Monday, August 8, 2016

Harley Quinn #30 (Or, A Review of Suicide Squad, the movie (And Maybe A Bit On Preacher Too))

I'm going to get Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea tattooed down my arms and legs! So sexy!

The Review or Whatever!
Hillary Clinton and the Suicide Squad movie have something in common. Whenever anybody expresses their appreciation for either, they begin by starting on the defensive and admitting that they have their flaws. Well, fuck that. And fuck all of you assholes who fall into a culture of allowing the idiotic naysayers to control the conversation. If you want to discuss what you love about something, just fucking discuss what you love about it. You don't need to pay lip service to the future assholes who are going to bombard you with negative bullshit. Don't point out you know the flaws in some misguided need to seem impartial or more intelligent than somebody who only sees one side. If you want to talk about the things you love about Hillary and/or the Suicide Squad, just do that. If you want to talk about the flaws in a more critical piece, you can do that to! But if what you want to say is you enjoyed the Suicide Squad (I'm leaving Hillary behind at this point because this is a comic book blog and not a political blog!), you absolutely do not have to begin with "I know it has its flaws but...". Don't let the scumbags of the world dictate the conversation! Think about it this way: if a person doesn't have the intelligence or the imagination or the willingness to try to find the good in something, they're not much of a critic. It's easy to fall back on common movie criticisms rather than spending some time getting into film and dissecting the things that bothered you about it. And it's good eyeballs to your page if you can think up some really hyperbolic ways to say that there was no plot or there were too many characters or the movie relied on too much exposition. And if you say it loudly enough and with enough cosmic vitriol, people will parrot the statements without ever feeling the need to see the movie. Or, like good little idiots, they'll go see the movie with your comments already firmly enmeshed in their psyche and they won't turn on their brains to come up with their own opinions.

Suicide Squad is not a bad movie. It's far from a bad movie. It's a fucking enjoyable movie and I wonder if the people hating it are subconsciously tuning in to its heavy criticism of America? Because Suicide Squad has a few things to say about America and most of those things said overuse the phrase "cunty cunts" quite a bit. I mean, metaphorically! I should maybe say the movie criticizes the government but, subconsciously or consciously, most people wouldn't mind a movie criticizing the government. So I'm just going to stick with my theory that it criticizes America as a whole and hope I can come up with some examples as I blather. There is a plot to Suicide Squad but plot is often poison and it's just the deal a two hour movie makes with an audience that the movie will have a format that they're comfortable with. Love story that ends well? Check! Big bad monster that gets defeated? Check! I was hoping to insert a third typical movie plot but I think mainstream American film only has those two. If you want any others, you'll have to watch independent movies and then you'll get things like, "Guy goes crazy from contemplating math and drills a hole in his head? Check!" Or "Guy fucks up his life traveling through time and has to escape as a third or fourth version of himself to watch from the outside and offer advice to his self still trapped in the struggle of righting the sinking ship of his life? Check!" Or "Man dying in the electric chair imagines his life as a younger, totally different actor? Check!"

I want to talk a bit about Preacher before I continue to talk about Suicide Squad! The first season of Preacher has no plot. It feels like it has a plot. It seems like it has a plot. There's plenty of story arcs that feel fulfilled by the time the season comes to an end. But guess what? It doesn't have a plot! I know, I know! You're telling me all kinds of things about the story right now in your desperation for me to be wrong! Jesse Custer comes back home to fulfill his promise to his dying father to be good and he fails. That's not a plot! Tulip O'Hare comes back into Jesse's life to get him to kill the guy that caused them to lose their baby and, well, fails, really. Cassidy...well, I don't think Cassidy was meant to have a plot. And Arseface just goes to hell. And the mascots hang themselves in a repressed homosexual suicide pact. And Quincannon never finds faith. And the whole town just gets wiped off the map by an industrial nuclear meat accident. I mean, sure, there's story! There's a whole lot of story. But the plot of the first season of Preacher wasn't the point. The point of Season One was to tell Season Two. Because here's what Season One did that will make the telling of Season Two easy: it spent ten episodes allowing Tulip, Cassidy, and Jesse to bond. Season One is simply about cementing their friendship and allowing us to understand why they're a tight, got-each-other's-backs crew. say! You say there was more, maybe? It couldn't be just that? Au contraire, mein amigo! There's a reason all of the characters and the town were completely wiped off the face of the Earth in the last episode. Because they weren't needed anymore. They didn't matter. They weren't a part of the real story and that story is about Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy. Yes, there is also the Saint of Killers. But he had his own separate story interwoven through the season and holy fuck was that well executed! And there's also the surviving angel and his comic books. Sometimes you just need somebody to luckily survive life, just to show it can be done.

