I love comic books. I read both Marvel and DC comics. I like super hero movies and so I go to see both Marvel and DC movies. I want them both to be good and make lots of money. They are rivals and if they both make good movies they push each other. Guess who benefits from that pushing, we do, the audience. DC movies for me haven’t been the best for awhile now. It’s the reason I’m writing this post. In hopes that somehow, somewhere, someone will hear it.
The latest DC/Warner Bros. movie I watched was Suicide Squad. I have to say before I begin that I have very different taste in movies. Although I found MANY glaring issues with the movie I still enjoyed watching it. The fact that comic book characters I’ve read are brought to life. Who doesn’t like it? It’s probably the reason that last time I checked Suicide Squad had grossed double its budget. Which is actually both good and bad. I want it to be successful because then Warner Bros. will make more super hero movies. However it is bad because the people calling the shots who are only interested in the money it makes get deeper pockets. When there are problems with the movie I don’t blame the actors, sometimes not the director or producer even. I blame the guys who are calling the shots. What upsets me was a rumor I heard about some Warner Bros executives. The director of a DC super hero movie complained that there were problems with the movie that required re-writing. But the executives said they would make most of the money in the international market where people won’t care. Which pissed me off because they basically know people will watch the movie in droves regardless if it’s shitty. Making heaps of money is all they care about and that is a shitty way to look at it to me. The people who go to watch the movies are fans in some shape or form and us fans should be treated better. It’s our hard earned money and we deserve better. Well I’m going to break down the Suicide Squad movie the way I saw it. I hope that in future DC/Warner Bros movies they get more serious. They look at the mistakes they’ve made up to this point and tighten up the ship. I’m not holding my breath but I am still hopeful.
I’ll start off with the movie in general before I look specifically at each character. There were a few things I felt that they did right in the movie. Diablo is easily the most powerful member of the whole team and could easily have completed the mission long before it began. They were smart to take him out of the equation until the last minute by having him against using his powers. Will Smith’s Deadshot and Jared Leto’s Joker were the clear highlights of the movie. They were smart enough to highlight both of them as well as including Joker in the movie. Deadshot’s flashback was able to make me feel empathy for him simply because of his love for his daughter. Including some easter eggs like the brief flash of Harley Quinn’s original costume from the comics was great. These were all great things to me. Unfortunately that is about where the things they did right end for me. All the things that made no sense piled up and you sort of had to just ignore it and enjoy the movie for the fun of it. The first major issue is the way they presented Harley Quinn and Joker’s relationship. In the comics it is an abusive relationship. Definitely a complete 180 from the insane, head over heels for each other duo that they present in the movie. They wanted to distance themselves from any backlash they might face for putting that kind of relationship in the movie. Except it wouldn’t be the first time a movie had it. I mean come on let’s get real here this was not a G rated feel good romp through rainbow filled Willy Wonka chocolateland. I feel like showing that abusive type of relationship would have given them a lot more meat in the movie. It would have given the Harley character and their whole dynamic a little more substance. It also would have provided more of a reason for Joker to try and break Harley out of the squad. She goes to jail and thinks he’s coming to bust her out but he doesn’t care. Then she’s put on the Suicide Squad and Joker is pissed off because he views her as HIS possession. The whole premise of the movie is also incredible thin. June Moone/The Enchantress was with Rick Flag for so much time before the squad finally came together. In all that time she couldn’t have become Enchantress at night and slip out to get her heart back? Also why did they make the Enchantress’ mission in the movie to destroy the world? In an introduction movie and with the squad being just put together that seems a little too large of scope to me. The Suicide Squad also seems very outmatched compared to the Enchantress’ powers. Instead they should have had Enchantress threaten Gotham first. This would have put the Joker on the Suicide Squad’s side because again he views Gotham as HIS city to destroy/rule. Finally, when Flag and Deadshot find Amanda Waller how does she walk out alive? I understand why Flag wouldn’t kill her. She is his superior and no matter what Flag is a rigid, straight laced soldier. He respects rank, orders and authority. But why the F*, hell wouldn’t Deadshot kill her. The bombs in the Suicide Squad’s heads were deactivated. Sure Flagg might wound him afterwards but really there was no other reason given for him not to kill her. Which is why from the beginning he should have been baited with his daughter. When offered time off from his sentence Deadshot should have refused and asked for time to see his daughter instead. This would cement the audience’s sympathy towards Deadshot. It would also give him a reason to help Waller escape when they found out she was the asset. Finally why the hell is Slipknot a part of the images. You can see him in the header image for this post. He was in the movie all of what 3 minutes before his head got blown off?
Here are my thoughts on each of the characters and how they were treated in the movie.
