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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Suicide Squad movie review: sh*t squad

Suicide Squad red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Should be grim, bitter, and as horrifyingly alluring as Hannibal Lecter. But it’s nothing but a teen-friendly ad for toys, Ts, and other disposable merch.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Remember that review of Spinal Tap’s album” Shark Sandwich that so exasperated a music journalist that s/he let “Shit sandwich” suffice? I really was tempted to let “Shit squad” be the totality of my review of this pile of cinematic vomit. But that would be too kind to a movie that deserves to be slashed to ribbons, the ribbons burnt, and the ashes swept up into a vat of caustic industrial chemicals (where they will inevitably later spawn the hellish supervillain Fanboy Manbaby when a mildmannered comic-book geek tries to drown himself in his disappointment over how fundamentally terrible this movie is).

Suicide Squad doesn’t even pretend to be a movie in the way that we generally require that movies make a sort of basic sense and give us a reason to care about the fact that they exist in the first place. Suicide Squad is nothing more than a box-ticking exercise in comic-book wankerytweet: here’s something going boom (never mind why it’s exploding); here’s a snappy one-liner (even though it has no context); here’s a villain acting wacky (because he’s just crazy, okay?); here’s a half-naked chick you can fap to. This is a movie that insults anyone who truly loves and appreciates the power of comics, because it presumes you must not be anything other than a dorky adolescent boy who requires nothing but the signifiers of comics and none of the well-drawn characters, exciting stories, and subtle and thoughtful explorations of science fiction themes.

This is the same crap we saw with the Warcraft movie. And this is the crap that is going to kill the blockbuster movie, if they all become nothing more than feature-length trailers… which may be almost literally true in the case of Squad, because what has been released is a version edited with the help of trailer production company Trailer Park. Suicide Squad is little more than an ad for itself… or, I fear, an ad for the longer director’s cut that Warner Bros. will attempt to sell you to in time for Christmas. It is bottom-of-the-barrel junk because it knows it doesn’t need to be anything else, because Hollywood can rely on fanboys to defend it without having even seen it, to see it no matter how many people tell them it’s garbage, and continue to defend it afterward because saving geek face matters above all else.

Writer-director David Ayer (Fury, Sabotage) — along with the entire Squad cast — were trotted out at the screening I attended last night, in the hopes of getting the crowd riled up in a way that would carry over into the movie. But instead of the usual PR patter we get from movie stars and filmmakers — about what an amazing experience making this movie was, how they all became a family in the process, how they hope we love it as much as they do — Ayer went on the defensive. In a crowd with plenty of critics present, he trashed critics (the ones with access to early screenings had already turned in mostly very negative reviews) and then snidely challenged those of us present to “be creative in our trashing.” But if he couldn’t be bothered to be creative while making his movie — and he had something between $175 million and $250 million at his disposal to play with — why the hell should I bother? So I’m just going to assemble my notes into a list.

David Ayer to critics at this advance screening: 'Go fuck yourselves' [paraphrased].

David Ayer to critics at this advance screening: “Go fuck yourselves” [paraphrased].tweet

SOME OF THE REALLY MAJOR THINGS WRONG WITH ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’ (not a comprehensive list):

• The first act, which is nothing but a bunch of introductions to all the characters, like mini origin stories (some of which get repeated later for some dumb reason, as if Ayer was worried we weren’t bored enough). It’s utterly lacking in any sense of drama or urgency. It’s like a list of Dramatis Personae you find at the front of a sprawling Russian novel come to lifeless life.

• Viola Davis (Lila & Eve, Blackhat) as Amanda Waller, the government functionary who decides she’s going to assemble a team of psychopaths to protect humanity in case the next Superman turns out to be not such a nice guy. Davis is amazing as always with what very little she actually has to do, but she deserves way better than this. There is a scene in which she addresses her team of psychos over Facetime on an iPad, and it’s like Davis suddenly realized halfway into production that fuck it, she could literally just call it in, because no one would even care.

• Enchantress, the most awful supervillain ever. I guess she’s actually a supersupervillain, since she’s the worse guy that the bad guys who are supposed to be good guys are fighting. She is Cara Delevingne (Pan, Paper Towns) gyrating in front of a green screen looking like a child dressed up in her mother’s gown. We have no idea who she is or what she wants, beyond, presumably, the usual rule-the-world junk. The CGI she is gyrating in front of is a travesty given the movie’s outrageous budgettweet: it all looks like the decorations for a high school’s Zuul-themed prom.

“Shhh. Don’t tell anyone that the Suicide Squad just needs to cross the streams to defeat me...”

“Shhh. Don’t tell the Suicide Squad that they just need to cross the streams to defeat me…”tweet

• The terrible, and terribly obvious soundtrack, including the one music choice that is a fuck-you to Guardians of the Galaxy in the same way that a toddler stealing another child’s toy in the sandbox is a fuck-you.

• The big plotholes — both of the “If only X did Y, that would have solved their problem in the first place” variety — that turn out not to be plotholes but examples of deeply shitty and fundamentally careless scriptwriting.

• Margot Robbie’s (The Legend of Tarzan, The Big Short) Harley Quinn, who is a walking blowup doll, a 12-year-old boy’s idea of “sexy,”tweet and that includes the gum-snapping, winking, and sashaying of the actor’s performance, which is an unironic, unaware parody of femininity, nothing to do with actual womanhood at all. Her ass and thighs get at least as much screentime as her face, and more than many of the other characters. (No, that is not a good thing.) Most of the women here are dehumanized and then resexualized in ways that the men are not, like assassin Katana (newcomer Karen Fukuhara), whose face is covered but her midriff is bare (and it takes a man to tell us her backstory; she barely even speaks). What does Joel Kinnaman’s (Child 44, Run All Night) ass look like? (He plays Rick Flag, the squad’s military keeper.) As far as Ayer seems to believe, he might as well not even have one.

Suicide Squad, starring Margot Robbie’s Ass and Thighs.

Suicide Squad, starring Margot Robbie’s Ass and Thighs.tweet

• Quinn’s relationship with the Joker (Jared Leto: Dallas Buyers Club, Lonely Hearts). Think Fifty Shades of Green. Not sexy, and not in the least bit even understandable. We get no help from the movie in appreciating how a psychiatrist would fall in love with her psychopath patient, and why she would tolerate unconscionable abuse from him. We just supposed to accept it, as if it’s completely normal for such a thing to happen.

Jared Leto as the Joker, who seems to be channeling Jim Carrey in The Mask.tweet No, really: What the hell does Quinn see in this guy?

• Awful ethnic stereotypes. Australian Boomerang (Jai Courtney: Terminator Genisys, Insurgent) uses boomerangs? Latino Diablo (Jay Hernandez: Max (2015), Takers) is a gangbanger? Are you fucking kidding me? (And no, this is not “okay” if that’s how the characters in the comics are. It just means the comic is awful, too, or whatever extra depth makes it not awful didn’t make the transition to the screen.)

Boomerangs and gangbangers? It’s Australian for “ethnically themed garbage,” mate!

Boomerangs and gangbangers? It’s Australian for “ethnically themed garbage,” mate!tweet

BUT ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY THE MOST AWFUL THING ABOUT ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’:

• Psychopaths. They do not care about anyone except themselves. They do not care about their lovers. They do not care about their children. To the extent that they might appear to care about other people, it is only to the degree that that benefits them. That’s what makes them psychopaths. But Ayer wants these people to be sentimental, which is beyond absurdtweet. As a stupid (and completely ineffective) shorthand for the supposed cohesion that has developed among the Suicide Squad (which hasn’t developed at all), he puts the ridiculous line “I lost one family! I can’t lose another!” in one of their mouths in the midst of a battle just as the speaker leaps to the defense of the others. (Never mind that that character didn’t “lose” a family so much as murder them.) The assassin Deadshot (Will Smith: Concussion, Focus) has an 11-year-old daughter (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon) that he is genuinely devoted to, which he literally could not be, because he is a psychopath. Again, do not even bother to say that the characters are more nuanced in the comics: this movie keeps reminding us that these are “bad guys”; the words “psycho” and “psychopath” are used numerous times to describe them. The idea of Will Smith’s onscreen charisma being used to seduce us into appreciating how superficially charming psychopaths can be is hugely appealing; the possibilities of Deadshot using the sentimentality of normal people to make them believe he is devoted to his daughter are enormous, and ignored. (Hell, the possibilities of Quinn using the Joker to her own ends are enormous. That’s not here. We’re meant to buy that they actually love each other… which is completely contrary to what we keep being told they are.) These characters should all be as horrifyingly alluring as Hannibal Lecter. But they aren’t. This movie should be grim and bitter. But it isn’t. Because it had to be a teen-friendly PG-13 advertisement for toys, T-shirts, and other disposable junk.

