CGB Mega-Collaboration Review of Suicide Squad (2016) featuring MsOWrites, Rosalie Contrite, Catholic N00b and Surrender the Brownies

You know, for a team called the “Suicide Squad”, only one person in the squad actually kicks the bucket.

This is my review of–

AMANDA WALLER: Hello, Catholic Girl Bloggin’.
ME: (looks up) What the?  How did you get in my house?!
AMANDA WALLER: Flag, get the chloroform.
ME: Hey, why is Rick Flag soaking a cloth with chloroform in my kitchen?  (Sees RICK FLAG approaching) Before I go under, this is my review of Suicide Squad!

(Cuts to black)

suicide-squad-harley-177683 (3)

Based on the fictional organization known as Task Force X in DC Comics, Suicide Squad is  basically what happens when Viola Davis–er, I mean–Amanda Waller decides it would be a good idea to assemble a taskforce of DC comic book baddies should another Superman ever walk the planet again.  Things go horribly awry when a squad member named Dr. June Moore, aka Enchantress goes off the rails and uses her dark magic brouhaha to ruin the city.  Now it’s up to Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo and Katana to save the world from being enslaved by Enchantress all while the threat of the Joker looms large.

(Wakes up in the back of a truck) W-where am I?
MsOWrites: Catholic Girl Bloggin’?
ME: Huh?  MsOWrites, is that you?  You’ve been kidnapped too?
MsOWrites: Yeah, they grabbed me while I was on vacation.  AND they took my new scapular, too!
ME: Those jerks!  Kidnapping bloggers and taking scapulars!
(Enter ROSALIE CONTRITE)
ROSALIE CONTRITE: At least you weren’t snatched up while in the middle of a podcast.
ME: Is that why yesterday’s Contrite podcast ended so abruptly?
ROSALIE CONTRITE: Apparently my latest “interview” was a set-up.
(Enter SURRENDER THE BROWNIES)
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: Better that than having your brownies spiked so that you’d end up unconscious.
(Enter CATHOLIC N00b)
CATHOLIC N00b: There are three things in life that I know to be true: There is a God, taxation is theft and Amanda Waller will kidnap you at some point in your life.
ME: It looks like Waller has her sights set on Catholic bloggers.
(The truck stops and the trailer opens up) (Enter AMANDA WALLER)
AMANDA WALLER: Good morning, ladies.  I see that you already know one another.  Let’s cut to the chase: I want to assemble a taskforce of Catholic bloggers to fight off supernatural entities.
ME: But what exactly would we do in the wake of such an event?
AMANDA WALLER: Oh, you wouldn’t do anything…but your Guardian Angels would.  If your Guardian Angel gave you, CGB, a katana in your BFG review, then imagine what he and the other Guardian Angels would do if I held you and your friends hostage.
ME: Wait, what?  You’re gonna try to get other people’s Angels to do your bidding.
MsOWrites: Your logic is not compatible with our Earth logic.
CATHOLIC N00b: That’s not how this works.  That’s not how any of this works!
ROSALIE CONTRITE: Oh, the early Church fathers would have a field day rebuking you, Ms. Waller.
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: Somebody get Bishop Robert Barron over here ASAP!
ME: (Looks in the back of the truck) Hey, you guys do realize that our weapons are in the truck, right?
AMANDA WALLER: (Looks confused) Wait, those aren’t supposed to be there.  (Gets hit in the shoulder with ROSALIE CONTRITE’s arrow)
ME: (Grabs katana) Looks like our Angels are looking out for us!
(CATHOLIC N00b uses the Force to pull her lightsaber towards her, while MsOWrites whips out her crossbow and stake) 
ME: Hey, Surrender the Brownies, what’s your weapon?
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: (Smiles as fire emanates in her hands) You’re about to find out why my brownies are the very best, like no one ever was!
ME: And now the Pokémon theme song is stuck in my head again.
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES(Raises arms) I’m gonna need everyone out of the truck in 3…
ROSALIE CONTRITE: Everybody, move!
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: …2…
(Everyone evacuates the truck)
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: …1…(Incinerates the truck with her fire powers)
ME: (Looks around at the destruction of the truck, as well as any buildings in the area)
MsOWrites: CGB, look out!  (Pushes me out of the way of a falling Little Caesar’s sign)
ME: I didn’t know there was a Little Caesar’s nearby.  (Stand up and brushes off the dirt and soot from my clothes) Well, I’ll tell you all one thing: This was an impressive showcase of our super abilities, kind of like the new Suicide Squad movie…

