Friday, July 21, 2017

Superhero Media: Suicide Squad

In my years studying film and the years since graduation, I don't believe I've seen a better example of how the Hollywood System alters cinema better than Suicide Squad. Seriously, if you can see this film for free (it's on Netflix now), it's worth a watch, just to see what the hell is going on; yes, it's bad, but not as bad as you've probably heard. Firstly, this is a really basic pitch, right? It's The Dirty Dozen with supervillains, should be pretty simple to get up and going, but a combination of compressed writing time and a need to build on the extended universe before Justice League kind of killed that. Much of the film seems to be missing, whole scenes and character arcs are glossed over; when does Rick Flagg start trusting the prisoners? One scene he's ready to kill them all and the next he's relying on Deadshot to cover his back. When do Harley and Deadshot become friends? One scene they tolerate each other, the next he refuses to shoot her even though doing so will literally get him everything he wants. Why is Katana not in half the film? And when does she become one of the criminals? She's clearly an independent contractor, but for some reason she goes to drink with the criminals when they wander off. 

I could keep going. Also, there is no damn way Amanda Waller could have planned for everything she claims to have; how did she know that Flagg would fall for the Enchantress? How did she know that The Joker would run amuck in a very specific way in which Batman wouldn't stop him for once? I'm not just nitpicking for the hell of it here, I really feel like there was a lot left on the cutting room floor here and maybe there was a good version of this film that will never see the light of day. Also, as good a character as she is, why the hell is Harley Quinn on the team? Sure, she can fight, but not as well as some other members of the team, and Waller admits that she's a "wildcard", read: liability. From a meta-film standpoint, yes, they needed a major female character in the squad, but were Killer Frost, Plastique, Cheetah and Cheshire all busy on the day? What the hell is Harley supposed to do against Superman, who is the intended target of the Suicide Squad to begin with?

Being the music nerd I am, I would be remiss to not comment on the soundtrack, which hit big. It is also a mess, it sounds like a rebellious 15 year-old's Spotify playlist and lacks any context. Sure there are quite a few great songs on there, but they don't got together. In both Guardians of the Galaxy films, the "Awesome Mix" is precisely a mix tape,  given to Starlord by his mother, so of course it sounds like that. In Suicide Squad, we just have a collection of, mostly pretty good, songs that don't even match the theme of the film. I also look forward to hearing Kanye's "Black Skinhead" every time a black character is kicking arse in a major film for at least the next decade. What else is there to say? Suicide Squad is a mess and I doubt anyone except hardcore DCU fans will be talking about it in a couple of years. Give it a watch if you haven't yet, but not really one for the books.

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