EVERYTHING THAT IS RIGHT ABOUT ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’:

Nothing.


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Suicide Squad (2016) | directed by David Ayer
US/Can release: Aug 05 2016
UK/Ire release: Aug 05 2016

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
BBFC: rated 15 (sustained threat, moderate violence)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Bluejay

    At the bottom: “Everything is that right” should be “Everything that is right.”

    I’m scared for Wonder Woman now.

  • Fixed the typo. Thanks.

    Is Zack Snyder involved with Wonder Woman? [checks IMDb] Yup, be worried.

  • Oracle Mun

    Is there anyone who can explain why Zack Snyder is still involved in movies?

  • Bluejay

    It’s that, plus constant studio interference. They mucked around with Suicide Squad because of the critical shellacking of BvS. I’m pretty sure they’ll muck around with WW as a result of the response to Suicide Squad. And on it goes.

    Which is a shame because WW seems to have the potential to be a great movie, from what we’ve seen in trailers and how the principal filmmakers seem to talk about it with genuine love in panel interviews — they know what’s on the line, and seem really invested in getting the story and the character right. I’d love nothing more than for WW to be a kickass feminist movie, helmed by a woman director, starring someone who (as far as I’ve seen) really shines in the role. Let’s hope it survives all the studio and Snyder bullshit.

  • Matt Clayton

    I enjoyed the movie (more specifically, the characters), but editorially, it’s a steaming mess. It’s definitely not helped by David Ayer holding himself back by the PG-13 rating either.

    I also have a big problem with the sexualization of Harley and Enchantress’s crappy villain, same as you MAJ. When I saw the first picture of Harley from this movie, I sighed in exasperation. She is a character where her sexuality is part of her persona, but they take it too far in her first movie debut (short shorts, really?). How is that practical from a fighting standpoint, other than ogling her? Aside from the costuming decision, I thought Margot did a good job, but the script and/or editing wasn’t doing her any favors. Jared Leto, for all the hoopla he put into his Joker, was basically a watered down version of Tony Montana from “Scarface.” (Still can’t touch Heath Ledger’s indelible performance.)

    There are large chunks of the movie I enjoyed, like the camaraderie between the gang. And apart from her disappearing for large chunks around the third act, I thought Viola Davis rocked it as Amanda Waller.

  • Danielm80

    Patty Jenkins has been going out of her way to say how much she loves Suicide Squad.

    http://www.ew.com/article/2016/08/04/wonder-woman-director-patty-jenkins-suicide-squad

    Ominous.

  • Matt Clayton

    I think people are really overstating Snyder’s involvement with Wonder Woman. They’re letting Patty make the movie she wants… hopefully that is still the case.

  • bronxbee

    i was a fan of the Batman animated shows where Harley Quinn and Joker have a bit of a complex relationship and Harley wore a harlequin outfit and mask and was not this horrible, oversexualized travesty of a woman (i got that just from the trailer). my 12 year old niece is a harley quinn fan, but if it were up to me (sadly, it is not) she wouldn’t get near this film. the PG13 rating is a sick merchandising ploy and nothing more. i don’t want to see her dressed like Harleyslut for halloween. but i’ll bet the costume is out there and being sold for little girls already.

  • LA Julian

    In the animated series, where she was introduced to the Batverse (forestalling any ‘but that’s not how she is in the comics!’ whinging from the DC manchildren) she not only has a comfortable and modest costume (the Hot Topic look only came in recently with the Arkham Asylum games, if I recall correctly), Harley also chose to transform and become like the Joker — now, in the current reboot and the DCEU, she is completely victimized and forced to change by him, apparently in the misguided belief that women cannot choose to be bad guys, or else they will cease to be in any way sympathetic. It’s the bro version of ‘chivalry’ — the only way they know how to make a flawed woman likeable is to make her entirely passive.

  • LA Julian

    Apparently she wants something like Suicide Squad, unless she’s fronting like anything to stay on WB/DC’s good side.

  • LaSargenta

    Ok, I was pleased that Adam Beach was getting employment in a Summer Movie, but you didn’t mention him at all so I assume Slipknot is a footnote?

    Not that I was going to watch this.

  • LA Julian

    Redshirt. Almost immediately, too, from the other reviews I’ve read.

  • LA Julian

    The Ayn Rand Fanclub in Hollywood is large and powerful and has a strong base at WB. It doesn’t make internally consistent sense, but they all look out for each other because nobody else will.

    (only sort of joking…)

  • LaSargenta
  • Nathan

    Is it as incompetent a superhero film as Lucy was an action thriller?

  • Matt Clayton

    I’m a huge fan of the Batman Animated Series too and was excited when I heard Margot Robbie was cast in the role. (She’s a dead ringer for the animated cartoon, but her talent sold me on her casting.) Despite the persistent male gaze she’s presented in, I thought Margot really captured the essence of Harley’s conflict and craziness. But… there is one fleeting shot in “Squad” where Margot is wearing the classic harlequin outfit, makeup and mask. I wish she’d worn that during the whole film.

    MAJ, “Squad” doesn’t really capture what Harley is — if you have the time, check out Batman episodes like ‘Mad Love’, ‘Harley’s Holiday’ or ‘Harlequinade.’

  • Nina

    Why on earth would WB/DC start with a giant villain team-up film like this when most people outside of hardcore comic book fans don’t even know who most of these characters are?

    Why would they not start by having some of them play supporting roles in films showcasing the good guys so that we can get to know them? Or start with a smaller group like “Guardians of the Galaxy” did and dedicate time to each character? Why are we supposed to care about Killer Croc or Captain Boomerang here?

  • LA Julian

    Yeah, there is at least as much “fun” for fans of the comics or Batman cartoon as BvS:WtF, at least fans who actually care about the characters, want to see the actors given decent parts, or simply appreciate decent storytelling…

  • Admit it: you only don’t like this movie because you’re an SJW. ;)

    Oh also, critics have a bias against DC movies for some reason. Why would this be the case? Who knows. But that’s the only explanation for this movie getting bad reviews. It can’t be because it’s bad. Not having seen it myself, I know with 105% certainty that the critics who have seen it are wrong.

    In conclusion, #notmyghostbusters make america great again 9/11 was an inside job.

  • LA Julian

    Why not start by building up the characters individually, the way Marvel did? Because that would take a lot of money and even more importantly, careful setup work — work that can’t be accomplished by “pre-vis’ storyboards built in CGI — and WB is all about trying to do things quick and dirty (yet ironically ultimately more expensively), looking for that unearned payoff. They’re convinced for some reason that they can re-strike Harry Potter Teenage Franchise Gold without doing all the surveying, digging and shoring up the mineshafts, etc etc etc.

    Thus the attempt to clone not just Avengers without doing the buildup, but also GoG without even doing more than ‘set scenes to related pop music’ — but for most studio execs, and particularly WB (and Sony, and Fox) right now, movies are not objects/products in themselves to to be created with love and painstaking care, they’re vehicles for selling merchandise, which is even more lucrative than tickets and videos if you do it properly.

    And because they’re arrogant, and despise audiences as mere great unwashed poor people, they keep throwing ungodly amounts of money at these things (see also Pan) that everyone else is going WTF, this looks horrible!? And they refuse to accept that ‘bait-and-switch’ played with trailers is a losing proposition, because people do catch on and stop going to your films. I’m wondering how bad the drop off will be.

  • LA Julian

    Excellent sarcasm, would troll again

  • David_Conner

    Adapting Suicide Squad for a mass audience is kind of an iffy proposition in the first place. The whole point of the 1987 comic was basically to tell stories with a bunch of C or D-list DC characters nobody cared much about, and who could therefore be killed off without much fuss, since part of the book’s appeal was that (in defiance of the usual comic book storytelling conventions) anything could happen, anybody could die.