The Hits
The film’s bombastically comedic tone works to its advantage.  It matches the unstable nature of the characters and the aimlessness of the narrative.
This movie is definitely what I call a “character showcase,” in that the script allows the charisma of the cast of villainous characters to shine.  In particular, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Katana and El Diablo look amazing!  The costume designs don’t look too silly, which make it easier for them to be taken seriously when said characters are on screen.
I feel that Harley Quinn was handled as well as she could have been.  She has her signature sadistic charm, but Margot Robbie doesn’t make her too over-the-top or childish.  The flashbacks of her time with the Joker give us an idea of why she is the way she is.  While I am very aware of the abusive nature of her relationship with the Joker in the comics, I thought that, for the time being, it made sense (at least for this first installment) for her to have glorified flashbacks of her time with him.  She seems to me to be someone who has not yet figured out who the Joker truly is, therefore she is subconsciously allowing herself to remember only “good” times with the Joker.  Going forward, I do hope that we get to see Harley’s eyes opened and for her to begin breaking away from the Joker’s hold on her, but for now, her mentally instability is well established via the flashbacks and her own behavior.
I was somewhat invested in the romance between Rick Flag and June Moore/Enchantress’ relationship.  While their scenes together are short, the performances of both actors involved capture the difficulty of their romance.  In fact, I wish they had their own movie.  How interesting would it have been to see the story of a man coping with his semi-possessed girlfriend?
I really like the rapport between Deadshot and Rick Flag.  There’s a reluctant brotherhood to their argumentative relationship that makes it enjoyable to watch.  Speaking of which, yes, Will Smith is as charismatic as always.  Granted, his “assassin with a heart of gold” trope is pretty overdone, but you know, I actually like that archetype; it has conversion-story potential to it.
Where the last DC film I endured–er, I mean–watched, which was Batman v. Superman, was dreary and convoluted, Suicide Squad is definitely a step up in terms of having fun with its premise and being actually entertaining instead of populating the screen with bruiting men.

SURRENDER THE BROWNIES
: (Raises her arms) Come to me, my chickens!  Mwahahaha!  (An array of chickens teleport onto the scene)
CATHOLIC N00b: The Force is strong with this one.
ME:What, with her or her chickens?
CATHOLIC N00b: (Grins) Why not both?
MsOWrites: Hey, where did Amanda Waller go?
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: Buttercup, come to me!  (A chicken named BUTTERCUP approaches SURRENDER THE BROWNIES) Find Amanda Waller!
BUTTERCUP: Bawk bawk bawk bawk bawk…(scurries away to find AMANDA WALLER)
ME: Hey, instead of going on a wild goose chase for one of the cast members from “The Help”, shouldn’t we just call the rest of the Avengers?
CATHOLIC N00b: You mean the Marvel superheroes?
ME: No, I mean the Pro-Life Avengers!  I’m talking about Pink-Haired Papist, Aimee Murphy, Albany Rose, Angel Armstead, Kelsey Hazzard, Stargift Tarakasha and, of course, Bryan Kemper!
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: We’ll assemble with them during the next Planned Parenthood protest.
(Enter AMANDA WALLER)
AMANADA WALLER: (holds up BUTTERCUP the chicken by the legs) You guys thought I’d just run off without apprehending you, didn’t you?

SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: (Lights hands with fire powers) Release Buttercup now, Waller!
ROSALIE CONTRITE: I got this!  (Holds bow and arrow to AMANDA WALLER)
AMANDA WALLER: (sinister smirk) (clutches onto BUTTERCUP’s legs tighter) Go ahead, shoot the arrow and provide me with a nice chicken dinner.
ME: (raises katana) Ready your weapons, gal pals!
AMANDA WALLER: Oh, I’m not the only one you’ll be fighting…

ROSALIE CONTRITE
: Shush!  Do you hear that?
(An eerie, maniacal laugh is heard from a distance)
ME: Uh oh, looks like Trump found us…
MsOWrites: No, no, it sounds more hoarse and chain-smokerish.
ME: Oh, so it’s Hilary whose after us!
(Enter THE JOKER, who pulls up in a white van with henchmen accompanying him)
JOKER: Well, well, well, if it isn’t the League of Catholic Bloggers.
MsOWrites: I didn’t know we were an established League.
ME: (Gasps) Oh my gosh! (Pause) I think I like Heath Ledger’s Joker better.
JOKER: (Eyes narrow in my direction) Oh, talking like that’s gonna get ya hurt, baby doll.  (Whips out semi-automatic) (The henchmen start surrounding us)
MsOWrites: CGB, look out!  (whips out stake and crossbow and shoots a henchman coming towards me) Strong like an AMAZON!  (spins around and slashes enemies with her stake)
CATHOLIC N00b(Smiles as she lifts up her lightsaber) Time for my ultimate battle cry…(flips into the air) Taxation is THEFT! (Slices through henchmen as she lands)
ROSALIE CONTRITE: Hey, Surrender the Brownies…(raises bow and arrows)…think we can use some of that fire power of yours?
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: (Grins) (Hands light up with flames) I thought you’d never ask.
(SURRENDER THE BROWNIES creates a shield of fire around herself and ROSALIE CONTRITE, who shoots flaming arrows at oncoming henchmen)
ME
(Holds up katana) When in doubt…(runs into henchmen)…Offer it up!  (takes down henchmen with jumps, kicks and the katana) Whoa, what the?!
JOKER: (Charges at me) I’d like to think that I was pretty good in Suicide Squad!
ME: You want me to lie to ya or tell ya what I really think?
JOKER: Surprise me, sweetheart.
ME: Well…

The Misses
It’s PAINFULLY obvious that many of the Joker’s scenes have been cut down and as a result, he is grossly underdeveloped.  I can tell that Jared Leto did more preparation for the Joker’s character than the screenwriters did.  The thing is that I understand why Harley loves the Joker, but I don’t understand why the Joker even bothers to keep her around.  The mistake made here is that the Joker puts a lot of effort into getting Harley back even though in previous incarnations of Joker and Harley, it’s clear that he doesn’t personally care for her, that he is only using her.  The few times that he does express a desire to get her back feel really forced and out-of-place because we know that the Joker’s true nature is relentless anarchy with no hints of sentimentalism.
Yes, this movie doesn’t have much of a plot.  It does try to attempt a plot by making Enchantress the main villain, but it doesn’t hold much weight because Enchantress herself is pretty much a standard villain.  She is a little intimidating at first, but once she brings back her CGI brother–Incubus, I think is his name, but he had next to no impact on the plot, so I don’t really care–and just stands in the devastated subway station, doing something with a blue beam in the sky, she becomes nothing more than a video game villain from that point on.
I really wish this movie had a main character.  While I always appreciate a multi-character showcase, I went into this movie hoping that either Harley or Deadshot would be the main protagonist whose perspective drives the story.  It is clear that this movie went through many last-minute creative changes.  Except for Harley, Deadshot, El Diablo and (to an extent) Rick Flag, the other Suicide Squad members feel half-baked and underdeveloped.
Going back to this movie not having much of a plot, this film really does play out like a long music video.  If this were a music video, it would be awesome, but alas, there’s a difference between cinematic motion pictures and MTV music videos (yeah, I grew up watching many of those).  The wonky pacing and overabundance of non-diagetic song choices prove my point about this picture being a glorified music video.

