Before I get into discussing the actual movie (don’t worry no spoilers), I want to give you some background information so that you understand where I am coming from.
What makes a good story?
There is a ton of information out there for writers on how to craft a good story. A good story has character development. Any main character should be changed through the course of the movie. There should be enough connection between the audience and the character for the audience to care about the character. Then there should be the ARC – a story needs some sort of conflict which is resolved by the end of the story.
You have to have that to make a good story. Having that doesn’t guarantee a good story but without it, your story will never be successful (okay shouldn’t be successful).
Where did the Avengers go wrong?
I started to share a comparison between Suicide Squad and the Avengers first movie. The reaction I got – Why do you have to hate Marvel? I don’t hate Marvel. I like Marvel as much as I like DC. I don’t feel a real kinship to either one since the graphic novels I prefer are of neither universe.
The reality is Avengers was not a good movie. It was entertaining but it was not good. The reason is this – if you saw no other movie in the Marvel universe but that movie, you would have no connection to the characters. In fact, I’m still waiting for them to create some sort of connection to some of the characters. The reason anyone cared about the Avengers is that they had seen Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. You had to watch 4 movies before you could watch Avengers.
Avengers has no character development. I was grateful they did something with Hawkeye’s character in the second Avengers movie because he was a nothing character. Black Widow – there has been no backstory at all and she’s almost there as a prop.
Back to Suicide Squad
Huge ensemble casts are hard to manage. Since this was all about new characters, it was even harder. I have to commend this movie for trying. Most important characters had a backstory that was shared. It would have been nice to have more but then the movie would have been six hours.
I loved that they tried. I had a great kinship with the characters. Wasn’t perfect. I wish they would go back and do origin stories on the squad but I doubt they would because they never do origin stories on the bad guys.
One thing that my husband was worried about was that he had female friends who thought Harley Quinn was oversexualized. Okay, let’s get into this because I got to set the record straight, I can’t slap all overzealous feminists but I can clear this one up. When you talk about sexualizing a character in a manner that is “wrong”, you’re talking about titillation. In the superhero world, often a female character is wearing an outfit solely for the enjoyment of male readers/viewers.
Harley Quinn wore short shorts and high heels but in none of that was it for the audience. She fought and ran and did everything the male characters did without issue. Her breasts were well covered. She flirted and what not but that was all expected from that character. It was real for that character. While she flirted and made comments at no time did she kiss any of the characters. And while her relationship with the Joker is weird, she remained faithful to him the entire time. I thought her character was tastefully done.
I was saddened by the fact that the other female member of the squad was nearly nonexistent. But that is the problem with having such a huge cast of characters. I thought there was fair representation of women in this movie. It completely passed the Bechdel Test.
Where did the Suicide Squad go wrong?
Aside from cramming a ton of new characters into a movie with not enough time for real character development, the bad guy was just about terrible. I liked the concept but the execution was not that great. There was no real reason to fear the villain. It was cheesy and poorly designed. You had to have a villain. A friend mentioned that he thought the Joker was going to be the villain which might have made for a better story but then I see a lot of problems with that.
I will say, I didn’t love the Joker. I don’t think Jared Leto was bad but the overall design of the Joker just lacked. I only hope you understand when I say that the Joker lacked his usual fun level of insanity. While this guy wasn’t exactly sane, he didn’t have that same level of intensity that Jack Nicholson did. The Joker is supposed to that sort of character that makes you laugh for moment but then you realize it’s horrifying and you are left between feeling like you should still smile because he might turn on you and knowing that it’s already too late for you.
Overall, I think people should just relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t spend your time comparing it to the comic book or the cartoon series. For two hours, it’s a dream. An opportunity to live in another world. There’s a lot to enjoy in this movie and I, for one, am glad I saw it in the theater. I have no regrets and I hope you don’t either.