    The first Squad was obscure even to most avid comics readers at the time, with the “biggest name” being longtime Flash villain Captain Boomerang, who at that point was known mostly in a “Rock n roll is here to stay – and no band has done more staying than Spinal Tap!” sort of way. (He actually became a great and memorable character *because* of the Suicide Squad book, though.)

    Deadshot, I think had literally only appeared twice before – once in the ’40s, and once more in the ’70s, albeit in a great story that was part of a short-but-legendary run of Batman stories by Englehart and Rogers.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, in a modern context, *Suicide Squad* should be a low-budget adjunct to the DCAU that you give to some young-and-hungry director to play with, or maybe the equivalent of a Marvel Netflix series. But budgeting it at $175M? That’s nuts.

  • David_Conner

    Yeah, Harley was a great character in the animated series… but one that I don’t think actually works outside that limited context. (In the comics in recent years, DC has finally gotten her to *sell* well, at least, by kinda-sorta reshaping her into DC’s version of Deadpool.)

    The basic gag with Harley is that she’s the ultimate example of a gal who falls helplessly for a guy who’s totally wrong for her. And because that guy’s the Joker, he’s about the wrongiest Mr. Wrong who’s ever wronged. She’s basically a sympathetic character who you hope will finally wise up and ditch the Joker (and she does, on occasion).

    You can successfully play this for laughs in the animated series context, where Joker is only *kinda* murder-y, as opposed to the guy who routinely mass-murders people for the sake of a gag in the mainstream comics. When the murder is more talk than action, you can keep Harley sympathetic, which is tougher to pull off when she’s (at least) a regular accomplice to mass murder.

  • LA Julian

    Harley really belongs with Romero’s Joker from the old live-action series: he was the sort of madcap evil yet charming & courteous villain who treated his henchmen and henchladies with respect — and loved manic blondes who could match him in fiendish glee — so she would fit perfectly in that world.

  • Stacy Livitsanis

    Even though I have a free ticket to see Suicide Squad, I won’t be using it (and I’m having a time finding someone who wants it). In fact, I’d rather have smallpox than see this movie. I’m not saying it IS bad without having see it, but there’s only so many times I’m putting my hand in the fire to see if it’s going to burn. Think I’ll go and see Ghostbusters again.

    I did just re-watch Man of Steel, and it’s incredible how different (i.e. good) a movie it is compared to all that’s followed from WB/DC. Among other things (see Maryann’s review), it was refreshing that most of it is set during the day, none of the women are sexualised (which makes them sexier in my opinion – Diane Lane and Antje Traue are stunning), characters have motivation and development, and the effects really look incredible.

  • David_Conner

    Funnily enough, Batman ’66 actually has a sort of Harley Quinn prototype character:

    http://bullyscomics.blogspot.com/2011/02/harley-67.html

    She’s in one of my favorite stories in the series, the one where Joker becomes a celebrated artist.

  • amanohyo

    No love for ‘Harley and Ivy?’ I remember being super disappointed as a kid that they didn’t stay together as an evil duo or at the very least drive off of a cliff into a large canyon.

  • althea

    Dadgum, you’re absolutely right! I never would have remembered that.

  • althea

    Congratulations to everybody for contributing so many reasonable and non-jerky comments! It’s refreshing to be able to get through them without apoplectic tirades from the fanboy brigade, Only one from a person who saw the movie and liked it a bit, and who was able to express himself like an adult. (Tip of the hat to Matt Clayton, I’m glad you chimed in.) Thank you all.

  • LA Julian

    That’s fascinating — some of Joker’s other ‘molls’ also have Harley traits, so it makes sense that she always felt like an old show character on TAS.

  • Matt Clayton

    I appreciate that. There are far too many fanboys out there who see red whenever a critic doesn’t like a movie, i.e. “Deadpool”, and take their rage out in the comments/e-mail.

    I agree there are serious problems in “Squad” — most that MaryAnn lays out clearly. I disagree with her mainly on the “psychopaths can’t be sentimental” — Harley for one manages to toe the line between psychopath and conflict. The script doesn’t lay that out well, but Margot’s performance helped (which gives me hope for that Harley spinoff she’s producing). Also, Diablo’s arc was laid out — his withdrawal and remorse over killing his family made him reluctant to join Task Force X. How is that psychopathic? He comes off as a person who made bad choices and atoning for them.

  • SaltHarvest

    The movie would have to be something other than a kind of mild loving terribleness in order for obsessed fanboys to think it’s not a dubious hill to die on. The script weighed everyone down… even Robbie.

  • Nathan

    Admit it brah, youze just a fuckin DC fanboi! Marvel is the winnar bro, DC is dead. I haven’t see suicide Squad but I bet it’s a steaming pile. It’s got 33% on RT for gods sake!

    #whitelivesdontmatter You aren’t bandwagoning until you’ve hijacked it and sent it off a cliff.

  • Nathan

    If you have a ticket already it’s worth seeing for a laugh. There are a few cool moments, just don’t expect them to make sense or feel justified.

  • Nathan

    I liked it, of course I had advance warning from critics so I was able to enjoy the train-wreck for the sheer spectacle of the event. I’d imagine it’d be a hell of a time if you were really drunk and not too familiar with the source material. Reminded me of the Ghostrider and Punisher films from a few years back.

  • Nina

    I’d have loved to have seen a film set at Arkham Asylum in which a large part of the plot is dedicated to Harley and how she became obsessed with the Joker. Harley’s so hard to adapt as a film character, because so much of who she is is due to her abusive relationship with the Joker. She risks becoming a very problematic character in a film with a limited running time unless you take her whole story into account. I’d have preferred to see a film that thoroughly examines how this intelligent woman went insane, rather than introduce her as this goofy Hot Topic sex object and give us tiny scraps of her pre-Joker days via some quick flashbacks. A film focusing on her mental deterioration could have actually gotten audiences invested in her and made them sympathetic towards her.

  • Matt Clayton

    I totally forgot about that episode! That’s another good one.

  • Matt Clayton

    Or Jack Nicholson’s Joker too. Nicholson wasn’t that scary either.

  • Matt Clayton

    It’s entirely possible she likes the movie AND wants to stay on the studio’s good graces.

  • IntrepidNormal

    My half-Mexican film major best friend after watching this movie: “Finally a Latino character that doesn’t suck!”

    I’m not saying his opinion is worth more than yours, just that I must give it equal consideration. Just because featuring a Latino actor as a gang banger is sadly overdone, doesn’t mean it’s inherantly racist to do so, at least in my opinion. They are all criminals in the film. And coming away from it I found his character to be the most soulful and endearing of them all.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I didn’t have a problem with the shorts, She’s a gymnast, look at the run of the mill gymnast costume. I had more of an issue with the shoes, but I could see how they’d be sort of a BDSM’y type thing for her.

  • LA Julian

    I agree! This would take some creativity of thought, however, something in critically short supply in Hollywood given Simon Pegg’s excuse for not including Carol Marcus in NuTrek 3. (Hey, if they fridged redshirted her, everyone would get upset! I wish I was kidding, he literally couldn’t think of anything for her to do but die.)

    ETA: what you’re thinking of, would indeed be like Silence of the Lambs, if Lecter was more zany, less serious, and Clarice went to the Dark Wacky Side. Again, careful, clever writing would be needed, along with good actors and GREAT direction!

    Also, the long form of TAS allowed for Harley to have some breathing room, where we see her interacting with Bats (in a non-face-punching, non-sexualized-kiss-of-life way!) and with Poison Ivy, modeling better roles, as well as her own boundary issues and inappropriately-stalkerish behaviour towards “her Mr. J” — all of which give her personality and depth beyond “crazy sexy victim” which again is just a bridge too far, for DC’s boyman brigade.

  • Nina

    TAS also allowed much of Joker’s abuse of Harley to be played off as “slapstick”, simply because it was a cartoon. Adapting their relationship for a more realistic big screen story would require a lot of careful thought and writing, which is also likely not something WB/DC is willing to invest in.

  • Funny how the only woman among the lot of them just happens to simply *have* to wear something incredibly skimpy. Funny how that always seems to happen.

  • Yup.

  • Yes. Worse.

  • Because they’re trying to catch up with Marvel, and they think they can cheat doing it.

