As David mentioned yesterday we went and saw Suicide Squad this weekend. I had been looking forward to this movie, but after reshoots and a push back on the date I was a bit concerned about what we were getting. In the end I generally enjoyed the movie and there were some moments that really drew me in, but in the end I feel like the movie was not quite sure what it wanted to be. There were starts to all of these different stories that seemed interesting, but none of it felt quite fully realized. The best comment I heard from someone is that it felt like the cliff notes version of like 10 movies. Now this does not mean that it was not generally enjoyable, but I think my biggest complaint is that none of the storylines felt very fulfilling for me.
Now I think some of the problem seems to stem from the fact that this movie seemed to start down one path and seemed to switch part way through. An example of this can be seen by simply watching the progression of trailers, which starts out somber and then all the trailers after that go an entirely different direction. In the end you can still see elements of the original somber movie, but with these weird cuts and jokes overlaid and then you have the added element of being shown after Batman V Superman, which just adds a bit of unnecessary elements.
Definitely some of the problem with this movie is that it feels a bit split on the tone of the movie and some of that does come from the expectations from the trailers. Parts of the movie is just villains being badass and fighting to survive. Then there are these moments that take a look at a darker moment. It almost seems that somewhere there is this story that took a look at the darker psychology of these villains. Many of them are more than just blood-thirsty killers – there is something deeper than just being bad people. Some of the more interesting moments to me was when we explored a bit more of who these villains were before being forced together.
The other way they could have gone was to say forget the tragic back story, we have a couple of villains being badass and just go for it. A fun action movie where you turn your brain off and just enjoy the ride is a great time and I love movies like that. There is a reason that Fast and Furious and Transformers do so well and that is because they are just ridiculous fun.
The problem is that Suicide Squad never fully committed to one direction and by switching gears they just muddied the waters.
Now even with some of the problems that we had there were some amazing characters in this movie played by some amazing actors. I mean Viola Davis embodied Amanda Waller who is a cold, calculating, manipulative black ops leader. She is a woman that you cannot trust and she believes the only way to get people to do what she wants is to have leverage over them. Then there is Will Smith who plays Deadshot who is an assassin willing to kill people for the highest bidder. There are some incredible scenes of his ability and him being able to hit the same spot every time. I actually appreciated the story of El Diablo who believed that he could use his power to make money and got greedy, but then lost control at the worst time and killed the people he loved. Captain Boomerang was definitely meant to be the comic relief of the movie and he did a good job at that, but it meant there was no real depth to his character.
Then my favorite was definitely Harley Quinn as played by Margot Robbie. There was just something sort of fascinating about her character that I loved watching. Part of what I loved about her though was definitely her relationship with Joker. Some people hate on Jared Leto’s Joker, but I really feel like it was the editing that destroyed him because when it was Harley and Joker on screen I was mesmerized. Their obsession with each other and how that played out was so intriguing, but they kept cutting it short. This is actually the problem with a lot of things where they teased out a little bit of story, but never let it play out – instead cutting it short probably due to time.
Short on time is definitely what it felt like throughout this movie. This is one of the few times that I wonder if 30 more minutes couldn’t have helped flesh out some of the story consider there was a lot of story that needed to be told in order to talk about so many characters. They keep try to fit in too much in to one movie. Using Superman as an impetus for why to build the squad is fine because what happens when the next alien threat comes along? At the same time did we really have to spend time rehashing Superman’s death in this movie because if you didn’t know, did it really matter? In some ways I wonder if this movie would have benefitted from not being so closely tied to the rest of the DC movies.
Now of course it needed to have some elements because these are still DC villains and knowing that the heroes that we know caught them is not a bad thing, but at the same time could the time spent on Superman or some other minor elements not be better served in other ways? I don’t know, but as I said early on when I walked out of the movie it felt like something was missing.
Cutting Room Floor
It actually turns out that a lot was missing from the movie and this is some of the issue with watching too many trailers. In re-watching the trailers for Suicide Squad it really emphasized how much of the Joker scenes and honestly some of my favorite scenes were taken out of the movie release version. It is one time I am hoping for an extended release to see what was cut that might have helped round out the story more. One of the scenes I only recently noticed in one trailer is seeing Katana’s eyes go black suddenly like something is happening, but then nothing even close to that is mentioned again. Then there is the scene in the bar where Harley is serving drinks (like the image above) and that earlier section got cut, and they kept the after scene instead. Being able to see exactly what got cut makes me wonder how they decided what they did end up keeping.
In the end I did enjoy this movie, but there are a lot of problems that are hard to overlook. At the same time I really did enjoy the characters and felt there was a possibility for something better. I would definitely be willing to give a sequel or something similar a chance and not just dismiss it. Particularly I really want to see Joker and Harley in the Batman movie with Ben Affleck because I think that could be intriguing to see more of their relationship.