Suicide Squad

Are There Lesbians? No

What Happens?
A team of bad guys is brought together to fight an even bigger bad guy.

The Verdict:
Originally I was going to say yes lesbians because in canon Harley is queer, but in Suicide Squad she’s still very much with the joker unfortunately, so… I’m a bit disappointed that dc didn’t take this opportunity to highlight the problems in the Harley/Joker relationship and bring their movies more in line with their comics. This last bit is a sentiment I find myself returning to more and more as, while it has been a while since I’ve read a dc comic, I’m not totally out of the loop and it looks like they’re doing plenty of good things. They appear more interested than pushing boundaries than their onscreen partners for one thing. If there’s one thing suicide squad made clear it’s that the cinematic universe is still desperately holding onto the idea that men are their primary audience. I Went to a midnight showing and everyone was dudes – there were maybe 5 women in the cinema, tops, and most of them looked like dates (unsure of course who in the couple got dragged to the midnight showing).

Overall, my primary emotion towards suicide squad is something like a long, high pitched “ehh” because it wasn’t all bad. For this reason I’m doing something a bit different and writing a pros/cons list instead of a straight up review, with a bit of a summary at the end so you can follow my train of thought on this.

Pros

  1. “If her grades start to slip I want you to just white people that shit” – aka not all the jokes fell flat
  2. The Character development for Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Viola Davies and Enchantress
    1. Harley was presented as the more interesting member of the Harley/Joker dynamic, which I greatly enjoyed, even if her see- through top and amount of bending over she did made it painfully obvious who the target audience was.
    2. I was 100% prepared to be writing about how Will Smith wore the Deadshot mask for the majority of the film, but he totally didn’t – he only wore it for about 5 seconds in a flashback, while this is probably mostly due to it being Will Freaking Smith, it was nice to have at least one fully visible black man!
    3. On that note – VIOLA DAVIES EVERYONE. Powerful black woman who takes no shit from anyone, not even Batman. She was super badass and a god amongst women.
    4. Cara Delevingne was amazing at the Enchantress, I didn’t even realise that Dr June Moone and the primitive version of Enchantress were the same person until right at the end. That’s how good she was. Also I blame makeup. I have had a conversation with one of my friends as how she did look like a fourteen year old in a metal bikini rather than her true badass form, and I personally would have loved to have the creepy primitive version as the main one, because even though the outfit was revealing, it messed with expectations of “sexy” and y’know, didn’t infantilise a fully grown woman.
  3. Jared Leto is barely in it!
    1. He’s really only there as part of Harley’s plot rather than the other way around
    2. In conversations with friends I have described his performance as both a godawful parody of the actual actors before him, and a cheap rip-off of Heath Ledgers portrayal. He really doesn’t bring anything new to the character. While his over-the-top portrayal was probably right for a movie that is inherently over-the-top, his portrayal still seemed ham-fisted and too much. Personally I think it’s time for a more subtle and suave Joker portrayal, but I have to own that such a portrayal wouldn’t have been fitting for Suicide Squad. What I can definitely say without a doubt is that Jared Leto made waaay too much of a fuss about “becoming the Joker” and maybe if he had focused on his acting rather than pissing off his co-workers, he might have been able to pull together something that bore a semblance to decent.
  4. The fight scenes were often beautiful to watch
    1. Particularly the one at the end between the Squad and Enchantress
  5. The visual effects (see above), but also just… pretty! If they hadn’t been so intent on making everything gritty, a hypercolour palette could have been awesome and matched poster art and advertising, as well as added more of a comic aesthetic
  6. The Soundtrack was good and I’m definitely going to buy it
    1. On the downside it was noticeably soundtrack heavy with three different song within the first five minutes. While this created a jarring effect that would be in line with such an over-the-top movie, and differing set of characters that we have, it is unclear whether this is then done on purpose, or whether it is, as I feel, simply messy.

Cons

  1. Pacing
    1. Two different introductions, the first of which seemed unnecessary.
    2. Clear it had been reshot – there were a few character montages that would change suddenly, clearly separating Harley and Deadshot from the team and removing any idea of them as a cohesive.
    3. Maybe it’s cause I’m over superhero movies but it seemed very predictable – we as an audience knew exactly where it was heading, even if the Suicide Squad themselves didn’t.
    4. In short, its just fucked
  2. The Character development for everyone not previously mentioned was practically nonexistent.
    1. I’m still not sure why it was necessary to make Flag fall in love with Enchantress – he wasn’t a villain wouldn’t he have done what Davies said anyway?
    2. It took me a while to figure out who was who, and who was relevant
    3. Characters are introduced with an explanation from Viola Davis, which made the flow feel unnatural and clunky Boomerang’s accent. I just want one non-bogan aussie accent. Please.
  3. The Harley/Joker relationship was just bizarre
    1. I was completely baffled, it seemed like they were trying to make it more romantic than in the comics which a) confused me and b)  made me angry because now there are going to be even more people trying to romanticise their abusive relationship
  4.  It felt more like watching a video game than a movie
    1. The kind where you get dropped off at one point and have to work your way to the big bad at the centre. There was no “OMG these small incursions are part of a bigger thing” because you already
      knew where they were coming from. It really needed that revelatory moment.

The main problem with this movie is that it could have been so very much more than it was. DC is doing well with the amount of representation in their comics and their animated shows have always been fantastic. Suicide Squad had the makings of a movie so different to what we’ve previously seen in super hero movies. They already had several very powerful female characters and a not-totally-insufficient number of poc’s even if some of that representation was a bit stereotypical or involved characters who barely got development (Katana and El Diablo I’m looking at you, you poor bastards). I feel like dc is so afraid of alienating all the 15 year old boys of the world that they’re ignoring the majority of their actual audience who want to see… well… something different. I’d hoped that Suicide Squad would be just that different thing but unfortunately all we got was more of the same – a grimdark wetdream with a few attempts at humour thrown in.

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