  • they’re arrogant, and despise audiences as mere great unwashed poor people

    And, unfortunately, audiences are rewarding them for it. Audiences are telling the studios that they do not care about well-told stories. So we’ll keep getting badly told ones.

  • They what makes them “cool”?

  • It’s racist when gangbangers make up the vast majority of Latino characters onscreen. If Latino characters got to embrace the full spectrum of humanity onscreen, it wouldn’t matter if some of them were criminals.

    That does not mean that your friend should not embrace Diablo. Anyone who is not a straight white man has had to overlook all sorts of problems onscreen in order to enjoy movies over the last 40 years.

  • Danielm80

    I find this genuinely fascinating:

    Currently, per ComScore’s PostTrak, Suicide Squad has a 73% total positive score, which is the same that BvS slotted. As we mentioned earlier, the David Ayer movie is bringing in more females than BvS, 42% to 31%. Also per PostTrak, the combination of African American and Hispanic moviegoers made up a huge 41% of the audience with both audiences giving the film a whopping 81% positive score. The entire Suicide Squad cast was a major reason (at 34%) that people went to see the film, and as proof that Will Smith is still a massive summertime draw, 23% went because of him and 21% were compelled by the appearance of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Without question, even though Suicide Squad is an ensemble movie, it will also rank as Smith’s best domestic weekend opening of his career, outflanking 2007’s I Am Legend ($77M). Robbie’s previous weekend high at the B.O. was The Legend of Tarzan at $38.5M. Thirty-two percent also told PostTrak that they came out for Suicide Squad because it’s part of a franchise they love. And if you’re wondering about how those awful reviews factored into moviegoers’ decision to watch Suicide Squad, well, they’re having very little impact: only 4% said they were influenced by reviews to watch this latest DC feature adaptation.

    http://deadline.com/2016/08/suicide-squad-weekend-box-office-opening-will-smith-margot-robbie-1201799046/

    I’m not sure what to make of it, but it may confirm that people who aren’t white men are really desperate to see anyone onscreen who looks like them. As a white man, I can’t say for sure.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I ended up having the same problem with “Suicide Squad” as I had with “Ghostbusters”: somebody edited the movie to death. Bothe movies had good casts saying strange things, and both movies looked pretty but were ultimately inconsequential. Fortunately, my expectations on “SS” were low, much lower than “GB”.

    Comparisons to “Guardians of the Galaxy” are pretty apt, insofar as “not sure why anyone would think to make an ensemble movie about C- and D-list characters”. (I disagree that WB/DC went there too soon. When exactly is the “right” time to do this kind of side story movie?) Also insofar as both movies are kind of dumb and pointless, filled with characters I either care nothing about, or actively despise, who nonetheless get to save the day. And both moves are going to end up inexplicably successful: as of this comment, SS looks to sell more than $200M worth of tickets by its first Monday.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Not saying the wardrobe female action characters must often wear in films isn’t a huge problem (it was my main beef with the animated Suicide Squad film, which I otherwise liked), just out of the all the ones in this film at least from a character standpoint her look made sense to me, Katana’s midriff actually made less although she was otherwise covered, Waller’s outfit wasn’t a problem at all. And the movie didn’t solely cater to the male gaze, I know a lot of women who appreciated the hell out of all that sweaty, shirtless boxing Will Smith was doing. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not telling you to leave that innocent scamp Ayer alone, just saying why Harley’s outfit in particular didn’t irk me in that way.

  • althea

    MaryAnn, these figures they publish as “positive” or “negative”, are we meant to think that “positive” is the same as “loved it”, and “negative is “hated it”? By me, I can figure that a shrug and “It was okay, I guess” has to be counted as “positive”. What does this mean in terms of how they declare a movie a hit or not? And doesn’t it mean that studios must figure they have to do another one like that if it’s counted as majority positive?

  • IntrepidNormal

    I thought they made sense, I don’t see how they didn’t.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Well, he found Michael Pena’s character in Ant Man considerably more offensive, so make of that what you will.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I really don’t think that ethnic audiences are so desperate for representation that they’re less equipped to analyze films on their own merits. I think my friend really did just enjoy the movie and the character.

  • Danielm80

    If you think anything about that outfit is practical, you must have had a really interesting gymnastics class.

  • Harold Hill

    Agree that this kinda crap is going to hasten the destruction of the entire genre. It’s already happening, I feel.

  • Nathan

    You should be ashamed of such criticism, clearly she breaths through her skin. ;)

  • Nathan

    It’s like they’ve forgotten what made Nolan’s movies successful.

  • Nathan

    The 14 year old you who made you see any of Bay’s films. This is a small c cool.

  • Nathan

    What age group are we talking here though? If we’re talking 12-16 then I’d say ethnic representation would mean a fair bit.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Nevermind, I don’t think I can bring myself to care nearly enough about this to have this conversation. Literally all I said was that Harley is a gymnast and gymnasts aren’t known for wearing pants, so on that front, and considering the hypersexuality specific to the character, it didn’t bother me. Be as outraged as you want about it, honestly I won’t hold it against you.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Early 30s, and I still think you’re missing the point of what I’m trying to say.

  • If there’s anything good that can come from this movie, perhaps it will be Hollywood *finally* learning the lesson that audiences are desperate for diverse casts. Although they should have already learned that from the *Fast & Furious* movies.

  • the movie didn’t solely cater to the male gaze,

    Yes, it does. It does not gaze lasciviously upon the men like it does upon most of the women (only Davis escapes this). Just because some women in the audience find some of the men onscreen attractive does not mean their gaze is being catered to. It absolutely is not.

  • considering the hypersexuality specific to the character,

    Oh I *love* this. She’s *supposed* to be hypersexualized, so it’s all okay then.

    Why are men onscreen never intentionally hypersexualized like this, do you think?

  • Who is the “they” you are referring to? And what reviews are you asking about, critics’ or audiences’? Sorry, but I don’t get what you’re asking.

  • There’s nothing to make of that. It’s not a contest to find more offensive characters. The problem is the lack of Latino characters onscreen.

  • I really don’t think that ethnic audiences are so desperate for representation that they’re less equipped to analyze films on their own merits.

    Literally no one is saying that.

  • Danielm80

    I’m Jewish and a fan of The Nanny, so I think it’s fairly silly to talk about what members of a group should or shouldn’t be offended by. Every person is different. The Civil War movie made me genuinely angry, because Captain America was sitting in a Volkswagen, a car that was designed with the direct participation of Nazis back in WWII. I may be the only person in the world who was upset about this.

  • Hatemonger69

    Are you fucking retarded? There was nothing wrong with the way harley was protrayed sexually in the film. Joker was shown barechested a shitton in it aswell. And complaing about “a male” explaining katannas backstory, seriously? Your looking too much into this, theres no msygony in here whats so ever. Though, id expecet this level of retardation from the person who hated angry birds for telling people its fine to feel a NORMAL FUCKING HUMAN EMOTION!!!! because there too much of a pussy to handle anger. Stop reviewing movies and jump off a clif you ignorant fuck!

  • Danielm80

    And we’ve reached the point where I have to apply Poe’s Law to every comment on the Internet.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Okay, that felt like the implication. Glad that’s not the case.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I felt like Leto’s joker was very hypersexualized in this.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Not saying it’s a contest, just saying he’s not willing to put up with or ignore racism because there’s a Latino onscreen, he simply did not find the character racist.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I didn’t think there was any reason for Leto to be half naked in a good chunk of his scenes either. He just was. Maybe I’m just too dumb to see the difference.

  • Danielm80

    Think about the way the camera lingers on Megan Fox’s body in the first Transformers movie. Men’s bodies are rarely depicted that way in movies, outside of the Magic Mike films.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Yeah, but we’re talking about this movie. I hate Bay and the way he shot Fox in Transformers. I didn’t think the way Margot was shot in SS was totally comparable because she pretty much always knew when she was being watched, whereas the way Fox was shot was weirdly voyeuristic.

  • Ryan Whitaker

    What tripe. The “bro” versio. Of chivalry? Really? So, my understanding after reading all this drivel is that the very in-depth analysis of Harley Quinn is that she is subjugated by all the horrible, evil men who cannot deign to let a beautiful, strong, independent woman have her own personhood? That she is a representation of the male psyche to dominate and humiliate precious females. There, of course, isn’t any possibility the Harley Quinn character has always been highly sexualized and uses it, consistently, to her advantage in humiliating and murdering countless innocent men. What about all the poor, innocent men that the evil HQ kills in horrific fashion throughout her DC empire? I suppose that’s ok because obviously such men must’ve dared “oogled” her in some parking lot. They probably (to use a term psycho feminists love) “mansplained” their awful, evil misogynistic ways.

