@DrSkySkull went to see Suicide Squad, and claimed that it was better than the reviews said.
I *definitely* don't think that #SuicideSquad merits the low – what was it? – 23% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
— skullsinthestars (@drskyskull) August 7, 2016
I took that as a challenge, so I held my nose and went to the theater last night. He was right, and he was wrong. It’s not as bad as the worst reviews say, but it also fails to reach the minimal level of what I expect from a good movie. It’s incoherent, over-stuffed, and ultimately nonsensical. Most of the characters are unpleasant and there are so many of them, that none of them are developed in any interesting way.
But a lot of the problems aren’t problems with this specific movie, but with the whole genre. Superhero movies are being made with a cookie cutter, and the only difference is the color of the sprinkles on top.
I call it the “flat weightless apocalypse” problem.
Flat: There’s a kind of pseudo-diversity to the characters, and you must have noticed this. The Avengers are a team to fight invading aliens. They’ve got a literal god fighting for them…and a guy with a bow and arrow. The Suicide Squad has a man who is a walking flamethrower, incinerating his enemies with a wave of his hands, and it’s got crazy woman with a baseball bat. This makes no sense. You’re building a team to take on threats of the level of Superman, and you pick up some random psychotic violent lady at the local asylum? Why? Because she looks sexy in her booty shorts? (Don’t answer that, I know the answer. It’s “yes”.)
There isn’t a good solution to this problem, either. The X-Men franchise stocks their movies with milling hordes of people with over-the-top superpowers, and you end up not caring.
Weightless: People die all over the place in these movies. In Suicide Squad and evil witch turns the innocent citizens of a metropolitan area into hideous blob-headed monsters who attack the ‘heroes’ and are gunned down en masse. The city is a wrecked ruin. Helicopters crash in the streets every few minutes, it seems. This is all shrugged off or ignored, because we have to care about the action hero who wants to be reunited with his little girl. What about all the little girls crushed under debris or set on fire by flaming helicopter fuel or turned into slimy vicious monsters by an evil witch, huh?
Apocalypse: Every time. There is an existential threat to the entire world which can be neatly blamed on a single villain, and that can be solved with punching. And the villain is always completely inscrutable: why do they want to destroy the world? Because they’re evil, that’s why. How about a little moral ambiguity sometime? How about if we see someone dealing with a more complex and subtle problem?
So I might agree with @DrSkySkull that it’s not that much worse than other super-movies, but I’d also have to say that the genre is imploding over its own limitations, and Suicide Squad is simply another example of a universal problem.