Let me just say, normally I go to CB Movies opening night. A wedding prevented me from doing that, and less-than stellar reviews had me considering holding off until Wednesday cheap-seats, but I decided to go on Sunday to make up my own mind.
Here’s my own mind. Warning. There be mild spoilers ahead.
Have to be able to see something to have a photosensitive seizure… #sarcasm … but no, really. There’s a blue column of light at the end. That’s a thing. Music is loud. Also that.
One. Don’t start a movie telling me you lost a great American hero, when you spent two movies having that “great American hero” try not to be one at all, and spend most of his heroism on his girlfriend. And his strength hypocritically threatening someone not all that different from himself. Starting off on the wrong foot.
We move to The Wall, aka Amanda Waller, aka one of the major bad asses of the DC universes (who you may or may not recognize from the early seasons of CW’s Arrow – character, not actress)
explaining to some dudes why they need to get together some metahuman douchebag types incase of emergencies, since Supes isn’t around anymore.
And that’s the first of what’s like… six times introducing those two characters. You meet them up top. The Wall tells us about them. Rick Flagg, the mission leader meets us and goes through their stuff together, and we get flashbacks with them. It is absolutely insufferable to the point where it feels like 2/3rds of the movie is just backstory involving Deadshot and Harley.
Intellectually, I know this isn’t true. Sitting in theatre, however, I was like, alright, is ANYTHING else going to happen?
Other characters show up. Notable, though not fleshed out is Captain Boomerang, since he’s a Suicide Squad staple. Also, Slipknot, because pretty much everyone’s been calling him as the team death from the get go because of his lack of appearance in the marketing (spoiler, everyone is right, also, it’s not interesting when it happens, and you won’t give a shit).
Other members, Katana, Diablo, Killer Croc (who should have been King Shark, don’t screw with me), and possibly someone I’m forgetting, but who cares… the movie didn’t, so neither do I.
A psudo-member is Enchantress.
Being unwillingly possessed, she’s not like the others – bad guy, forced to do good – she’s half a good guy, half evil ancient spirit thing. The good half is porking her handler, Rick Flagg. The Wall approves because … reasons that normally people don’t approve of things like that in situations like this, I guess? Makes him want to keep her? Who knows. Whatever. Anyway, she just has to say “Enchantress” to change. One day she does it in her sleep, and while doing so, the evil half is able to do some things that will ensure her freedom and that of her brother.
Needless to say, Enchantress is the story’s villain. For some reason she’s not tagged with the head explodey device like the rest. I guess that’s what the porking is for? Maybe.
Anyway, Enchantress starts leveling things, the Suicide Squad (legitimately known as Task Force X) are sent out to retrieve something – but not to stop the Enchantress and her brother. I’m not actually sure WHAT is sent out to stop them. There’s a secondary military group early on, but they were part of the TFX, and they’re taken out early on. Huh, that didn’t occur to me until just now. It gets worse as I think about it.
Anyhow, eventually shit happens that means they have to go take care of Enchantress, of course. Enchantress is being protected by her brother, who looks like a cross between … the Destroyer in Thor 1 and the Balrog in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. And with CGI comparable or worse than that of LOTR.
For some reason the fires of a demon-type like Diablo aren’t enough to take out the brother, but amazingly, a small bomb that barely damages more than the floor can. Lucky.
Fight Enchantress. Win. Yay.
This has never been a thing before, but it is SUCH a big damn deal in this movie, I’m pulling them apart: Joker.
People are saying there’s no Joker in this movie. Bull. Shit. Joker is all the hell over this movie. Every three seconds Harley is having a flashback or getting a text or we’re seeing him trying to find his way to break her out or he’s having a flashback or someone’s telling us about the two of them. It’s insufferable. All in all it might not amount to a lot of time, but it interrupts the waste of a plot so much that it overwhelms what barely exists in the first place.
Added to that, this Joker is … in my personal opinion … crap. Whether it’s synchronised swimming moves among knife ponds or second thoughts on ledges or acting horney in a club, it all looks and feels forced forced forced. And not in a way that seems “omg, so brilliant, the Joker is playing at being a gangster to fool everyone”, no, like “omg, this guy is trying way too hard to come off as crazy”. Also, the tattoos still don’t work. And trying to pull them into the acting? The smiling mouth thing? Ugh. Don’t even. You’re embarrassing yourself.
Lastly on this, I’ve seen the Joker/Harley as #RelationshipGoals thing pop up more since this movie came out. I actually read reviewers I respect say that this movie made the Joker/Harley relationship a bit more healthy. FUCK NO IT DID NOT. He still mentally manipulated her from the start. Then he tortured her and broke her brain.