    HQ is very attractive and beautiful and yes, men do love to look at her. She repeatedly uses this to her advantage. To use a version of her from a child’s program in the 90s as a way to suggest her appearance now is based on subjugation by terrible men is phony, false, ridiculous, untrue and takes away responsibility from her character for being the way it is. This reviewer tells us the portrayal of El Diablo as the gangbanger he is is just so socially unjust even though that’s a fair representation of the source material and many Latinos are in gangs. Tens of thousands actually. So we should all pretend that anything that doesn’t fit the libtard version of reality is perpetrated by evil white men. That’s funny considering Director David Ayers is largely one of the few directors who actually casts real, authentic gang members in his roles and gives them a chance that pathetic loser women in a similar position wouldn’t do

  • Owen1120

    Nice username.

  • Nina

    Harley and Ivy’s relationship is explored more in depth in some of the more recent comics. :)

  • Jim Mann

    I am bemused by those whose egos are so fragile and who are so tied to a movie that they become abusive and almost incoherent (and maybe I don’t need the “almost”) when someone disagrees with them. Perhaps they should simply stop reading reviews.

  • I thought we were having a conversation. I didn’t think you were trying to stir anything up.

    But if you think the Joker was “hypersexualized”in this film, we have no basis for conversation.

  • Leto is barely in the film, for one.

    I’m sure you’re not dumb. But I’m also certain that you are so used to seeing women onscreen gazed at in an oversexualized manner than it doesn’t even register anymore. Leto’s chest does not get more screentime than his face. There is no equivalent with Leto to the completely gratuitous moment in which everyone pauses to watch Robbie pull her tight shirt down over her bra.

    Multiple men onscreen here ogle Robbie (and the camera gives us their perspective as they do so), and there is constant commentary about how hot she is. There is nothing of the like regarding any man onscreen.

  • Harley hanging out shirtless in her cell the way Deadshot and Diablo were

    You cannot seriously be attempting to create an equivalency between the naked female chest and the naked male chest. Can you?

  • Nina

    It’s not that simple, Intrepid. Having a male character be shirtless throughout much of a film in which a female character wears skimpy clothing doesn’t mean that he’s being objectified in the same way she is. You’ve gotta take into consideration how the male and female bodies are treated as social objects. BIG disparity.

  • I think I deleted the commenter you are referring to…

  • CB

    Or how about this: make the focal point a new incarnation of a character that is already well-known and well-loved. As in, The Joker. Then introduce a whole new audience to the awesome that is Harley Quinn. Make it mostly about them and their relationship, and fill in with the extra characters who can be less well defined as they aren’t the focus.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I know this, I know there’s a disparity. I’m not saying that there isn’t. But yes, I did appreciate the fact that there was something there for both men and women, when usually it’s completely one sided, maybe that doesn’t make it okay, but it does make it less egregious to me than most movies that pull this sort of thing. But then again, most of my friends are sexy cosplay girls who adore this version of Harley, so perhaps there’s just a bias there that I can’t see past.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I really wish I could, the fact that I can’t is problematic in and of itself, since I don’t see breasts as being obscene or wrong to show. But I get that society does not agree with me there.

  • IntrepidNormal

    This is fair. I did like the movie and wish it were less one sided in this area, I just didn’t find it to be completely one sided.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Perhaps we don’t, at least not about this film.

  • LA Julian

    Branagh’s Thor and CA:TFA were somewhat notorious for having done so, making a number of fanboys quite uncomfortable!

  • LA Julian

    Did you see the articles about how WB actually had the trailer company re-edit the movie to make it more like the trailers? It’s absolutely surreal that they thought this was ever going to result in something besides a hot mess.

  • Danielm80

    Really? The one that bugged me was Thor: The Dark World, which stuck in a gratuitous topless scene for Chris Hemsworth, but that’s one of the few examples I can think of since Road House.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    FWIW, the trailers were pretty effective. But the final product of both this and Ghostbusters seems like what you get when you edit for pacing but not for continuity.

    Also FWIW, I kinda liked it (in the same way I kinda liked Ghostbusters), whereas your comments give the impression that your deeply, personally offended by it. :)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Whoa, I just noticed you gave it zero stars. I know you haven’t been starring reviews long, and your don’t list them by stars anywhere on the site, but how many movies have you given zero stars to?

  • amanohyo

    First of all, I have to say I really admire the way you’ve stayed calm and receptive throughout this discussion. I just wanted to chime in with my two cents and an example of the “female gaze” in a movie to more clearly illustrate how extreme the objectification of female characters is. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of any film examples (some of the women here probably can). However, I did remember two somewhat dated music videos that come close (although I suppose one could argue that they are catering to the “gay male gaze” rather than the “female gaze”). Feel free to mute the sound.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKNcuTWzTVw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWNaR-rxAic

    There is typically a jarring, deliberate attempt to force the viewer to stop identifying with a particular character when they are sexually objectified. Simply being shirtless is not enough – The filmmakers’ primary motivation for the framing of the shot and the action/posing of the character have to be because they believe that the average woman would find it sexy.

    Now, a viewer might find a certain male character sexy as you do, but rarely is it because the male character is repeatedly shot in a way that highlights specific parts of their body that women find sexually attractive, ignoring their agency and pausing the flow of the narrative. If the introductory shot (and subsequent shots) of the Joker panned slowly up his body and lingered on his crotch and chest in the way some of the shots in the music video examples do, then you would have a stronger case.

    That said, I’m glad that you and your friend enjoyed the movie. I remember loving the first Rush Hour primarily because it was so refreshing to see an African American and asian at the center of a story for once, even though they were written in a way that reinforced racial stereotypes. I’m not suggesting that’s the only reason you liked this movie, but I do understand your friend’s feeling of joy upon seeing that one of the main characters represented some of his own identity and culture in a more positive and respectful way than is typical for a big budget action film.

  • Owen1120

    I think Warcraft and Grimsby got zero stars, and I can’t remember any from last year.

  • Danielm80

    According to the official ranking

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2016/08/2016s-films-ranked.html

    …ten films got zero stars so far this year, including Dirty Grandpa and Gods of Egypt, along with the films Owen mentioned.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, she is listing them by stars. My bad.

    If it’s any consolation, of this year’s zero stars movies, Suicide Squad is the only to make more than $50M domestically.

  • Danielm80

    That is a consolation.

    There are studies that show that good reviews correlate with good box office, but sometimes we get Twilight…or Suicide Squad.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Of the top ten movies of 2016 (so far), the average RT score is 72.2%. The median is 84%. And only three fall below their Fresh/Rotten threshold. (And frankly I think all of those are at least 30 points lower than they deserve, while at least two are 20 points too high, but that’s kind of an artifact of RT’s binary system, and YMMV of course.)

  • You also have to take into consideration how the different genders are treated onscreen in any given film.

  • I did appreciate the fact that there was something there for both men and women, when usually it’s completely one sided,

    No. This movie is one-sided too. The camera simply does not gaze upon the Joker (or any of the other male characters) in any way like it gazes upon Quinn. It just does not.

    There is ALWAYS something for straight women (and gay men) to ogle onscreen because movies are absolutely dominated by male characters. But the ogling is usually happening without any help from the POV of the film. The camera very very very rarely makes love to a male character the way it very very very frequently does to female characters. (One recent counterexample: the *very* female-gazey way Thor is shot in the first Thor movie, even though it was directed by a straight man. And even that was not consistent throughout the film.)

    I also thought she looked cute in her costume,

    Of course you did. She is fucking designed to appeal to straight men. It’s not like it’s some sort of weird accidental coincidence that you find her attractive. Everything about the way she is portrayed is geared toward that! Every-fucking-thing.

  • Damian Barajas

    Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’m Mexican. Not Mexican American but Mexican in Mexico.

