Upon putting pen to paper, the question arises in my head, “Aren’t there more important issues you could be ranting about with the same passion? Perhaps even one that could bear weight or do some form of good?” That answer being, “Of course there is,” but we can only choose so much when it comes to what we, the individual is talented at writing about. On the same note, this particular nerd believes he can make an accurate correlation to what is wrong with this movie and what is wrong with our country.
What the frak are you on?
You’re an idiot! Just bear with me. I think I got this.
Allow me start by saying that I don’t hate this movie, in theory I actually love it. What I loathe is the atrocity committed on this movie. Suicide Squad is superbly acted by all parties involved, even those given little to no back-story or much to do. Unlike The Avengers or even Batman v Superman, none of these characters have had their own feature films before coming together (sans The Joker) and even less are well known by any persons other than hardcore DC fans. As much as I have enjoyed comics and the various DC shows over the years, even I’ve never heard of Diablo nor Slipknot, and I was under the impression The Enchantress was a Marvel villain. That being said, did I expect every single character to have his or her very own back-story developed into a rich storyline on their first outing?
Of course not, and yet in a comic-book stylized opening montage, each character’s story is rushed through in a series of subtitles, flashing lights, and cameos. In the words of Heath Ledger’s Joker… “And….here we…go!” Right here I began to notice the rumors of re-shoots and edits to be true. Details rushed through or crammed in, scenes already shown in the alluring trailers nowhere to be found, and everything spoon-fed to audience like Batman Beyond’s Aaron Herbst (“Disappearing Inque” 1999). The second trailer was more along the lines of my expectations, as it showed Colonel Rick Flag reading aloud a top secret file on our “dirty-dozen” in Texan drawl “Guy who shoots people, guy who eats people, one possessed by a witch, and she’s just crazy…”
Done, all the audience needs to know at the beginning. Four more lines of “robs banks with boomerangs, can climb anything, and a guy who plays with fire.” Now to digress, I am in no way complaining about knowing about these characters in detail (especially with BATFLECK AND THE FLASH CAMEOS!!!!) but being force-fed is not my cup of tea. Such details don’t have to be left up the imagination; they can be revealed or developed later in the film. Thus begins my comparison of the wrongs with this movie to the problems with our country… or species.
When Batman v Superman arrived in theatres, audiences were given (in case of those living under a rock) a clear-cut scene of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s gruesome deaths along with Bruce playing witness and falling into the iconic bat cave. Jump ahead thirty odd years and the story of this particular iteration of Batman is told to us through imagery and, you guessed it, detective work! **snare drum** We are left to our own devices to speculate how this version of Bruce came to be so much more brutal than tradition stands. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the film, for such reasons forge why I enjoy movies in the first place, to be surprised or try and figure out the mystery before the end. Others, I’m sure, feel the same. Then on a completely different hand, which may very well be on a whole other body, come those that boisterously voice their complaints of “I don’t get it!” “Why is Batman doing that?” “Why is Robin’s armor in a glass case?” “Why is Wayne Manor burnt down?” “WHY?” “AHHHH!” None other than those in charge of producing the film, who also happen to be employed to make sure the film produces money, hears these loud voices!
Upon hearing said anger and cries for explanation, the executives in question collectively crap their suits and lose their minds with worry over the next project that might be too complicated or references too obscure for Joe Everyman. Thus, when watching David Ayer’s final cut of Suicide Squad, certain executives most likely began speculating that such obscure characters would go over the heads of the squabbling masses, re-shoots were ordered, and Edward Scissorhands hired on as an editor.
This laziness is two steps away from films being shown in cinemas with the enhanced subtitles that appeared in the final seasons of LOST that clued the viewer in on an obscure detail they may have missed or forgotten from three seasons back. While I’m sure on some level that helps the film and television enthusiast ease into the story and not have to keep a guide in front of them to keep track of who’s who and what’s where, in my humble opinion such things can lead to being sinful, particularly sloth, which to me is the most frightening of the deadly seven. One day movies won’t inspire us to have discussions with our friends and colleagues due to there being nothing to discuss or argue about with everything laid for us on a silver platter.