He TORTURED her. Sure, they spent like half a second on that as opposed to the minutes added up lingering on her ass over the runtime of the film, but it’s clearly there. He has her tied down to the table, sticks that belt in her mouth, and pulls the shockers down… we don’t see it, but we know what’s happening.
Do not EVEN fuck with me. THIS is what I was afraid of with this movie. THIS is what I hate about this company. The company that puts Mad Love – a comic that lays out an abusive relationship to a T – on sale every Valentine’s day.
There’s a lot to unpack here. I’m going to do the big ones only.
Will Smith/Deadshot – people keep telling me he’s back to form. He is not. We’ve lowered our expectations. He’s not as funny as he was in Independence Day and he doesn’t have the emotional connection I’d expect over his daughter that I could see back in Pursuit of Happyness. This is still a very much after After Earth Will Smith. He’s just been given a few jokes to say.
Margot Robbie/Harley Quinn – a bit shaky at points, but there is one point in this movie that makes me feel emotions, and it is her. All her. It’s body and tone. It’s not really even script work, here. It’s all face and poise. I think she could be better, personally, I think they tried to push the combo of Harley/Deadshot pretty hard, but the chemistry there wasn’t as good as it could have been. But she was better than what she was being given, and that was something.
Viola Davis/Amanda Waller – Was a bad ass most of the time, until the script turned her upside down, which pissed me off. The Wall has contingencies. Lots of them.
Jared Leto/Joker – Trying harder than an understudy in middle-school theatre, and didn’t we call it when we heard he was doing the whole sending his costars used condoms thing? Trying too hard.
Ezra Miller/The Flash – Hey, he’s in this movie during one of the flashbacks (see what I did there?). Speaking of, why didn’t he stop the Enchantress? Or at least go fight her or something when she started taking out parts of the country? Was good.
Ben Afflek/the Bat Vigilante (probably, still) – he used the word “friends” again, like he has some. But he doesn’t, yet. Cocky, bastard. Also, he let an 11 year-old-girl get between him and a gun. They still haven’t figured out who Batman is. Sad, considering they’re DC…
Karen Fukuhara/Katana – she has a part where she cries over a sword. I’m pretty sure my cat is better at stage crying.
Jay Hernandez/Diablo – people keep telling me he’s great and he has an arc and whatever. Man is basically a domestic abuser, if “only” emotionally, constantly undercutting his wife, then blows up at her literally for wanting to take the kids and leave him. Now he feels bad, boohoo. Again, standard abusive relationship BS. Don’t buy it, don’t care.
Everyone else was solid enough.
I could say more if I could see most of the movie. But …
Overreliance on clipart and effects. Takes you out of the narrative … or maybe is there to try and help you ignore the fact that there isn’t much of one? Lots of lingering shots on Harley’s ass and tits. Because of course.
It’s so odd when the comics show LESS skin than the movies.
CGI was wonky. Costumes were … here and there. Deadshot almost never wore the mask, knew that. It’s Will Smith. See above for Harley. Joker looked like an idiot. Croc looked too small. Enchantress looked awesome at first, but – as an epileptic – moved like someone completely spastic. I’m sure that was the point, but it was entirely distracting. I wanted to scream at the screen for her to stop moving.
I liked all of the music. But, for the most part, it cut in and out without fading, it was too loud over the dialogue (though, again, maybe it was trying to hide the dialogue?), and some of it really didn’t fit the tone of the scene.
Interesting to Note
Misogyny. Let me just say, with Harley in this film, and having seen the costume well before hand, I knew what I was getting into. But I hardly thought it would be worse than I expected. But oh was it worse. From folks maligning Katana’s loss, to dudes talking down to Amanda Waller, to Enchantress’ character being damsel to Rick and beholden to her brother, to the film itself actively revolving around Margot Robbie’s ass as if it were the sun. Which, perhaps it is.
The women in this film are not treated well, at all. And these are some hard women. When Boomerang says “you know what they say about the crazy ones” or whatever, Harley should have broken his hand. This was DC’s chance to -even more so before a full Wonder Woman – get out front on those female characters and maybe pull on the current Harley, and have her push back on Joker, not slide easily into his control, yet again.
The Wall should have been THE GODDAMN WALL, not – again – a FREAKING DAMSEL IN DISTRESS! I know bunk all about Katana, so I cannot give more about her.
All in All
This movie was garbage. I went in with lowered expectations, with people saying “it’s flawed, but I still had fun” … and I cannot understand where the fun is. All I see are flaws.