Comic Book Movie
We all know the history of Suicide Squad’s production. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) went through meticulous preparation for his role as the Joker, including mailing a live rat to his onscreen girlfriend, Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street). Women all over were cosplaying as Harley Quinn months before this film even was completed. A group of fans formed a petition to shut down RottenTomatoes after critics gave it a 35% rating only three days before its release. So now, it’s time to ask: was it worth all the hubabaloo?
Essentially, in this first ever villain ensemble picture, these imprisoned denizens of the law are temporarily released from their cells for a top secret mission. The government is already worried of another Superman coming to earth, so they have no other options besides rely on these metahumans to stop a typical extra-dimensional villain from creating yet another doomsday over the world. If they succeed, they get ten years off their prison sentence. If they fail, they die.
The result is an edgier version of Guardians of the Galaxy, except without the fun, fascinating imagery, impressive CGI, or anything else that makes this stand out as its own entity. Like any other action movie these days, it resorts to constant close-up motion sickness in all the action scenes, overusing noisy colors and upbeat pop music to add flavor. The entire first forty minutes is a meticulous bore to manage through, as it overuses backstory exposition and flashback on every single character. And yes, I do mean every single one. Anyways, after this torturous, lengthy intro, the movie finally gets started with the villains gearing up for their mission under the supervision of the CIA. It’s a pretty wild ride if you are an expert at keeping track of ten different subplots from one-dimensional characters fighting for the audience’s attention.
The team is not full of the biggest failures known to mankind, but they’re not going to be remembered within an hour after the first meeting. From what I remembered, there was a masked Japanese warrior named Katana (Karen Fukuhara) whose husband is trapped in her sword. There was also an offensive Australian stereotype named Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who exists for no reason besides comic relief. Then there was Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who does next to nothing memorable besides being rolled in a restraining harness like Hannibal Lecter. Then there was the skeleton-tatted El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), who stands out with his surprisingly tragic backstory. Then there was the governmental supervisor of the squad (Viola Davis) who likes to control them as their god.
The squad does have a couple of redeeming members who want something out of their mission. El Diablo is certainly one, but the rogue gunman Deadshot (Will Smith) makes one of the film’s greater impressions. Now, it’s not to say that Will Smith was any good in the role, because he honestly does exactly the same routine as all his 90’s roles. Even his character’s backstory feels clichéd to Smith’s type of character. He has a daughter, you see, and she does not approve of his murderous lifestyle. She even puts her own life at risk to stop her father from killing anyone else. It feels pretty sweet, but haven’t we seen this before?
Now as for Jared Leto’s highly anticipated performance as the Joker, I hate to break it to you: he let me down. With all we have heard about what he did to prepare for his role to make it his own, the crew barely gives him any useful material to work off of. The closest thing to disturbing he gets to is laughing like a pedophile inside a circle of knives.
Everyone thought he would be the best part of the movie, but you know what was the best part? Not the Joker, but the Joker’s lil’ monster. Margot Robbie is both deliciously seductive and delightfully psychotic as Harley Quinn, balancing that behavior with a girly innocence to generate a believable romance with the clown prince of crime. She has the only flashbacks that I was okay with seeing, particularly one where she willfully jumps into a vat of chemicals for a twisted make-out session with her beau. Sure, she may have been a bit too sexualized for what her character called for, but I would have much preferred her to be the sole main character than to have five different leads.
We’ve never seen anything quite like this movie, and I’m sure this will not be the last supervillain ensemble picture. I’m sure that the crimes that Suicide Squad has committed on storytelling will not remain in the public’s memories, but I already presume a long and successful screen career for the fresh Margot Robbie.
Seeing this movie brought back some memories for me about a phase of mine during middle school. I was already watching several cartoons of costumed crime fighters, but these shows got me more interested more so than the heroes were the villains.
I loved how supervillains like the Joker, Dr. Octopus, Mr. Freeze, and many others were more characteristic, varied, and better designed than the heroes. Just look at all of the Joker’s reinterpretations of appearance over the years!
However, remembering back to this, as well as watching this movie, got me thinking: why are people so drawn to supervillains? Is it because they are drawn to living life as a baddie? Is it because their super abilities feed audiences with a feeling of power?
Just go to any ComicCon convention, and over half the costumed fans are dressed as some variant of a supervillain. Heck, you’d probably even give up on counting all the Jokers and Harley Quinns! Sure, it’s plenty of fun to dress up as somebody with a cool costume, but what is it saying about what our culture most values?
I say it is the fans’ way of saying that they idolize the characters to the point where they want to be just like them in appearance and behavior.
Just look at how Harley Quinn is portrayed in this movie: she is a rebellious bad girl who won’t listen to the authorities, in fact she even left her sustainable job as an Arkham Asylum mental psychiatrist to join a life of crime, a decision she never regrets. She also can’t change into her outfit without the other CIA guards staring at her wearing only a red bra, and her sparkly tights make the most of her springing butt cheeks. Hence, women look at her and think, “I want to be just like her!”
While anybody can easily follow a role model they want to imitate on screen, people with autism follow screen idols just as often. Since they can have such extreme obsessions over areas of interest, they can shut off all other conscience to follow under the role models surrounding this interest.
For instance, as a child, one of my longest-running obsessions was SpongeBob. I wanted all I did to revolve around the TV show, including the things I said and the way I spent my time. Therefore, I would always quote from the show in everyday conversations, and even had a SpongeBob wristband that I wore every single day for every single occasion. It was impossible to be around me and not hear something related to SpongeBob.
Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Lesson #57: We Get Overexcited About Our Passions.
Looking back to Suicide Squad, any fans of DC Comics or comic book universes in general would put themselves in the shoes of the criminals, rooting for them to succeed. While yes, even criminals are human beings with redemptive values in each of them, this film portrays those values as if they excuse the illegal acts they commit, saying that their crime is what makes up their genetic identity. While one may try to argue, Suicide Squad ultimately glamorizes the criminal lifestyle and comic book fans all across the globe will fall into the gun-happy lives they live. We all want to make America great again, so maybe it’s time to ask, what made it “un-great” to begin with?
- Who are your role models on screen? Can’t tell? Think about what your favorite movie or TV show is, then from there, who is your favorite character in that movie or TV show? What is it you like about that character? Are those characteristics you enjoy identifying yourself with?
- If you have autism, understand the dangers of negative role models, especially when a movie tries to justify the choices they make. If you are struggling to do this, ask for a parent or role model to help you.
- Don’t watch this movie. I know it sounds like a hard risk to take, especially if you are a fan of these types of movies, but the less money DC makes off Suicide Squad, the less likely other filmmakers will try to create dangerous role models like these ones.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Jedeikin, Desi. 6 Crazy Ways Jared Leto Prepared to Play The Joker. Smosh. Defy Media, 3 Aug 2016. Web. <http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/6-crazy-ways-jared-leto-prepared-play-joker>.
Lady Geek Girl. Sexualized Saturdays: Suicide Squad and the Harley Quinn Problem. Lady Geek Girl. WordPress, 27 Jun 2015. Web. <https://ladygeekgirl.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/sexualized-saturdays-suicide-squad-and-the-harley-quinn-problem/>.
McCluskey, Megan. Suicide Squad Fans Want to Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Bad Reviews. Time. WordPress, 3 Aug 2016. Web. <http://time.com/4436621/suicide-squad-fans-rotten-tomatoes-petition/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook>.
Suicide Squad. DC. Web. <http://www.suicidesquad.com/>.
Warner Bros. Pictures. Suicide Squad - Official Trailer 1 [HD]. Digital image. YouTube, 19 Jan 2016. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRih_VtVAs>.