This film buff can go on all day with examples, so I’ll zero in on a choice few targets. A great clip in multiple trailers was an image of Katana (portrayed by newcomer Karen Fukuhara with a ferocity I know and love about the character) using her sword known to fans to absorb the soul of one of her enemies. Using minimal CGI, the soul dances across the blade like a green tinted ripple of heat and Katana’s eyes are momentarily blackened. Even the metaphor-illiterate Draxx the Destroyer could have figured that one out without any difficulty. Upon her character’s introduction we are offered imagery, such as the slash in Katana’s mask that continues into a scar on her face, a number of other scars on various parts of her body, and a brief clip of Katana doing what Katana does best… dicing up criminals. Already, we know she plays hard, fights harder, and has enough emotional control to not kill the criminals she has been saddled with, even though it goes against her very nature. ‘Nuff said, right?
WRONG! In chimes Rick Flag, i.e. the voice of the cowards from the studio that rhymes with Scourner Mothers, right after seeing Katana’s talents with “This is Katana, she could cut all of you in half, and her sword absorbs the souls of the people she kills!” (side note- it’s clearly not what he originally said. Look closely next time and you’ll see his lips are not in sync.) Well, now that we know that I guess we can just cut that scene out the future of the film and go nowhere with it. Sure, we see it one more time when she speaks to her sword “Dear Husband, if I die in battle our souls will be united once again.” Before having a split second to contemplate that she means by “fall in battle” and “souls being united” that in true Japanese warrior tradition she’ll commit Seppuku (or Hara-kiri, a ritual suicide) and their souls will be joined inside her special sword, Flag chimes in again in his rigid-jawed Texan: “Guy who killed her husband used that sword… she talks to him all the time.” NO SHIT, MAN! Thank Zeus you’re here to explain all this to me! There’s absolutely no way I could have figured that out through storytelling and imagery.
Don’t get me started on Col. Rick Flag, who in my opinion was one of the few who suffered injustice to his character more than just being cut from the film. Flag bleeds Red, White, and Blue as his name would imply, he’s a top of his class soldier, and a man of unbreakable ideals. I can’t find much fault in his character being written to show an actual human emotion, like his love for Dr. June Moon, which causes the birth of the film’s villain. As I stated before, I really despise that he ends up being a spineless mouthpiece that feeds the audience the bullshit the studio believes is necessary to get the drooling masses through the film.
Now let us digress into another example of poor filmmaking. Right off the bat we learn two things: ARGUS has The Enchantress’ heart and Dr. Moon’s heart, one a physical manifestation, the other a result of Flag being emotionally compromised. Again, I’m fine with that, leads to good story arcs. However, what in the sphincter of Hell was the point of Deadshot happening across Top-Secret files that had the allure of discovering a twist in the third act, only to tell the audience what they already know? How much more satisfying would it have been to discover THEN how Waller truly had Flag by the balls and Dr. Moon by the heart and why the Enchantress’ minions were trying to kill everyone else but only capture Flag. Perhaps if that had been the case, this film could have resembled something along the lines of having a plot or story arc.
Well, now we’re cooking with an angry Diablo, and leads me right into my next diatribe. Suicide Squad takes on the ill fated task of introducing several new characters to an already established universe in hopes of developing said characters to the point they can appear in other areas of the franchise. Cool! Is everybody going to get a full story arc in 123 minutes? Not a Thomas and Martha Wayne’s chance in an alleyway! Is that wrong? Does Batman kill? I don’t know, kind of a grey area. By that, I mean not everybody is going to get a rich backstory in an ensemble piece, but in such stories everyone must have a purpose. For instance, when I’m introduced to a character that is beyond deadly with a boomerang and robs high security vaults it might be a good idea TO HAVE HIM DO SOMETHING DEADLY WITH A BOOMERANG AND POSSIBLY CRACK A SAFE! The Captain throws one at Katana, misses and it comes back to him, throws another with a camera only to see it unceremoniously destroyed, and another that explodes without any damage. Full points for comic relief and actually allowing me to enjoy Jai Courtney (see also Jack Reacher for true Jai goodness) and an absolute fail for the captain of boomerangs to not have a use for F*CKING BOOMERANGS! OR CRACKING A SAFE! OR PICKING A GORRAM LOCK!!!