    **********************MINOR SPOILER ALERT*****************
    “El diablo” is a pretty problematic character for me, least of which is he’s a gangbanger. His tattoos are reminiscent of south american gangs, his final transformation is reminiscent of Aztec emperor Cuauhtemoc.
    The mishmash of disparate cultural signifiers is still forgivable if you just shrug it off as yet one more example of Latinland as a trope.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LatinLand

    The worst part, for me, is that its implied he never really comes to terms with what he’s done. He killed his wife and kids because she was leaving him, he was driven to uncontrollable rage when she left, not because she didn’t approve of him being a criminal, but because she wanted to leave.
    His character never grows beyond this, yes, he regrets what he did but at no point does he stop being a hothead who would murder his family again the moment his idealized family life failed to live up to his expectations.
    How do I know this? Because when the witch offers to give him what he most desires, all he can picture is himself watching the TV with his kids asleep and his wife, dressed up and ready to dote on him. He doesn’t see himself as a loving father or a devoted husband, he sees his family back, except this time, they love him.
    This guy is a monster. If the movie was honest about this then he could have been an interesting monster.

    **********************END SPOILER*********************************

  • There’s a few. Check out the bottom of the 2015 ranking.

  • Good reviews *do* correlate with box office. Generally, fans and critics (who are also fans, of course) agree on a film’s quality.

  • Danielm80

    I keep reminding myself of that when a movie like Suicide Squad is setting box office records.

  • Bluejay

    Box office records, yes, but don’t forget The Drop.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/suicide-squad-box-office-analysis-saturday-drop-917872?facebook_20160807

    http://www.vulture.com/2016/08/suicide-squads-record-opening-isnt-good-enough.html

    Any well-marketed movie can open big. But poor word-of-mouth will still destroy a crap film.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I was never under any impression that every Latino viewer of this movie loved this character. I know many fellow black people that were offended by Django Unchained, while I was not. No ethnic group is a hive mind.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Every time I think I’m out, they keep luring me back in…

  • Damian Barajas

    “As for the cultural markers, I liked that his abilities were tied in with his culture. ”

    They weren’t, that was my point, they were from wildly different cultures. Its like having a Japanese character with a Korean name turn into a Chinese dragon.

    “I don’t completely agree with your assessment of the character”
    That’s OK, that’s just my take. :) But that’s the take I got from all the characters, it was never clear to me if they really felt what they said they felt.

    **************Spoilers******************

    Deadshot, the devoted father, claims at one point he can’t feel love.

    **************End Spoilers*************************************

  • IntrepidNormal

    I don’t think it’s that level of off to have a Mexican character with an Aztec theme. The Aztecs hailed from a much earlier era in Mexico. I’d sooner liken it to a modern day kid with an English background being knight-themed.

  • Pinkk

    I’m a bit surprised at this review. Woman lead. Multi-cultural cast. You’ve given good reviews to poor movies for having such things before.

    While I found the movie enjoyable enough, not great, but not “OMG, did I just sit through this?” I do agree with your assessment on lots of it.

    I feel one of the biggest mistakes was the lack of a montage sequence. I feel this movie needed such a sequence to show them becoming what they said they were in what amounted to less than 24 hours time. A family. :p What? Seriously? “We’re family!” in less than 24 hours? In that amount of time, they’re at most, begrudgingly working together teammates who may not totally hate each other, might be bad guys, but don’t want to see the world to come to an end either.

    You call Diablo a stereotype and a terrible one, but every Latino I know and some I don’t and I just talked to about the movie (some at the movie) loved Diablo. He actually surprised me in the film, while totally rushed on it all, I thought he’d be a lot more one note than anything. Not to be forgotten, it’s really him (the non white guy) who saved them all (multiple times).

    Harley Quinn being sexualized. Well, first we knew that outfit from long ways out, just because of the trailers. How anyone can go to it and not see that coming, I have no idea. However, agreed, not my favorite take on her, outfit wise (on the bright side they did easter egg her in her original outfit). I don’t see anything wrong with a woman wearing such an outfit if she wants, but being I was a fan of Harley’s since Batman: The Animated series, I’ve always sighed that they seem to just give her some sexy (or crappy but some might think it’s sexy) outfit. Couldn’t they at least keep the harlequin theme going with these changes? Because Harley Quinn “Daddy’s Lil Monster” or Harley Quinn “Bad Nurse” never felt like harlequin themed to me.

    That said, they did make her a bad ass who held her own. The real question is, will they be able to do her justice in her own movie. Keep the bit of crazy, while showing, oh hey, she’s also quite smart (you know, having the PhD and all).

    Katana’s belly shirt. Why is it sexual? Because she’s in shape? :p Non issue really as it never really felt noticable. They didn’t focus on it at all. Would have liked to have seen more with her, but her not talking much seems more in line with the character than a “Must have man speak for her” Or does a woman have to be talkative all the time to be awesomely empowered?

    Them being all psychopaths. I’d say it’s less that they’re all psychopaths and just a matter of that word being thrown around willy nilly. :p Amanda Waller, a strong, powerful woman with an agenda all her own. I don’t think she’s going to go around to the higher ups giving them all their complete psychological work up, when all they need to hear is “Bad people. Psychopaths.”

    Joker and Harley to many dumb tattoos. Harley falling for Joker. Part of the background. I’m hoping in the Harley Quinn movie, it shows her breaking away from him (like she did in the comics) and go wacky do gooder (though at this point, it may just come off as imitating Deadpool). Last I read (it could have changed) she was #2 comic book seller behind Batman. So, it’s comic book readers making this a strong female character the company tries to promote instead of a throw away character and focusing on more male characters.

    Australian Boomerang user. You mean, what he’s been since his inception? I’m not quite sure being Australian and using boomerang qualifies as stereotypical. Where did boomerang’s come from? Australia! Outside of that bit of his background (from Australia) and his use of boomerang’s, I didn’t feel he came off as any stereotype of an Australian. He came off more as the low brow, crude member of the team.

    The machine and Enchantress’s effects I’m agreed on. Dropped the ball on that one. However, here we have a woman in the seat of “powerful villain to be stopped” It wasn’t a man with the power. It was a woman. Her brother helped save her from the other powerful woman (Amanda) but after that he served her.

    So we have a film where the two white men are either needing everyone’s help to save his girlfriend or what amounted to a brawler idiot. A loving black father who’s better than a squad of military’s best. A latino that kicks ass and saves the day. Every woman displayed on screen is shown as a power house (even Harley with her Joker obsession and it was noted how she was more fearless than the Joker) and you rate it…shit squad? Compared to other movies you’ve rated better purely on meeting the above mentioned criteria, but equally bad scripting?

  • Woman lead. Multi-cultural cast. You’ve given good reviews to poor movies for having such things before.

    You may disagree with my opinion on a given film, but I don’t rate movies highly purely on the basis of diverse representation. Just as I don’t rate films poorly purely on the basis of a lack of diversity.

    That said, this movie does not have a female lead. It doesn’t have any lead at all. It’s an ensemble piece, and the ensemble is dominated by men.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I’m not a straight man. I’m a panromantic lesbian woman. So I’m sort of attracted to everyone.

  • IntrepidNormal

    : )

  • IntrepidNormal

    And I missed what you said about Deadshot. I think at that point he probably didn’t believe he could feel love, but still felt a sense of duty to do right by his kid. Sociopaths may not feel emotions but they can still understand them and in some cases maintain healthy relationships.

  • Nathan

    The writing was lazy, nothing felt deserved.

  • IntrepidNormal

    What in particular did you think didn’t feel deserved?

  • IntrepidNormal

    I think Harley alone was probably enough to sell the film, she’s stupid popular.

  • I can’t tell whether you didn’t know that I’m a woman by your comment or not,

    Your gender and orientation don’t really have anything to do with if you’re kinda attracted to everyone, though. :-)

    I’m sure someone out there would accuse the female costume designer who worked on this film of being sexist

    And they would be wrong. The costume designer on this movie is working within cultures — Hollywood, comics, and the culture at large — that are geared toward promoting women’s sexual appeal above all else. That designer was not working in a vacuum, and that designer did not create this costume. It was created by men for the comic. (And just because gay women might incidentally respond to the way women are treated by our culture does not change the fact that it’s all about appealing to straight men.)

