I confess first and foremost that while my love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is strong, and that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films ushered me into comic book culture as a child, my favorite superhero movie of all time is 1989 Batman. No matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing or the mood I’m in, if you ask me to come watch Batman with you I will drop everything. I love that movie to freaking death.
As far as the cinematic revisions of Batman goes, there’s something about each of them that I can find something to enjoy. Keaton can smile under the cowl and look intimidating; Val Kilmar’s dull but he’s a serviceable Bruce Wayne; Clooney is trapped in a camp fest but he wasn’t actually bad casting at all; Bale got to do the most with some of the best material; etc. There’s no exception with the current Ben Affleck iteration, he’s the best past of the DCEU thus far and Ben Affleck’s crusade to try and salvage the ongoing trainwreck that Warner Bros. has brought on themselves is commendable. He really wants it to work and I want it to work for him, for all of these actors really because they deserve to be awesome in awesome comic book movies.
Suicide Squad is not one of those movies. This movie is horseshit. This movie is worse than Batman vs. Superman, and I don’t even hate that movie. But I can’t even say there’s anything about this that even somewhat worked. Here’s things in BvS that I actually enjoyed:
- Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Batman’s voice modular (seriously Nolan, three Batman films and you never thought of that?)
- Wonder Woman
- Wonder Woman’s Theme
- Jeremy Irons/Alfred’s sweet mechanic’s suit
- That scene where Lawrence Fishburn asks where Clark Kent is and then walks away and that’s the entire scene.
- The dream sequences, they were wacky and stupid but at least they were interesting.
- The Flash, the fuck was that sequence? I don’t know but I liked it.
Here’s the things that I enjoyed about Suicide Squad:
- Amanda Waller eating a steak.
- Batman saving Harley Quinn then knocking her out.
- Batman taking down Deadshot but wanting to not fight in front of his daughter (and her awful dialogue).
- Hey is that Hopper from Stranger Things?!
- That Twenty One Pilots song at the end (because I’m what the young kids say a “basic bitch”).
I am a Marvel fan true, but I also just want superhero movies to be good and entertaining. I am genuinely gobsmacked at how stupid the DCEU trajectory is at this point. If we must make the MCU comparison, it’s as though they started with Iron Man 2, then did Age of Ultron, then pulled Guardians of the Galaxy out of their asses, while making us beg that The First Avenger won’t be terrible. I understand the ragging on Suicide Squad in that it’s aping from Guardians, but that’s not even fair to say that it’s ripping off Guardians other than the misuse of old rock music. If they ripped it off couldn’t they have at least used the plot structure?
There is no first act in this movie. It’s Amanda Waller introducing everyone and then BOOM, get on the helicopter we’re going to Act Two. Then it’s just stuff happening. The subplot with the Joker makes no impact on the film, the final scene could have existed without ever bringing in the Joker prior. I don’t know what they were doing with him, not really. They allude to the famous comic cover of Harley Quinn and the Joker in just a brief flashback, and again, I’m sitting there kicking the ground going “Where is that movie?!” I want to be invested in Harley Quinn’s story, but the fractured layout of her backstory and the implications that we are told what happens to her and the assumption that we already know who she is just ruin any actual development for her character.
Which again begs the question of what are they trying to achieve here. It’s interesting to throw the audience straight into this world with established characters already but to what end? We either suffer from too much exposition (BvS; did you know Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered?) or not enough (Killer Croc doesn’t look good in booty shorts so he doesn’t get a full flashback). The thing is, spinning this off from Batman’s mythology could work; i.e. The scene with Deadshot and his daughter was enough of a backstory and an interesting dynamic of seeing minor characters interact with Batman, but then we’re slogged with these other minor characters who don’t get the same representation or importance but we’re spending time with them and suddenly they’re calling each other friends because…reasons?
The villains in this movie. I don’t care enough to say it’s awful. But it’s somehow worse than the hilarious nosedive that Fant4stic took in its final 20 minutes of runtime. The only reason Fant4stic comes out on top of all of these terrible superhero movies is because it is at least a clean and breezy 100 minutes. All of these DCEU movies cannot tell their Taco Bell-inspired hot mess stories in under 2 hours and we have to sift through the crap to find the few things that we do like.
I refuse to believe Wonder Woman will be bad. I do not know how, but you could not possibly make a worse movie than this back to back trainwreck of BvS and Suicide Squad, you couldn’t. I do not know who is getting fired on Monday in the Warner Bros. office, but my lord get your shit together WB.