Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Suicide Squad


Summary: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) can see that the times are changing with the arrival of Superman and the growing metahuman presence and realizes that there needs to be a contingency. Along with Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), his girlfriend Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne), and her alter-ego, a primal ancient force that possesses her, Waller assembles Task Force X, a group of criminals designed to be sent into deadly situations where they’re very likely to die — a Suicide Squad, if you will. Her recruits are the deadly assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), psychotic clown lady Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), remorseful pyromancer El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), feral beast-man Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and themed criminal Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney). When something apocalyptic bubbles up in Midway City, Waller sends them out under Flag’s supervision, putting bombs in their necks to make sure they stay on track and sending Katana (Karen Fukuhara) as Flag’s bodyguard. But their mission could get complicated as the Joker (Jared Leto) is planning a rescue of his beloved Harley and may throw a wrench in the grand design.

Review: Suicide Squad did not suck complete d*** and there were a lot of moments I enjoyed, but I can’t call it a good film. Much like the Joker and his ilk, the movie suffers from schizophrenia and I’m not saying this just because the choppy editing gave me a headache. The film wants to be both serious and funny, but rather than blending, the two styles clash like two hands in an eternal thumb war. Still, a handful of the comedic moments were actually funny, so that’s something.

Unlike Batman v. Superman, I enjoyed many aspects of this film, so let’s tackle those first. Will Smith is an excellent Deadshot, probably due to his natural charisma. He definitely makes the facial hair work, which is a first because in the comics it made Deadshot look like a pedophile. Please pull a Nick Fury and make Deadshot black in the comics too. The opening and closing credits and the character introductions have a lot of personality, sort of Vice City meets blacklight clubs. I didn’t think I’d like this new incarnation of the Joker with his grill and tattoos, but Leto pulled it off really well. Harley Quinn was also well acted and her personality is accurate to the source material, at least when she could keep her Jersey accent. She and Joker pull off a Sid and Nancy vibe, which gives them a unique flavor. Really, the first act could be its own short movie and it would get a lot of thumbs up.

I have to give praise to Viola Davis and the writing staff for the presentation of Amanda Waller. Waller is one of those characters that live action portrayals never seem to get right… mostly because they make her skinny. Yeah, I consider making Waller skinny to be a cardinal sin because it robs the DC Universe of a unique character and body type for the Hollywood figure. Yeah, The New 52* made her skinny, but considering that only lasted five years before being practically undone, I think we can admit that The New 52 made far too many mistakes to take much inspiration from. On top of that, Waller’s past two appearances have portrayed her as warm and welcoming (Green Lantern) or a cunning shrew (Arrow) and that’s just not her. Amanda Waller is stern, ruthless, implacable, and has enough natural intimidation to even cow Batman. Viola pulls all of this off and even if she isn’t built like a brick (ba-da-daaah-dun) house, she is still the best live action portrayal of Amanda Waller to date.

*The New 52 was the brand DC used for the reboot of their universe in 2011, which I’ve written about a few times. It was meant to draw in new comic readers with its blank slate, but soon became decried for its excessive bleakness, removal of much of DC’s history and grandeur, editorial mismanagement and creator abuse, and much more. In 2016, the New 52 brand and changes were mostly undone, though some aspects of it remain.

With that out of the way, let’s talk crap and start with the controversial stuff. Remember in my Batman v. Superman review when I said that at least it wasn’t overtly sexist? Well, throw any notion of hearing that in this review into the rubbish bin. There isn’t a female on the front lines that isn’t hypersexualized or in need of rescuing. Harley Quinn spends most of the movie without pants and Enchantress is outfitted in a black metal bikini, something her comic counterpart in her skimpiest costume would blush at wearing. The least offensive is Katana, who has a mostly reasonable outfit except for a midriff top, but she has the most minimal of character development, having only one emotional moment and then being a stoic nonentity for the rest of the film. Kinda makes you wonder why she was there in the first place. Combining that with casual unwanted ass-slapping and other women being reduced to damsels in distress makes this script into a social hot mess.

Now we get to the multi-colored elephant in the room, the treatment of Harley Quinn. Many critics have said that her relationship with the Joker is horribly abusive and it serves to make her character weaker. Several comic readers counter that the relationship with the Joker was always abusive and that critics don’t know what they’re talking about. While it is true that Joker and Harley have always had an unhealthy relationship together, I need only point to one scene that changes the whole affair. See, in the comics and animated series, Quinn was suckered in by Joker’s sob stories and then she broke him out of Arkham Asylum. In this movie, she sneaks in weapons to get him out… but then he straps her to a table and gives her massive electroshock treatment, after which she’s on his arm like one of his tattoos. The implication is that he shocked her into insanity and that’s why she’s so into him. This one action changes the entire lens that we view their relationship through and takes it from being an abusive relationship people can relate to, to straight up Stockholm Syndrome. It is an insult and a disservice to Harley Quinn, stripping her of all agency and changing her from a complex three-dimensional character into a weak waif surrounded by that completely misses the point.

