Since the very first Suicide Squad trailer came out, I have harbored a terrible secret. Everyone I knew, everyone I respected and loved, spent the subsequent year laughing about how terrible this movie was going to be, how stupid each trailer was. Meanwhile, I laughed along and nodded my head but inside I thought, Was the trailer really that bad? I actually think Suicide Squad looks fun. It has been a hard year for me.
I knew I was going to see this movie from the moment I found out it existed. Even when the merciless shaming from film critics began to roll in, I never wavered. If there is anyone on this earth who might be able to enjoy a neon-lights, explosionfest, train wreck movie without sacrificing their own dignity and self-confidence, it is I.
You see, I have a simple two-point rubric to determine if a movie is good. One: Did the movie bore me or bum me out? Two: Did I find the movie overtly offensive to any marginalized or oppressed social groups? If the answer to BOTH these questions is “no”, then I am sorry to say the movie is good.
I have a simple one-point rubric to determine if a movie is my favorite movie. (I have over fifty favorite movies.) One: Would I watch this movie again? If the answer is “yes”, then the movie is my favorite movie.
One thing did give me pause about seeing Suicide Squad, and that is the reports of Jared Leto being a dirtbag harass-y freakazoid on set of this movie. I never want to support Jared Leto in any way. Jared Leto is a worthless fuckboy who has gotten too much validation in his life because he is reportedly very well-endowed. When we give Academy Awards to undeserving white men because they have big ding-dongs, we create the kind of monster who would send dead animals and used condoms to his costars.
Despite my many attempts to reach Jared Leto and demand that he pay for my Suicide Squad ticket so I could see the movie without contributing to his wealth or success, I never heard back from him or his agent. Believe me, though. I did try.
This very Monday, I moved to a new city. Just a little town in Illinois. You may have heard of it. Chicago? Does that ring a bell? Tomorrow, I am starting a new job in my new city. A new job that is about a ten minute walk from the Chicago Arclight Theater. Today, I went to my new location of employment to scope out the scene and introduce myself to my new boss whom I’ve only spoken to on the phone. “Wow, Ashley,” you might say. “How incredibly proactive and professional of you! Also, why are you telling us this?” And to that I might say, “Honestly, I was only doing it to make myself a little less anxious about my first day. Also, shut up, this is MY Suicide Squad review, and I’ll include any detail I please.”
After realizing this little endeavor only required about ten minutes of my life, I decided to go scope out the Arclight before returning home. (Read: before returning to the couch on which I am currently crashing.) You may recall that the invoice I sent to Jared Leto’s agent was only for twelve dollars. Where I come from, this would be a common price for a movie ticket during the evening or on the weekend. Not so at Chicago’s Arclight!
At the Arclight, you shell out fourteen US dollars to see a movie at 2 pm on a Friday. At the Arclight, a Summer Break Teenager stands before the audience to tell you where the clearly-labeled exits are and remind you which movie you are about to see, just in case you ended up there in a fugue state. At the Arclight, you get assigned seats on your ticket. I might have to send another email to Leto’s agent.
(Also the Arclight only showed 3 previews before my movie which is unacceptable to me. If I didn’t want to see previews to get excited about, I would wait for a torrent leak of the movie to show up online. And only one of the previews was for a movie I cared about. The Arclight will be hearing from me on Yelp.)
Oh, about the actual movie? The reason you bothered to even click on this garbage article? Watching Suicide Squad is much like reading a choose-your-own-adventure book cover to cover, without skipping pages. Random shit keeps happening, and none of it really follows or makes sense. Most of the random shit is entertaining, though, and there is no point on my rubric for “making sense”.
The plot is really dumb, and everything is either under-explained, as in the case of the whole deal with Enchantress, the main villain (Surprise! Joker’s not the main baddie. In fact he is not even around that much, by the overwhelming, undeserved grace of God.) and her giant brother with weird Bulbasaur vine-arms, or over-explained, like the fact that Will Smith is a bad man, but he loves his daughter. Also, the Joker did not need to be in this movie at all, except maybe in flashbacks for Harley’s backstory. His 3 current-day scenes were absolutely shoehorned and pointless.
Cara Delevingne (playing our Big Bad, Enchantress) gets a lot of shit, and I am devoted to her defense. Yes, the weird director of this dumb movie somehow convinced Cara to run around naked in the woods to prepare for this role (that required absolutely zero running in the woods by the way), but I would say that speaks to her earnest professionalism, as silly as her job was. No one could have worn that headdress or delivered those lines or ever spent a second of their life in that horrible, horrible costume with any sort of real gravitas. She did her best and very convincingly managed to fake being attracted to Joel Kinnaman, which is no small feat.
Margot Robbie was a great Harley. I would also say Harley got the least-shitty deal as far as the script goes. Her lines were okay, and she sold the shit out of them. She played Harley with the commitment and nuance of an experienced actress. Because Margot Robbie is 30 years old. Not sixteen or whatever blatant lie her publicist is dumb enough to think I’ll fall for. Anyway, she deserves an Oscar for making out with Jared Leto without puking or crying or puke-crying. In fact, she deserves Jared Leto’s Oscar. Take Away Jared Leto’s Oscar and Give It to Margot Robbie 2016.
I tried to stay objective while watching Jared Leto’s Joker. I asked myself “how would I feel about this character if I didn’t know Leto was a brazen, disgusting gutterslob with at least one undiagnosed personality disorder?” And I think I still would have felt like this Joker was a weird, dumb sex pervert with lots of guns. Not a criminal mastermind or a dark psychological case study or any of the things that make the Joker iconic. There was no depth to his crazy. Much like that one nineteen-year-old “Quirky Girl” we all know, he was just putting on a try-hard performance of shallow weirdness. Your giant dick can’t save you now, Jared. You’re a bad Joker, and also your name is Jared.
I will not include a photo of this garbage man.
To be honest, everyone but Jared gave it their all and were really dynamic and believable. Will Smith was great, even when trying to sell half-assed, awkwardly-spliced reshoot jokes. Viola Davis won an Emmy one time. Etc.
And now, I shall boldly proclaim that Suicide Squad passed my first test. It did not bore me, nor did it offend me. (Leto’s offscreen sociopathy, notwithstanding.) I know I’m going to be persecuted for this, and I am prepared to stand by my truth through the storm. Suicide Squad is a good movie. But I am perfectly okay if Rotten Tomatoes disagrees with me, because I am secure in myself as a fun person with terrible taste.
Suicide Squad does not, however, pass my second test. I don’t imagine I will ever watch it again. There is nothing more for me to gain from this movie. Therefore, Suicide Squad is not my favorite movie.
I would recommend seeing it if you want to kill two hours with some mindless fun. But only if you can get Jared Leto to pay for it.