(CATHOLIC N00b uses Force lighting on surrounding henchmen.  MsOWrites finds herself in a one-on-one confrontation with AMANDA WALLER,  who wields a pistol.  SURRENDER THE BROWNIES and ROSALIE CONTRITE continue firing flaming arrows at henchmen)
ME: (sees MsOWrites fighting AMANDA WALLER)
JOKER: Hey, CGB, look me in the eye!  (charges at me with a semi-automatic)
ME: How can I?  Your eyes are so unsettling and just freaky-looking.  It lacks the subtley of Ledger’s Joker.
JOKER: If you like Ledger’s Joker so much, why don’t I just quote him?  (Sinister grin) Let’s put a smile on that face!
ME:  Nope!  (Jumps in the air) Angelic katana, activate!  (Blade of katana glows as I land back down and slice JOKER’s semi-automatic)  Catholic N00b, think you can use a Force-push?
CATHOLIC N00b: Oh yeah, girl!  (From afar, she Force-pushes the JOKER away from me)
(MsOWrites stabs AMANDA WALLER’s shoulder with her stake, but AMANDA WALLER  is about to shoot at MsOWrites) (I swing the katana and block the bullet with the katana)
MsOWrites: Thanks!  Is that how bullets work, though?
ME: Hey, my guardian angel gave me this katana.  I didn’t exactly ask him if it abides by the laws of physics.
(SURRENDER THE BROWNIES creates a fire circle around AMANDA WALLER while CATHOLIC N00b paralyzes her with the Force)
(ROSALIE CONTRITE points an arrow at AMANDA WALLER’s forehead while MsOWrites holds up her crossbow)
ME: (Faces AMANDA WALLER)  Hey, wasn’t this whole thing about you getting our Guardian Angels to do your twisted bidding?
AMANDA WALLER: That was the plan.
ME: Well, so far, all that has been accomplished are flashy action sequences, quips and a half-hearted Joker appearance.
AMANDA WALLER: Much like the Suicide Squad film, it was an attempt at a plot.
(Enter JOKER)
JOKER: See, this is what happens when so many of my scenes are either cut down sloppily or just chopped out altogether.  (Holds up a grenade)
AMANDA WALLER: (Clutches cell phone in hand) You have two options, ladies.  Either the Joker can blast you to bits with the grenade or I make one phone call to Lucifer himself and get him up here.
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: What the fudge brownies?!
ME: No, no, you don’t wanna do that!
MsOWrites: (Holds up Miraculous Medal and Benedictine Cross) The heck you are!
CATHOLIC N00b: Triggered!
ROSALIE CONTRITE: You do know that all we would have to do to send Lucifer running is just say the Name of Jesus, right?
ME: Oh, yeah, that’s a good point.  Just say the Name of Jesus and the devil will be tripping over himself trying to get away.  Just ask Saint Gemma Galgani.
AMANDA WALLER: Can the Holy Name stop a grenade?
JOKER: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
(Enter THE SPARTAN)
THE SPARTAN: I know I can!  (As a flash of light, THE SPARTAN rushes past the JOKER)
JOKER: What the?  Where’s the gren– (CATHOLIC N00b springs in the air and slices JOKER’s hands off with her lightsaber while MsOWrites finishes him off with her crossbow from a distance)
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: (uses her powers to close the fire circle in on AMANDA WALLER)  I prefer my villains medium-well.
ME: Has Charles Xavier contacted you yet?   You might to consider joining the X-Men.
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: I don’t think he’ll be getting in touch with me after I kinda sort of burned down the school.
CATHOLIC N00b: The Force might be too strong with that one (points at SURRENDER THE BROWNIES)
MsOWrites: Who was that guy?  The one who took the JOKER’s grenade?
CATHOLIC N00b: He calls himself The Spartan.  That’s all I know.
ME: You know this how?
CATHOLIC N00b: I’ve encountered him before, while traveling to the Dagobah system to learn from Yoda.
MsOWrites: I think I’ve come across him while slaying vampires.
ROSALIE CONTRITE: So, CGB, what are your final thoughts on Suicide Squad?
SURRENDER THE BROWNIES: Compared to Batman v. Superman, which made you question your will to live, how does this DC film hold up.
ME: Well…

On one hand, Suicide Squad is miles better than BvS thanks to strong performances from Margot Robbie, Will Smith and the rest of the cast.  The rapport between the members of the Squad is fun to watch and has a whacky-dysfunctional-family feel to it.  On the other hand, the choppy pacing, clumsy editing and weak portrayal of the Joker doesn’t do this comic book adaptation any favors.  If you’re curious and/or are a fan of director David Ayers, then you’ll probably have a good time checking it out.  While I’m glad I saw it, I don’t think I’ll be seeing it again in the near future.

Saint Theodore Guerin, pray for us.

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