Suicide Squad is an artistically bankrupt cinematic tire fire, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to walk away with a few important life lessons. So, in the interest of SERIOUS JOURNALISM, here’s what I learned.
Suicide Squad was Directed by David Ayer’s Erect Penis
Chalk it up to a typo in the credits, studio meddling or sheer embarrassment, but the movie going public deserves to know the truth: David Ayer did not direct Suicide Squad. Sure, the man who penned Training Day (and spent the next 15 years making shitty movies by reminding people he wrote Training Day) is behind the camera, but not in the traditional sense. As we bounce between poorly choreographed fight scenes loosely bound together by moments which superficially function as story beats, it becomes clear that David Ayer’s insatiable libido won’t be denied. This isn’t a movie made by a man; it’s a movie made by a man with a Go-Pro strapped to his raging hard-on.
It’s tempting to point out Suicide Squad’s egregious male gaze, but “gaze” doesn’t convey the level of agency-free objectification Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is subjected to. The camera takes every opportunity to sacrifice mise-en-scène in favor of wholesale sexualization, dropping down to waist-level to fixate on Harley’s ass. At one point, the film comes to an abrupt halt so we can watch every character on screen stop and stare as Harley changes her clothes. It’s leering for the sake of leering and goes hand-in-hand with a script that reduces Harley Quinn to a one-liner spouting sex doll whose idea of happiness is playing housewife with the Joker. Suicide Squad is a movie that hates women, full stop, and David Ayer has the impulse control of a 12-year-old boy who just googled boobs for the first time and felt a tingle in his pants.
Being a Crocodile is a Capital Offense
Whenever you hear that a movie is “for the fans” it’s safe to assume that it will attempt brush off criticism and justify terrible writing by insisting that the REAL fans know what the movie is REALLY about. Those "real" fans might know that Killer Croc is a stone-cold killer with a tragic backstory, but Suicide Squad makes literally no effort to attempt to explain to the audience why he’s been locked up in a secret government prison. Living in the sewer and looking scaly and gross should probably net you a trespassing ticket and a lifetime gig in the circus, not a trip to DC Universe Guantanamo. Aside from not being particularly villainous, Croc’s character in Suicide Squad is either a minstrel show take on a third-tier Ninja Turtle villain or the unholy union of a Creole Jar-Jar Binks and a goomba from the live-action Super Mario movie. In Croc’s defense, he does fit in nicely with a cast of characters defined by racial stereotypes. Latino gangbanger with a heart of gold and Asian ninja with a katana are almost as cringe-worthy. But hey, at least all of these characters get their own intro vignettes!
Being Cannon Fodder is a Super Power
Well, almost all of the characters get their own intro vignette. Cue Slipknot, a member of the titular Squad, who shows up late and says hello by punching a woman in the face. FUN. Did I mention that David Ayer hates women? It’s also unclear what exactly Slipknot’s power is. Allegedly, he can climb stuff pretty well. The film is more concerned with killing him five minutes after he’s introduced, so I guess we’ll never really know. In the fan fiction I will assuredly never write, he also commands the power of nine smelly clowns in jumpsuits who share a deep love of shitty bro-metal riffs.
Slipknot isn’t unique in his lack of utility on the team either. Deadshot can shoot all of the guns (well). Captain Boomerang is drunk. El Diablo (the audience surrogate) just doesn’t want to be in the movie. Harley Quinn owns a baseball bat. Killer Croc is a crocodile who ostensibly has the capacity to kill. In a world where heroes like The Flash and Batman exist, why would we send a bunch of D-grade assholes to save the world instead? If a sequel is greenlit, maybe they can send Ted Kaczynski and Adam Lanza to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime.
AfterShock is the Official Font of the DC Cinematic Universe
Suicide Squad’s neon unicorn vomit aesthetic is jarringly abrasive, but the real devil is the details. David Ayer (who looks SUSPICIOUSLY like Anton LeVey) OK’d the use of AfterShock. This is nothing less than an act of font-driven violence. Imagine a world where every bit of text, from the eye-roll-worthy baseball card-style character introductions to the FUCKING SUBTITLES feature a font that is essentially X-TREME PAPYRUS. This shit was embarrassing when the WWE used it in the 90s. In 2016 it’s flat-out unacceptable. Fuck off forever, Warner Bros.
Two Terrible Antagonists are Better Than One
With so many groan-inducing moments and baffling plot holes, it’s hard to not reflect back on Suicide Squad and conclude that the entire movie is constructed to actively hide the fact that Jared Leto’s Joker is a complete abomination. To the film’s credit, it largely succeeds, trimming the Joker’s screen time to a merciful 5-10 minutes of agony. This in turn reinforces the fact that his character’s inclusion is completely superfluous in an already vexing, threadbare plot. I’ve heard Leto’s Joker called “Hot Topic Scarface,” but even that seems mildly interesting compared to what we’re given. If anything, Jared Leto is cosplaying that guy in college who used to sell you cheap weed but wouldn’t shut the fuck up about Die Antwoord. He also seems to be channeling a bit of Gucci Mane in Spring Breakers, which is absolutely fucking shameful. Gucci was recently let out of prison early and I can only assume it was because he’s being sent on a secret government mission to beat the shit out of Jared Leto. Godspeed, Gucci.
With the Joker occupying minimal screen time, most of the villain heavy lifting falls on the shoulders of Enchantress; a magical witch who wants to destroy humanity with drunk girl dance moves in front of an antiquated CGI clip show because fuck it, who cares? The movie can’t even decide if she’s an all-powerful goddess or just a vapid one-dimensional placeholder. The other characters need something to pursue in between spouting forgettable quips, I suppose. Spoiler Alert: Despite being able to tear the motherfucking fabric of space and time, Enchantress and her Godlike brother are killed with a couple of small explosions. This begs the question, why bother sending in the Suicide Squad in the first place? Why not just bomb the shit out of Enchantress? Even better, drop a nuke! Kill everyone! Do one of those ‘universe resets’ comic books love so much. Just please nuke all of them. Please.
Suicide Squad isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s somehow worse. When the only thing you needed to do was make a movie better than the worst superhero film of the last decade and you fail, you redefine the art of bad filmmaking. Don’t let your morbid curiosity get the best of you. If you’re thinking of seeing Suicide Squad, I would recommend drinking a gallon of paint and watching Superman III instead. At least it has Richard Pryor.