Oh yeah, uh... spoilers.
Next is Killer Croc, whom I love in this movie. Mr. Echo’s acting, realistic makeup, and refreshing comic relief sadly did not diminish the fact that he has literally no purpose in the film. All right, that’s harsh. Killer Croc is very good at killing and eating multiple eyeball-faced minions and I truly look forward to one day learning why he “asked” to be locked up in ARGUS’ sewer prison. In this film, when one says “I live underground, ya’ll just tourists,” there is some foreshadowing to Croc actually having a purpose to going with the Navy Seals to detonate the charge. Instead, he gets tackled like a punk bitch leaving our good ol’ boys to give their lives to the cause when Croc easily could have pulled the pin and swam to safety, or speared in at the last possible second to torpedo Scott Eastwood’s GQ off to safety after making the decision to give his life.
But Steve, Croc showed up at the end to throw the other random explosive into the enchanted doomsday device so Deadshot could do what he does best and save the day! You know who else could have done that? ANBODY ELSE!
Before my fingers up and “rage-quit” writing this article, it’s time I got around to actually make my point. The atrocity committed upon Suicide Squad is the direct result of laziness and greed. Instead of releasing a film that a few groups of people would get while others would have to think a little harder or do a small amount of research to appreciate and some wouldn’t like at all, we got a film that was edited, re-shot, and thrown in a blender so it can attempt to please the general masses and get them to open their wallets. This idea of pandering to everyone is short steps away from everything made to be bland blobs of politically correct bullshit that no one who creates has any passion to do so. I personally use creativity as an outlet for how f*cked up I am (and I get a kick out of being covered in blood and suturing body parts back together, so yeah, I’m quite f*cked in the head) and as much as I’d like to say that creating is all I need, not the approval or praise from my peers for my work... but I’m not a goddamned liar. Half the reason I create is for folks to look at my works and see beauty and either feel a spasm of joy by looking at it or inspiration to create something of their own or at the very least buy it. Using my creativity to make people feel better makes me feel better. I need it, a whole hell of a lot more than I need the money. So, is the kind of world where creative folks like David Ayer and Jared Leto are squelched by the powers that be in order to have an uncomplicated, flavorless, story arc-less jumble of gunfire, snippets of hip music, and Margot Robbie in booty-shorts in order to make enough money to roll around in and keep on making more of the same the kind of world we want to live in?
As the Bard would say, “therein lies the rub.” The true source of the sin of sloth in this situation does not lie with the studio executives or those who decide what to put out to the drooling masses. It lies with us, our society, because we let it happen. We wouldn’t be on Michael Bay’s Transformers 5 if we stopped going to spend money on them after the massive ass of a black hole the second one was. But, we just keep on going like lambs to the slaughter of our brain cells and “taste buds.”
On the other hand, maybe Suicide Squad will end up a beacon in the darkness, since I know for a fact I’m not the only one with a strong opinion against it. Was Suicide Squad the sacrificial lamb to inspire Warner Bros. to finally get their shit together and make us a worthwhile DC Extended Universe with an actual hint of storytelling? Well, I certainly doubt it was on purpose but to me that is the only way to spin the film into the light. I mean, I’m still holding out for Donald Trump to tell America he’s been fucking with us the WHOLE TIME and he only ran for President to derail the GOP and un-closet all the racists, bigots, and ignoramuses throughout the country. Just as unlikely as my Suicide Squad theory, but hey, that’s just my overdriven brain trying to find a flash of enlightenment in all this blood and thunder.
Thanks for reading; I’ll keep writing no matter how long it takes to mend this bland atrocity.