Preacher was my example of how something doesn't have to be plot based. It was simply about establishing some characters and getting them to a point where we understand who they are when they go on the plot-driven part of the story where they search for God. Suicide Squad is like that. We're given a film that sets up a group of characters for when they're ready to go on their first mission in the sequel. Yes, I said first mission. We can hardly call what happened in this first movie a mission! This is where the critique of the American government comes in. What we have for a "mission" in this film is simply the United States Government cleaning up its own mess while portraying the danger as a threat from outside the country. Just slap the label terrorism on your governmental screw-up and then be the hero when you've fixed it! Just another day in the life of the good old U. S. of A. Without Enchantress on the Squad, none of this would have happened and there would have been no need for the Squad. Therefore, no plot.

But let me say that again: without Enchantress on the Squad, none of this would have happened and there would have been no need for the Squad. In other words, Amanda Waller gets her Squad by forcing the United States Government into a position where they need her Squad because her Squad has put them in danger. If you're not familiar with Amanda Waller from Ostrander's Suicide Squad, you might not readily buy into the idea that Waller knew Enchantress would go rogue and that she would be the catalyst for the government sanction of Task Force X. If you are familiar with that Amanda, you were just thinking while watching the movie, "Of course!" But Waller isn't just a Machiavellian narcissist who simply wants what she wants. She also actively believes that Task Force X is what the country needs and that she is helping the country. Knowing that Enchantress is a danger to the entire world and that it's only a matter of time before she loses control of her, Amanda is also setting up the scenario to end that threat. By causing the threat, she preemptively sets about ending it before it can do so out of her control of the situation. And she also gets her Task Force while doing it.

Is that too convoluted a take on the movie? Maybe. But the movie works in this context and it works because it's what Amanda Waller does. She controls and she manipulates and she believes pretty fucking mightily in her ability to so.

I've seen several reviews where people state that you wouldn't have much movie without Harley, Deadshot, and Waller. That might be the dumbest thing I've ever read because guess what? Citizen Kane wouldn't be much of a movie without Charles Foster Kane, Jerry Thompson, and Rosebud! The fucking movie was about them! I've never seen a movie more harshly criticized by pointing out that the supporting roles were too supporting. And how about the people who didn't understand Slipknot's role in the film? He wasn't just there to be a casualty. And he also wasn't just there to prove that the nanobombs were real. Yes, that was his main role. But the main, main role was to help establish Captain Boomerang's personality. Boomerang doesn't believe the bombs aren't real. He's as unsure as the rest of them. So he weighs up his compatriots, finds the weakest willed one he can manipulate into believing they can escape, half-heartedly attempts that escape knowing Slipknot was conveniently introduced as the man who can escape from anything, and waits to see if Slipknot's head explodes or not. In a sense, Slipknot was Fridged simply to add to Boomerang's character. Slipknot died for the greater good of making Boomerang that much better.

Back to the main characters though! This really was Deadshot, Harley, and Waller's movie. I suppose it was Diablo's movie as well but I don't really care about him and he's dead now and won't be in the sequel which, as I've said, is when the plot begins. The audience finds out the least about Waller. We learn she's ruthless and manipulative, willing to do anything to get what she wants. But we don't get to know much about her personally. That's fair because it's not needed. We know about as much as the Squad and she isn't meant to be sympathetic. Getting into her personal business would muddy the waters at this point. That's for future movies. For now, she's exactly who we see on screen killing FBI Agents because they saw too much. Pretty fucking horrible person, right? But a terrific character! Deadshot's story involves a child and love of the child and whatever. I know his child is carrot on Amanda's stick but I would have liked to see more of the "I want to die" Deadshot.