  • IntrepidNormal

    The costume was created for the film, it didn’t exist in the comics. Not arguing with the rest.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Harely’s costume in the movie resembles the versions seen in the New 52 comics more than the Animated Series version. If anything, the movie version is toned down (hot pants yes, but t-shirt and jacket instead of a corset), but it’s close. Between this movie, the New 52 comics, and the Arkham games, the “B:TAS” harlequin outfit is long gone. Here’s how she looks as of “Harely Quinn #28”, released just three months ago: http://static9.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_large/6/67663/5215408-28.jpg

  • IntrepidNormal

    I was never married to her original outfit in the first place. I liked it, but I don’t mourn it the way her other fans do, nor do I think it made her character. And considering her break up from the joker, it’s fitting that she has a new look, although I believe her style began to evolve before the split. I have accepted Harley as an antiheroine with many different looks surrounding one theme.

  • Glrk10

    I’m going to give this movie the same treatment libs gave ghostbusters 2016- Suicide squad is not a train wreck. There were enjoyable parts, such as the set design in the second scene. Of course you must give credit to this movie because all the stars have shone so bright in other projects. Sorry to disappoint the klansman haters out there but certify this one fresh!

  • Bluejay

    Nice Poe.

  • Nope, the Harley costume most similar to what she wears in the movie comes from the Suicide Squad comics.

    She doesn’t start to get overtly sexualized until the Arkham Asylum video game (in which she looks like a demented “sexy nurse”). But her look in the film did not spring from the imagination of the movie’s costume designer.

    More about the evolution of Harley Quinn’s look at Comic Vine.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I still feel like it did. Even after looking at some of those other costumes. I mean clearly elements of previous costumes were used, but that was always going to be the case, otherwise how would anyone know who she is? And the small shorts actually did originate in the animated series, only she wore them with her street clothes.

  • Danielm80

    If you made a biopic about Susan B. Anthony, and dressed her in hot pants, she’d still be a fascinating, progressive historical figure, but people might complain about your depiction of women. Among other things.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Harley Quinn is not Susan B. Anthony, in any way shape or form. She’s not interesting or progressive in the way that Susan B. Anthony is. A better comparison would be Erin Brokovich (her shitty epilogue notwithstanding.)

  • Danielm80

    I haven’t seen Suicide Squad, so I’m relying on MaryAnn’s description, but the movie apparently features several men dressed in sexually provocative ways, and yet the camera doesn’t leer at their body parts over and over again. Harley could have been filmed in the same way. She wasn’t.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I agree, the shot in the prison yard wasn’t needed and was the most egregious case of this. I still enjoyed her character and Robbie’s portrayal of her immensely, you can acknowledge that things are problematic and still maintain that they are largely positive (MaryAnn not sharing the opinion that the character is largely positive is another story, as we may value different things in our portrayals of women, which there is nothing wrong with) I’m also tired of seeing female on male sexual harrassment or objectification as adorable or funny, yet I still really liked 21 Jump Street, as did MaryAnn.

    And as for too many women being featured as highly sexual people, that may be the case, I also think that too many love stories are written about straight white people, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to The Space Between Us and don’t think it looks cute as hell. And although fewer love stories written about straight white people would alleviate the problem, I’d far prefer just as many love stories being written about straight white people with an equal number written about Black People, Asian People, Latino People, Middle Eastern People, Interracial couples, gay couples, gay interracial couples and everything in between. Then we’d just have more movies, nothing wrong with that. I want to see all sorts of women in my movies too, including the highly sexual ones who don’t wear sensible pantsuits.

  • IntrepidNormal

    And Joker was the only male character that was dressed provocatively in the film. He is also the first male comic book movie character that I’ve EVER seen dressed in a provocative way. That alone was something to consider in my opinion. It may not be in either of yours, and that is also fine.

  • Oh, for pete’s sake! This is not about Harley Quinn as a character but how the men who made the movie depict her. These are two wildly different things. NO ONE is telling “Harley Quinn” how to dress. “She” didn’t even get to choose how she dresses! And HQ as she is depicted in this movie has nothing to do with feminism or critiquing how women are perceived by our culture or *anything* along those lines. She’s just the opposite, in fact: She represents a traumatized and abused woman as something sexy and cool.

  • the movie apparently features several men dressed in sexually provocative ways

    No, it really doesn’t.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I just see her as both. A sexy and cool woman who was traumatized and abused. I think it is why women in the fandom who have left abusive relationships or are struggling to leave abusive relationships like and relate to Harley. The abuse she suffers does not define her. Granted at the end of this film she is still with The Joker, but she is also depicted as an extremely emotionally damaged person who’s abuse has strange elements of consent (she wholeheartedly welcomes every bad thing Joker does to her here), she hasn’t even begun to see how not okay this is, but the tiny cracks in her endless stream of sunny derangement (the bar scene, the stairs scene) show that she’s closer than she appears.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I know it’s probably a little late to ask this but I can’t help but wonder what Latino characters he has seen that have sucked.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I haven’t seen the movie yet but I have long sensed a dark irony in the way so many hippies and radicals have seen fit to own Volkswagens in view of the car’s history.

  • IntrepidNormal

    He didn’t care at all for Michael Pena’s character in Ant Man, or The Latino Boyfriend in Orphan Black. Those are the two I know of off of the top of my head.

  • You may be conflating your knowledge of Quinn from other sources with how she is depicted in this movie. I see nothing feminist in the way Quinn is depicted here.

  • The history of something versus the *now* of something — as a Volkswagen was for Steve Rogers during WWII — are different things.

    Do you enjoy getting satellite weather forecasts? Cuz the Nazis invented rockets…

  • IntrepidNormal

    I could be, I can’t view the film as someone who isn’t familiar with the character, but I absolutely think every aspect of her personality was nailed in the film. I also don’t feel like this is the end of her arc. The Gotham City Sirens movie will most likely happen, granted on a much smaller budget due to the reception for this one, but it’s not like a GSS movie would need a relatively huge budget anyway. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this character plays when she’s no longer attached to Joker and has surrounded herself with more positive figures.

    As for whether she’s feminist or not, well, if I had the choice between taking my 16 year old niece to see Suicide Squad or Hidden figures, guess which one I’m picking. But I do stand by idea that Harley, while not necessarily a positive role model for young girls, is something of an inspiration for many adult women.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Actually the Chinese invented rockets.
    Though German scientists who once worked for the Nazis did play a substantial part in designing the type of rockets that were eventually used in the U.S. space program.
    Then again so did a lot of non-Germans like American scientist Robert Goddard who invented the first liquid-fuel rocket in 1926,
    In any event, it seems unlikely that anyone old enough to remember the original Volkswagen program would be so blasé about sitting in an actual Volkswagen.
    And while I am well aware that most people who buy Volkswagens don’t necessarily endorse the policies of the Third Reich any more than most people who own Fords endorse automaker Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism, I do consider their popularity in certain liberal quarters to be more than a bit ironic.
    But then your mileage obviously varies…

  • Danielm80

    Fortunately, the people who are running Volkswagen now are deeply moral people who would never do anything deceptive or unethical.

    I actually love Volkswagens, because I grew up watching Herbie the Love Bug and Bumblebee from Transformers, so I’d like to believe that in between the Nazis and the environmental damage, there was a Golden Age when the company was run by kind-hearted people who believed deeply in the spirit of Fahrvergnügen, whatever that is.

  • The Chinese invented fireworks. Hardly the same thing.

    If we must make moral decisions about using something based upon its entire history, including the development of its precursors, we’d be paralyzed into utter inaction on everything.

  • Bluejay

    I might try to avoid using something (or, say, consuming a book or a film) if its purchase or use profits a still-living creator whom I find morally repugnant. But apart from that, I agree that things are just things, and the tools of “the enemy” are just tools, not the enemy. Maybe we can even take pleasure in the thought of “the enemy” spinning in their grave, appalled that their creations are being used by people they would have despised, or for purposes they never imagined.

    Having said that, I completely understand if someone chooses to avoid an object because its history is personally traumatic to them.

  • RogerBW

    I’ve known people who didn’t buy things from country X or Y because of whatever issue they cared about.
    Which is fair enough, but if you start looking into things a bit more, you find that every country has at least one horrible thing about it and you can’t buy anything from anywhere.

  • Danielm80

    Well, yes, there’s always

    https://youtu.be/ev733n-5r4g
    But I still wouldn’t buy a Volkswagen from the people currently running the company.

  • Tonio Kruger

    The Chinese invented fireworks. Hardly the same thing.

