12 minutes ago
Friday, August 5, 2016
Suicide (Squad) is Painless
I was never terribly excited for Suicide Squad. This isn't my preferred version of the team, and the trailers recalled Guardians of the Galaxy, which was not among my favorite of Marvel films. The negative reviews didn't change my perception. After seeing it last night, I feel like I misjudged Suicide Squad, and I think it is a better movie than rap its getting.
First off, it does resemble GotG in some ways, but uses those similarities to different ends. GotG's AM Gold soundtrack and stock characters were meant to pander and reassure. It wants desperately to convince you that this is like those these things you like and in doing so become on of those things. Whatever Warner Bros.' and Ayers' intentions, the film Suicide Squad seems indifferent to your like or dislike. It wants just to entertain. It uses (or overuses) musical cues like captions or narration to save itself time spent with building scenes or establishing drama. It's got other stuff it wants to do. The characters could all be described in a single comic caption box, but unlike GotG, to the extent that any have hearts of gold, it's only to accentuate the realpolitick evil of Amanda Waller (who out dicks Dick Cheney) and sometime sanctimonious soldier Rick Flagg.
Suicide Squad is perhaps the most comic book-y of comic book movies since the Batman 1966 film spinoff. It's first 30 minutes plays like a Marvel after credits sequence with cameos and references to movies that haven't been made yet. "Of course a DC Universe exists; let's just start from here," it says, rather than wasting any time trying to prepare a timid audience or slowly build suspension disbelief. Metahumans. Superman's dead. Ancient witches. Batman. And on we go! Harley Quinzel was a Marilyn Monroe breathy-voiced psychiatrist who falls for the platinum-capped psychopath she calls "Mister J" is only as convincing as the images themselves burlesque backstory you know. Either you buy it or not, we ain't going to try to convince you.
In the end (again like GotG), it succumbs to defeating a narratively poorly sold and visually uninteresting and CGI swirly world menace, in a run of the mill superhero action sequence. Before that it's a live action 00s comic, and the extent to which you like it may be dependent on how you feel about that.