There definitely needed to be more backstory on the Enchantress and her brother. We needed to see how powerful they were and how the people imprisoned them before. In my opinion the movie should have started with scenes from their time when humans worshipped the Enchantress and her brother. Then it could have showed how the people in-prisoned them before flashing forward to the current day. June Moone should not have been presented as an archeologist. I get that they wanted the audience to feel more empathy towards her character because she was never a criminal. However there is no way an archeologist is going to break an ancient statue open. If they were going that route they should have had her fall onto the statue cracking it open and being possessed by the Enchantress. The Enchantress was powerful but they didn’t continue showing her power beyond the first quarter of the movie. The team spent most of their time fighting the Enchantress’ minions. Instead of her flexing her powers and going head to head with each member of the team. It is also a way to cement the idea that the only way the team could hope to beat her was to work together.
I think his character was the one most spotlighted. Whether it is because of Will Smith’s billing on the movie or that his acting was stand out among the others. Deadshot was developed a lot more and had the lion’s share of action, good lines and the audience’s empathy. I didn’t have much issue with the way the character was handled. My one small squabble was the whole use of his mask. If they couldn’t find a technical way to have it used all the time. Then it should have just been refrenced and left alone. Deadshot would put it on and then in a couple minutes it was off again. It was pretty annoying.
I felt like there was a bit more that should have been done with his character. It was obvious that Deadshot brought him out of his funk about using his powers. However the whole idea of him putting his life on the line because “I’m not going to lose another family” was a bit much. These guys had been together all of a couple of days. It would have been stronger if they gave him a younger brother. A brother that stayed by his side through everything and then one day after Diablo was put in prison his brother is killed by Diablo’s rivals. It would add to his desire not to use his powers. Most importantly though it would also make sense that Diablo formed a brotherly bond with Deadshot because he looked up to him.
The Harley Quinn character was wasted in the biggest way. As the only woman in a squad of bad ass men her character was a joke. Even as a psychiatrist her character is turned into a love sick puppy by the Joker. It was a shame because Harley Quinn could have been a really bad ass character. Instead they turned up the craziness factor and put her in short shorts and a crop top. It was unmistakable that her character was used for T&A. It’s a damn shame and the thought of that being extended into a solo movie is plain ridiculous. Sure she kicks some ass but it was brief flashes in a long line of being a walking sex object. The only scene I liked was when she had the vision from the Enchantress. I feel like it was showing the audience that Harley Quinn has a different view of reality. She doesn’t see what we see but instead how her mind twists it to look. However this was not even close to how her character should have been portrayed.
A lot of people were/are negative on the Joker portrayed by Jared Leto. I don’t like a few things done to the character but overall I think Jared Leto made the character his own. After the portrayal of the Joker by Heath Ledger before his untimely death. I feel like the role would be a very hard one to fill. I think that is why there is such a different look to the Joker because having the same Joker as Heath Ledger’s Joker would have been a failure. There would be comparisons and there is no way any actor would be able to do the character justice. I look at it as an update of the character for our current society. Jared’s Joker almost steps into the abusive relationship with Harley but then stops short of it. He tests her loyalty when she plunges into the vat of chemicals. Then again when he uses the shock paddles on her. I think it was all a test though and the vat wasn’t actually filled with acid. Well cause they’d actually be melted puddles.
Again another wasted opportunity on a character. We don’t get any of her back story so I was left thinking she was going to be a part of the Suicide Squad. When she is introduced to the team her skill isn’t hyped up but merely felt like a missed opportunity. If I think of the movie and remove her role it doesn’t change the movie much. Warner Bros should have put up or shut up. Use her character or cut the character from the movie.
Possibly the most underused of all the characters. Even at the beginning when all the characters were getting back stories. There wasn’t much for Killer Croc. He doesn’t say much in the movie and only really had one scene where he adds to the mission at all. Again another put up or shut up moment. Use the damn character, give us some back story, have us empathize with him. Make the character muscular, huge, hulking and tough. Create scenarios in the mission where only his abilities could be used. Have him beast out on some of the Enchantress’ monstrous creations.
I feel like a broken record but Captain Boomerang was yet another wasted character. The purpose for his character to me seemed to be providing comedic relief. Except it didn’t really work much at all. He was another character where the movie failed to take advantage of his power. He threw one boomerang with a camera that showed what was happening around the corner, WOW! Captain Boomerang in the comics is accurate with boomerangs and uses different types of boomerangs. It would have been great to not have the character only there for comedic effect. The Suicide Squad is supposed to be a bunch of bad asses. Use all the characters instead of the Suicide Squad really only being three of the six characters.
This leaves me still not understanding how DC has the greatest super hero TV shows. Yet the movies are mediocre at best. Perhaps involve some of the team putting the TV shows together. Better yet why aren’t the creators from DC comics overseeing the movies. They are the ones who know the stories and the looks of the characters inside and out. Which brings me to the fact that DC needs to find better actors for the parts of the heroes. Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, they all have pretty much become their Marvel counterparts. Understand that a movie is a complete effort between writers, directors, actors, producers and everyone involved. Everyone needs to have some understanding of the characters. The way they move, think, use their powers.