    That’s like arguing that Nazi rocket scientists really didn’t invent rockets but instead invented missiles.

    After all, the history of rockets usually begins with said Chinese fireworks.

    If we must make moral decisions about using something based upon its entire history, including the development of its precursors, we’d be paralyzed into utter inaction on everything.

    Fair enough.

    Then again I’m old enough to remember when it was fashionable to make fun of people who drove SUVs so I’m not quite sure why people who drive Volkswagens suddenly gets a free pass.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Well Danielm80’s original point was that it didn’t quite make moral sense for a famous fictional anti-Nazi fighter like Captain America to sit in a vehicle as historically symbolic of Nazi Germany as a Volkswagen. As much as I appreciate the input from you and the other posters, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that he was wrong.

    As for the rest, well, I obviously have no problem with MaryAnn using a social media system created by a notorious sexist to help communicate with other feminists.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I wasn’t aware there was a Latino Boyfriend in Orphan Black — which says volumes about how much I’ve been able to keep up with that series. As for Michael Pena’s character in Ant Man, well, I didn’t like him as much as our hostess MaryAnn did but I don’t remember hating him either.

  • Bluejay

    I have yet to hear a convincing argument that he was wrong.

    Who’s trying to argue that he’s wrong? Not me. I completely respect his reaction and I think it’s right for him. As you said, people’s mileages vary. And as Danielm80 said in his original comment, everyone is different, and it’s not up to us to decide what others should or shouldn’t be offended by.

  • IntrepidNormal

    Well he tends to do better with Latino characters when their character being Latino doesn’t come up, Like Oscar Isaac’s characters in Ex Machina and The Force Awakens.

  • I agree. But stating that it’s weird that someone *wouldn’t* be traumatized by the history of something is odd, and not reasonable.

  • No one is disagreeing with Daniel. We’re disagreeing with *you* saying that it’s odd that hippies a generation (or more) later didn’t/don’t seem to have a problem with VWs. :-)

  • I don’t remember it being “fashionable” to make fun of people who drove SUVs, but why do you think we should make fun of people who drive SUVs, and what does that have to do with the history of the VW?

    It feels like you’re applying different standards in each case.

  • amanohyo

    So, I finally watched this after seeing Kubo (which is pretty damn awesome) and I understand what people mean when they say that El Diablo is a Latino character that doesn’t suck. He gets just as much character development as Harley and Deadshot, and actually turns out to have very useful powers and a positive character arc.

    In terms of writing though, his lines are just as awful as everyone else’s. I can almost hear someone thinking, “those Mexican gangsters say ese a lot, I should put that in every once in a while.” It reminds me of Michael Bay’s old tactic of having black people shout “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!” or “Hell yeah!” at odd times to insert a little ethnic authenticity. There’s no sense of individuality or character building – every character is written with an identical voice except for some sprinklings of slang which often sound unnatural and out of step with previous lines.

    I agree with Dr. Rocketscience – someone went to town on this movie with a meat cleaver in the editing room. It has zero sense of pacing to the point that when the movie slows down to try and build tension for the final battle, you don’t care because nothing is at stake. If Waller just gave out an exasperated sigh and popped everyone’s head in the movie including her own, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. Robbie, Leto, and Smith are good enough actors to breathe a little life into their roles, but everyone else is just kind of there. The movie wants to put in the minimum amount of effort to get us to care: “There see, he has a family just like you, don’t you feel bad for this murderer now?” No, not yet movie. You’re gonna have to spend more than a couple minu-oh wait, you’ve already moved on to another action scene? I guess you don’t really give a shit. Well, me neither.

    There’s a lot of action in terms of shooting, but all the physical stunts are poorly shot with quick takes failing to hide a general lack of grace and skill. Harley receives the most attention as the fan favorite, but even her fights are not well choreographed (compare this to something like the hammer/bat fights in The Raid 2). Visually, the villains wouldn’t be out of place in a classic Dr. Who episode, Mortal Kombat game, or Power Rangers episode. At least normal zombies look a little unnervingly human, these are literally putties.
    And finally the primary problem is the basic premise. Why is half of the team even on the team? What the hell is Waller thinking? Angry man who throws a boomerang? Prankster gymnast with bat trapped in codependant relationship with dangerous crimelord? Woman with sword? Guy good at climbing stuff? The enchantress can literally do anything. Deadshot apparently can shoot everything instantly. Maybe Killer Croc and El Diablo would be good for SWAT operations when enchantress isn’t in a magical mood… maybe. There’s your team right there Waller. The rest needed to be cut in training camp.

    I will say that I liked Leto’s take on the Joker – he is aggressively sexual and creepy, but unlike Intrepid Normal, I didn’t think he was designed to be objectified in the way that Harley is throughout the movie (at one point the entire film literally lurches to a stop to ogle her). The Joker uses his sexuality to dominate and confuse others, while Harley’s sexuality (and the hilarious undulations of The Enchantress) is pure fan service for the audience. The Harley that I remember from the animated series and comics was a bit more complex than this Betty Boop vandal.

    Watch this if you must, but please pay for a ticket to Kubo and theater hop over. It is a superior film in every way (it’s even a better action movie) despite playing on some well worn Asian stereotypes. Charlize Theron is a monkey with a sword and Matthew McConaughhey is a four armed beetle archer. How can you pass that up? Those two are the real Suicide Squad.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Fair enough. Point taken.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Roughly a decade or so ago, it was considered fashionable to some people on the left to campaign against SUVs and make fun of the people who drove them. Doonesbury devoted at least a week’s worth of strips detailing Alex Doonesbury’s campaign against the SUVs; said strips were collected in Garry Trudeau’s Got War? book.

    Of course, the issues surrounding that campaign are much different than the issues surrounding the Volkswagen. If nothing else, it’s not terribly controversial to ridicule remnants of the Third Reich — any more than it’s terribly controversial to ridicule people who wave the Confederate flag — and it might be argued that Volkswagens should be actually more fashionable nowadays because of obvious ecological issues. (They use less gas, they require smaller parking spaces, etc.)

    I could blame my issues with the VW on, say, my maternal Polish-American ancestry and a host of other factors but it would probably be wiser to see this as just another example of how my sense of humor isn’t necessarily the same as yours. I do see things oddly from time to time. Then again if I were the type of person who took pride in seeing things the same way as everyone else, I would not come to this site.

    I will admit that Danielm80 did a better job illustrating his issues with VWs than I did. I will try to learn from his example in the future.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Given the latest news out of Flint, Michigan, I wouldn’t recommend buying a car from anyone in my home state of Michigan as well. If nothing else, the recent cover story in Newsweek on that issue was a much-needed reminder that the quest for social justice can be a tedious and excruciating yet all so necessary process.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I can sympathize with that attitude.

  • Tonio Kruger

    This would take some creativity of thought, however, something in
    critically short supply in Hollywood given Simon Pegg’s excuse for not
    including Carol Marcus in NuTrek 3.

    I was not aware that Simon Pegg had all that much creative input in the new Star Trek movies given that he was hired as an actor and not as a screenwriter. Even if he was, the idea that not being able to do anything with Carol Marcus — the most memorable female character of the original Star Trek movies — save kill her off doesn’t inspire me to have much hope in the new movies. And even less hope in Mr. Pegg.

  • bronxbee

    i would be truly interested in knowing what was so memorable about the Carol Marcus character? i love ST, i liked the first reboot movie, was okay with the second and enjoyed the recent one. but, except for removing her clothes gratuitiously in the first move, and being around in the second one, there was nothing essential about her character to the franchise, and — feminist though i am — i did not miss her at all in this recent film. simon pegg is credited as one of the screenwriters and he has admitted he couldn’t find anything worthwhile to do with her character. there were plenty of other kick-ass female chartacters who actually *did* things.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I was thinking of Carol Marcus’ character in the original Wrath of Khan. Again perhaps not the most classic of female sci-fi characters — even by old school Star Trek standards — but she did play a former love interest of Captain Kirk, she did invent one of the more memorable devices of the TOS movies and she was the mother to the only male offspring Captain Kirk has yet to acknowledge on an official or otherwise basis.

    In short, in the original movie, she did things. In the more “progressive” remake, she did little more than wear black underwear…

  • Pegg is, in fact, one of two screenwriters who wrote the latest Trek flick.

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