Suicide Squad: Not Bad, But Not Great

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Have we had enough yet? Did we really need the latest DC Comics adaption of “Suicide Squad,” an obscure comic that, let’s be honest, most of the world had never paid attention to until Margot Robbie put on those hot pants?

The problem with “Suicide Squad” isn’t the feminist thing, nor the whole nonsensical plot. Nope, it’s the idea that somewhere out in the depths of Hollywood one brave soul will someday be able to recreate “The Dark Knight” in terms of story and making a lot of money.

Doesn’t anyone ever remember that lightening doesn’t strike twice? Catering to the nerd culture isn’t going to work if you want to make a comic adaption the rest of us want to see. But it doesn’t really work when you alienate the very fans that want it in the first place.

Of course, like most people, I don’t know much about the “Suicide Squad” comics. The one superhero world I’ve ever been remotely interested in is the Batman universe, though. I think I may have even watched the Batman cartoon when I was a kid. But probably because it was on before Scooby Doo.

And unlike Marvel, the DC universe seems to make more sense. There’s a clearer line drawn between hero and villain and a reason for the evil. In that argument, then, maybe we did need “Suicide Squad.” The whole anti-hero thing is great, right? We love our Darth Vaders and Kylo Rens even though we aren’t supposed to. It’s how those villain stories are told, however, that make or break any film.

I’ll disagree that “Squad” had too many characters. I’d even argue that I wanted to see more Harley Quinn. I liked all the characters. Even the guy who randomly showed up and got killed immediately without any backstory. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll also defend the choice to the less is more approach with Leto’s Joker. Perhaps, as Hollywood usually does, that could lead to a fun Joker/Harley Quinn spinoff!

The characters find their injustices in the weird plot. Why is it that all of these movies are so damn weird? “Suicide Squad” was slammed by critics who hated the hard-to-follow plot, but is anyone ever going to ask why the hell there was a witch who was in love with the task force captain who formed a bromance with Will Smith who seemed to have a thing for Harley Quinn who had the most chemistry with that guy from “The Mindy Project” who brawls with the Joker and just lets Viola Davis walk in to steal his inmates just to set an evil spirit loose pretty easily, and ugh, yeah, I’m confused.

But why do we have to have magic mixed in with deadly assassins and people with superhuman abilities? If that’s really how the comics are, then so be it. Just try a little better to help us normals understand. Skipping the details is what’s deadly. Lots of big nerd culture films are weird and still somehow work. Have you seen a little thing called “Star Wars?” So why can’t Hollywood get it right with comic adaptions?

Genres can’t always be mixed. Yes, it’s fun to have humor and action all in one film. But that means you aren’t “The Dark Knight.” And if you’re trying to be “The Dark Knight,” then you better be as dark as the Joker’s soul. There is no in between. This isn’t a Twenty One Pilots’ song.

The superhero/villain genre is in crisis because Hollywood can’t figure out what to do with it. “Suicide Squad” isn’t a bad movie. It’s action-packed with fun and sad moments. It’s got smart, comically-drawn characters played by actors who know how to make the most of their performances.

But it doesn’t hit home because it doesn’t know what it is. Is it a comedy? Is it trying to tell a deeper story of good and evil? Is it just supposed to be good fun? When will this madness end?

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