Now let’s tackle the story problems, particularly that there is both too much and not enough. The Joker and mission storylines do not mesh at all, being connected by only the thinnest of threads. On top of that, the characterization is as weak as a soggy biscuit; apart from the people I mentioned before, the others in the spotlight are barely fleshed out. Let me sum them all up for you:

Rick Flagg: I treat you like crap, even though you constantly rescue me.
El Diablo: I’m a man of peace, ese. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Killer Croc: Grrrrrrr!
Captain Boomerang: Look at me! I’m a wild and crazy guy!
Katana: I’m strong and silent, therefore I am a feminist character.**


There’s a lot of “tell, don’t show,” which is not how a visual medium is supposed to work. Characters explain things about people and events, but we rarely get to see it for ourselves and it diminishes the impact. Granted, it worked for the flashy introductions in the beginning, but it makes the actual film feel limp. One character gets thrown into the roster with nothing but, “I hear this guy can climb anything.” I didn’t even know his name until I looked it up after the fact and he was only there to show that Waller was serious about her bomb threat. Actually, after some research, I found that this was the character’s fate in the original comic, so I give it an A for effort and an F for execution.

Action scenes follow in rapid succession, some completely unnecessary, and are sometimes so choppy that it’s hard to tell what’s happening. The constant soundtrack songs that come out nonstop and then just stop dead for a while don’t help at all. They’re all good songs, but after a while, you get tired of montages set to Rock Band’s Greatest Hits. A lot of details are pointless and add nothing to the story, like Captain Boomerang’s fetish for pink unicorns which amounts to nothing except a few failed jokes. Was that a dig at bronies? I can’t tell. Maybe they saw it work in Deadpool and thought they could rip it off. Either way, I’m not amused.

And oh, then cometh the third act, when I lost any goodwill I had towards the movie. MASSIVE SPOILERS HERE.

The villain is the Enchantress, who decides to create a nondescript doomsday machine to take revenge on humanity for imprisoning her and her brother in ancient times. I’m just going to say this now, no one can give Marvel crap about having lackluster antagonists anymore; she is one of the worst supervillains I’ve seen in a movie for a long time. All of her dialogue is deep voiced apocalyptic speeches about how the world is hers and there is no hope. For crying out loud, I made a villain in one of my RPG games as a mockery of this trope because of how played out it is. What makes her even more impossible to take seriously is that while she’s building her weapon, she’s doing this weird hula-belly dance thing that makes her look like she’s one of the dancers in Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video. Some may say that it’s something unique and out of the box that no one thought of before, but so was the turd sandwich and no one who’s had a bite can claim that was a good idea.

The final battle reminded me way too much of last year’s Fantastic Four, which was number four on my worst movies of the year list, if you’ll recall. Her brother Incubus has a ranged attack that can take down helicopters and tanks like they were tissues, but when battling the Squad, he simply just walks up to them and bats them around. Then El Diablo turns into a flaming skeleton with an Aztec headdress and fights him. (I thought he just had powers over fire. Could he always do that?) But yeah, then they kill the Enchantress and the woman she was possessing magically comes back to life. Okay. So f*** anyone who was a fan and wanted to see her take her place as a hero, huh? Oh, and that innocent bystander that was a vessel for her brother? F*** him too, I guess. He isn’t resurrected because he isn’t hot or banging Rick Flag, I guess.


As a piece of the newly budding DC Extended Universe, what was the point of this movie? None of these characters are headliners, they don’t tie into the upcoming Justice League films, and I don’t see what impact their actions had on the universe as a whole. They go on a mission to save a city no one’s heard of outside of comics, none of their exploits will be printed in the papers, and everyone is back to the status quo by the end. Even Harley’s ready to jump back with Joker after he threw her out of an airplane… or did he try to save her? The editing was so bad I couldn’t tell. It’s not as bad as Batman v. Superman, but that’s like giving your abusive ex praise for not being Hitler. Still, the benefit of not having Zach Snyder directing cannot be understated. If you absolutely have to see it, make it a rental because there’s absolutely no reason for you to spend ten bucks on it.

Fun Tidbit: The Squad’s mission eventually leads them to a place called the John Ostrander building. I originally thought this was a reference to Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan (who was actually called Jon Osterman, hence the confusion), since the film paid tribute to it with the iconic smiley logo a scene earlier. Who this actually references is the man who penned all sixty-six issues of the original Suicide Squad comic.

Goto Home Page
Posted under

Social Widgets powered by