Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad poster

Suicide Squad.

Oh Lordy, Suicide Squad.

Unlike Ghostbusters, which I only watched because of the surrounding controversy, I had no clue about any controversies involving Suicide Squad until a few days ago when Rawle Nyanzi told me he had found our next movie.

You see, it turns out that Suicide Squad contains many elements that the SJW-types are not very fond of. Unlike Ghostbusters, which celebrated girl power, stupid men, and women who act like stupid men, Suicide Squad is all about big guns, action, sexy women, and more guns. Oh, and heroism. A tiny bit.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: Suicide Squad made more during its opening weekend than Ghostbusters has domestically during the entire month or so it’s been in theaters. Yet another reason why it’s not a good idea to insult your audience…

Look, you can tell from the tone of this that I wasn’t a huge fan of Suicide Squad. I knew nothing about its plot, I had only a passing familiarity with the characters, and I think I’m about 15 years older than the target audience.

That said, it was alright. It just barely avoided being beige. The elements of a good movie were there, but it was a mess, like somebody cut the film up, ate it, puked it back up and spliced it together wherever the pieces ended up. The writing and pacing was a catastrophe, but the underlying set-up was interesting and there was some good banter. Will Smith is in it. I like Will Smith. He does banter very well, and he has this thing called “charisma,” a trait completely absent from Ghostbusters. Okay, I’m done making fun of Ghostbusters.

That’s a lie. I’ll never be done making fun of Ghostbusters.

The standout of Suicide Squad was, without a doubt, Margot Robbie, who played a note-perfect Harley Quinn. She was probably the best thing about the movie. Jared Leto was decent as the Joker, though he bore a distracting resemblance to the Thin White Duke-era David Bowie. Or, in the words of Jay and Mike from Half in the Bag, a Juggalo gangster.

There were other characters. Lots of them. But there wasn’t much heroism. I know it’s a movie about super-villains, but they were villains doing good. There was room for more, you know, character arcs and stuff, but every time Suicide Squad got close to a genuine emotional moment, it never quite crossed the goal-line.

Suicide Squad team shot

Oh well. It has sexy girls and action. It was fun, even if it bludgeoned me in the head with a story that had no time to breathe and a generally, though intentionally, ugly and grimy aesthetic.

It also cost $15.00, because Rawle and I went to the 3-D showing. Hey, it was at a much more reasonable time, and we have day jobs and such.

So was Suicide Squad worth $15.00? Yes! How can this be after everything I just wrote? It’s worth the price of admission solely because it pisses off the right people. 

Would I rather have spent my $15.00, and my two hours, doing something else? Yes. But I’m glad this movie got my money out of spite.

Now, generally I don’t like doing things out of spite. I’m a pretty positive person who prefers to actively enjoy the things that I do for their intrinsic value. But sometimes you’ve got to shove it up the asses of people who deserve to have it shoved up their asses, whatever “it” is.

In this case, “it,” is long, cylindrical, and kind of resembles a cheap plastic copy of a proton pack.

Because seriously, screw Ghostbusters. It was pretty dreadful. Stop trying to pretend that it wasn’t.

Oh. Right. Suicide Squad. There are worse ways to spend your time and money. It was funnier than Ghostbusters, at least.

And now, please please please let the next movie I see be one I’m actually looking forward to. Christopher Nolan has a new one coming out soon…

PS A final note about diversity: Suicide Squad featured: A black woman as the squad’s mastermind with a white man as her second-in-command, a white woman as the villain, a black man and a white woman as the most prominent characters, and a team consisting of a Latino man, a Japanese woman, an Australian man, and . . . uh . . . Killer Croc, whom I think was black before he became a crocodile. The best part is: none of this is made a big deal. If there’s one thing Suicide Squad does right, is diversity: It gets it right because it is not the focus of the story. It doesn’t beat the viewer over the head with a “message.” The characters are just people.

*     *     *

Rawle’s Review:

Suicide Squad is a movie about dangerous supervillains forced to fight even more dangerous supervillains on pain of nanite-induced death. As far as movies go, it wasn’t great, but Will Smith’s performance as Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn were well worth the price of admission and made an otherwise weak movie watchable.

Will Smith Deadshot
Now this review will address two aspects of the film: its storytelling and its so-called “misogyny.”

In the movie, government agent Amanda Waller convinces the US government to release several dangerous criminals — some of whom are superhuman — in a bid to fight off superpowered threats. Unfortunately, one of the superhumans, the Enchantress, gets loose and tries to take over the world. Waller activates the villain team in response.

The story was a muddled mess. It tried to cram the backstories of several characters into one two-hour film and tell the main story at the same time. The plot had no clear arc or aim — it just gave a bunch of background info, then went from one action scene to the next. Because there were so many backstories to keep track of, it was hard to connect to any of the characters at all. The fire-wielding El Diablo in particular had an interesting background; he swore off wielding his power because he killed his wife and children with it in a fit of rage. But like most of those plot threads, it got lost in the crowd. Overall, it struck me as a poor attempt to imitate Guardians of the Galaxy.

Special mention must go to Will Smith’s performance as ultimate hitman Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn. Smith injected great humor into the confusing mess of plot, as did Robbie; together, they were responsible for most of the enjoyment in the film. Even the action paled in comparison to their frequent quips, which were especially effective when the two played off of each other. While the movie’s plot fell flat in every possible way, Smith and Robbie gave extremely strong performances.

Margot Robbie Harley Quinn

Now on to the “misogyny.” As usual, the feminists lied; there was no hatred of women in the movie in any way. However, it contained something I didn’t expect: unabashedly feminine women. Harley Quinn, while mischievous and insane, behaved in a very cutesy manner that juxtaposed the polar opposites of innocence and ruthlessness. The Enchantress played up her sexual allure in a skimpy outfit while wielding dark magic. Even the archaeologist whom the Enchantress’s spirit possessed was in a good relationship with a soldier that acted as the villain team’s minder. Quinn expressed a heartfelt desire to have the Joker’s children. Even Katana, a sword-wielding throwaway character, grieved for her dead husband. Most female characters in modern movies completely lack femininity at all, even when they dress in an alluring fashion, because modern thinking dictates that feminine female characters are “sexist.” Every female must either be a snark-spitting harridan (in a non-action movie) or a cold-blooded warrior (in an action movie.) The movie had far too much sexy, and the ladies had far too much fun with it; no wonder this movie attracted feminist anger.

If you’re going to see this movie at all, see it for Will Smith and Margot Robbie. They make this otherwise forgettable movie watchable. One thing’s for sure: this movie was better than Ghostbusters, but that’s not a high bar to clear.

Follow me on Twitter at @DaytimeRenegade, and Rawle at @RawleNyanziFTL

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10 thoughts on “Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Thanks for the comment Dan!

      I too had fun with it, which I think was more the result of the characters and actors than the plot. I’d file it under “entertaining.”

      That said, maybe if I were more familiar with the characters I’d have stronger feelings about it. Deadshot sure was cool though!


    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Hah fanboy rage is bad for your health, physical and social!

      This movie is fun if you turn your brain off. It’s FRUSTRATING because it could have been so much better. Good casting, fun characters and a decent set-up hampered by confusing editing and a rushed pace.

      If you’re a fan of the Harley Quinn character, like I was when I was a kid, you’ll dig Margot Robbie’s portrayal of her. Then again, what’s not to dig about Margot Robbie.

      Also, I mean, say what you want about the man personally, but Will Smith is good 90% of the time, and he is good in this.


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