Add P.S.J. to the Shutdown Petition: Suicide Squad (2016)

Since Zack Snyder’s vision has taken over the DC Movie Universe I have found it increasingly hard to get into the movies. The films are struggling to understand the characters. I understand the need to do something different and fresh, but there is a core to the characters that Snyder just doesn’t understand.

Full Disclosure: I have never a fan of DC comics in general, which you can use to completely dismiss this reaction. AS if you needed an excuse. Come on, this is the internet.

For those of you who are not simply looking to troll anyone with a different opinion, I am a fan of Batman, which is to say, I’m not a zealous Marvel fanboi, looking to poo-poo everything DC. That said, even Batman is hit and miss. I realize that’s not saying much. That’s just how it is, period. Depending on who is at the helm you can get everything from amazing to fucking ludicrous crap.

With Snyder at the helm you get the latter. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 2008, Snyder says:

“I’m like, okay, ”No, Batman’s cool.” He gets to go to a Tibetan monastery and be trained by ninjas. Okay? I want to do that. But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go.”

This is the sick mind Warner Bros. wants to set the vision for the DC Universe? Okay. Ballsy, I’ll give you that. Retarded also comes to mind. But this reaction isn’t about Snyder, though I think his taint is all over the DCMU, it’s about the first non Holy Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) movie: Suicide Squad.

Hmmm? A group of villains who are going to team up to do what’s right, albeit a questionably “good” mission? Uhm. Ho-kay. It’s a bit hard to get my head around, but different enough it might work. That is, if the filmmakers could get their motivations right.

What I mean is, how do you motivate super villains (not just bad guys) to do the right thing, especially when doing so strongly suggests they’ll die? They don’t have families to threaten. You can’t appeal to their morality with a rousing pep talk. You’re not going to pay them. So, what?

You inject an explosive device into their necks. You explode their heads if they don’t do what you say. Okay. I’ll buy that.

Up to a point, that is. That point being when things go sideways.

From the beginning things progressed straight forwardly. There was machismo posturing, threats about what will happen if they (the super villains) ever get free. The boss man, Rick Flag, has to explode at least one person’s head to show he means business. Then things go completely to shit. They have to, it’s story-telling 101. It’s called conflict. Conflict is what drives the story. And what could be more confrontational than a group of super villains who were forced to work together suddenly finding they are no longer thusly conscripted?

And this is the point where the writers either have their shit together or the center of the tempest can’t hold and it all falls in on itself.

[Spoilers]

The latter is the case.

Naturally there was some small amount of “team building” feelz along the way before it went sideways. At the big moment, Rick Flag destroys the iPhone on his wrist which has the Head Asplode app. He also gives a rousing speech (sigh, groan, eye roll). Flag has removed the one thing he had to control the super villains, insane killers (some with super powers) who have been tortured and taunted for who knows how long, and gives a heart-felt speech. And it works. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m seriously meant to believe that not one of these crazy bastards will, at the very least, make a break for it? Not one will make good on their threats to stomp a very messy mud hole in Flag?

Fuck. That. Shit. They would have torn off his head and sexually violated his throat hole.

Suicide Squad had a tenuous hold on my suspension of disbelief, at best. As soon as I saw what was going to keep “the team” together I was ready to check out. I was ready to kill Flag yet somehow the SUPER VILLAINS magically changed. They were going to do the right thing because, shucks, why not?

I mean, come on.

You might be wondering: Could it be Enchantress? She’s magic. No. She’s a gaping plot hole. She’s even worse than the characters’ motivation. Enchantress’s powers were another plot point I knew would be problematic. She’s magic. She’s like Superman. Regular people, even ones with “abilities,” don’t stand a chance. How does one fight magic? With magic, of course. Oh, wait. That’s right. She’s the only one with magic. Damn.

The movie really backs itself into a corner with Enchantress. She can screw with minds, i.e. make people see whatever she wants. She can become smoke, negating the effects of weapons. Smoke don’t give a shit. She can teleport—around the world and back in an instant teleport, not just line-of-sight teleportation. How about this: she has telekinesis, which allows her to strip her enemies of their weapons. In other words, there’s no way to hurt her in her physical form (if she’s even venerable at all). And who knows what else she is capable of.

Short answer: Suicide Squad can’t do jack. Or can they?

She does have a weakness, which is what Amanda Walker uses to control her at the beginning: her heart. Why doesn’t she just teleport in, grab it, and teleport out? Because.

Well, she does try. But there’s a proximity light on the suitcase holding her heart. Apparently she’s susceptible to proximity lights. When she sees it light up, grabbing the suitcase is no longer an option. I believe this type of contrivance is called “because it was in the script.”

What’s worse is when Enchantress does make her break for it, Walker stabs the heart to kill Enchantress. It doesn’t work. Why? Because there’s a second all-powerful magical meta person thing. Enchantress’s brother. He has the power to make sure Enchantress doesn’t die. And other stuff, as needed.

At this point I call bullshit! When the plot calls for Enchantress to be invulnerable she is. When it’s time for the final boss fight she’s vulnerable. This movie flip flops worse than a fish out of water with a car battery clipped to his testicles.

Sometimes giant plot holes can be overlooked if the characters are compelling. As an ensemble, most of the Suicide Squad was forgettable. Hell, one of them gets his head exploded before he gets to do anything. Harley Quinn, which comes as no surprise, was the breakout character. She’ll likely do very well in a solo movie, assuming DC figures out how to make their universe work.

The gorilla in the jacuzzi is Jared Leto as the Joker. It is really hard to follow up Nolan’s interpretation of and Ledger’s acting as The Joker. And while Leto gave a good performance (of what he was asked to be), this Joker is a joke. The Joker is a hipster, pimp, juggalo. In other words he was exactly the douche-bag he looked to be in the promotional images.

Shit! This means we’re going to get more of him in a coming Batman movie. He doesn’t have to be the first villain Batman faces, but The Joker will have to show his face at some point.

Feh!

So, as it turned out, my worries were well founded. All things considered it was not terrible, just not that good. The sad thing is it could have been. Oh well. Maybe Wonder Woman can bring up the DC grade point average. It’s the first movie since Geoff Johns took over as Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics. Maybe he’ll turn things around. I guess we’ll see.

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