As for Harley, I think the filmmaker's made the biggest mistake with her story. The film should not end with The Joker breaking her out of prison. The film should end with Harley realizing The Joker never gave a shit about her. He leaves her underwater and stuck in the windshield of the car when Batman apprehends her. He uses her to kill rivals. He thrills at the idea of somebody living completely for his whims. But he's also very possessive of her. Trying to get her out of the grip of the Squad, I can understand. But the filmmaker's missed a great opportunity to have Harley really become a member of the Squad and to leave Gotham and Mister J behind. When they were escaping on the helicopter, Harley should have said something about liking Deadshot (in just a friendly, made a new friend kind of way) which should have triggered The Joker's anger. They should have argued and then The Joker should have somehow used Harley against her will so that he could survive being shot down in the helicopter. She should have realized he didn't care and that would have cemented her willingness to be part of this new family. It was almost as if the filmmakers decided The Joker and Harley Quinn were a love story when they are exactly not that at all.

Speaking of love stories, June Moon should have died along with the Enchantress. The Suicide Squad is not about happy endings. It isn't about the bad guys feeling uplifted that Flag's lover (aka Flag's carrot on Amanda's stick) survived. When June Moon came back, they should have at least all rolled their eyes and made jerking off motions with their hands. Or at least Boomerang should have.

Anyway, yes, I would have loved more characterization of Boomerang and more scenes of Katana speaking Japanese. But I won't fault a movie for not delivering the things I craved more of after leaving the theater. Remember when that craving used to be a good thing? Now what? We expect every fucking thing we can think of on a platter? Movies are not twelve episodes of a Netflix superhero show binged in one evening. Fuck, I wish Suicide Squad would have been that! I'll take a twelve episode season over a movie every single fucking time! But we got the movie and it fit in well with the Death of Superman and the Batman of the new DC movie universe and I, for one, have never been more excited about the future of DC movies. All y'all haters can spit and spin. Yes, I said spit. Because you're going to need some lube for your asshole.

Do I even have the space for a review of the final issue of New 52 Harley Quinn? Let me read it and I'll get back to you!

No truer words have ever been said, The Penguin! And I don't just mean to Harley. We should all have this quote plastered on on our bathroom mirrors. Just as a little reminder to our day!

Harley is out watching a movie with her friends and other characters written and/or drawn by Jimmy and/or Amanda. The movie is called The Kill Yourself Crew and it sounds terrible. Just the worst movie ever made, probably. Like a dumpster fire started inside another dumpster that was on fire and somebody dropped a dumpster on fire to try to fight the dumpster fire with dumpster fire.

After exiting the theater to get popcorn and not being able to find her way back, Harley gets pissed on by an old man. Oh Harley! Such shenanigans!

Except the old man peeing on her was just her own pee dream because she's actually chained to a tree in Brooklyn to save it from a bulldozer. Oh Harley! Such shenanigans!

Except Harley has to go to work so she has an encounter on the subway with some horrible manspreader. Oh Harley! Such shenanigans! Get use to it! It's "Oh Harley! Such shenanigans!" all the way down from here!

Except Harley winds up investigating phone scams bilking old people out of their life savings. Oh Harley! Such shenanigans!

Except Harley has to help an old guy depressed over losing his pet parakeet. Or his wife? Oh Harley! Such shenanigans! (I warned you!)

Except Harley kills a construction worker just trying to do his job. Oh Harley! Such shenanigans! Is murder a shenanigan? I think in Harley's case, it is.

Except then she goes to have a drink at a bar while she waits to fuck Poison Ivy. Oh Harley! I hope those wind up being on-panel shenanigans!

I have a better version of this joke! "A grasshopper walks a bar. The bartender says, "Hey! We have a drink named after you!" The grasshopper says, "You have a drink named Tom Collins?!" No wait! This one is better! Batman walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Hey! We have a drink named after you!" And Batman says, "You have a drink named a Bruce Wayne?"

Harley and Poison Ivy never get around to fucking before the issue ends. Why wasn't this issue one page longer?! Jerks.

No comments:

Post a Comment