Guardians of the Galaxy was to Marvel. By that, I mean far enough away from their main "universe" that it should be free of all that baggage. If it succeeds - great. If it bombs, it can be written off as a failed experiment. I suspect that was the idea, at the start. But the critical failure of BvS has got everyone saying that this is their chance to redeem the DCEU. Hell, even I said that the best thing about BvS was the Suicide Squad trailer! On that level, I'm afraid, it fails. On the other hand Suicide Squad doesn't suck. I can name a string of comic book movies that are worse and most of them are on my DVD shelves.

So I won't compare Suicide Squad with BvS or Guardians or anything else DC or Marvel have put out recently. Actually, the comparison that comes most readily to my mind is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - does anyone remember that one? Sean Connery as Alan Quartermain, bizzarely teamed up with Dorian Grey, Jekyll and Hyde, the Invisible Man, Mina Harker (somehow a vampire/human hybrid) and IIRC, Captain Nemo. It had he same kind of team-of-oddballs-saving-the-world concept as Suicide Squad and it sort of worked, but the film wasn't exactly memorable. And Suicide Squad is pretty much in that league, but better.

The plot - spoilers! )

 

The Characters )

 

Overall, I did enjoy the film and having seen it twice I do think the critics are being a bit unfair to this one. It's not perfect by any means, but it's not the hot mess BvS was, either.

But I also feel there's an opportunity missed here. You have a roster of "bad guys". This means it can be something really different from the regular superhero fare. Suicide Squad could be knockabout comedy, it could be high-octane drama, tense spy thriller, body horror, gore-fest or farce. It could work as almost any genre imaginable, depending on which bad guys are on the roster and how much courage the director has.

You know what I really want? I want R-rated Suicide Squad directed by Kathryn Bigelow. She has a unique way of showing horrible things in a way that simultaneously condemns them, and also makes the audience complicit in the atrocity. Her films are disturbing to watch but it is what this film needed. I want to be cheering on the bad guys one moment and horrified at myself for doing it the next. I want to see these characters truly being "the worst of the worst" and still be the heroes of their own stories. I believe it can be done...but this film missed that particular mark.

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