Suicide Squad: DC Settles for Store Brand to Marvel’s Name Brand

Go to your local grocery store and you will be confronted with a host of options on the cereal aisle, the canned goods aisle, and in the frozen food section. You’ll have name brands like Lucky Charms and store brands like Likable Symbols. You’ll have the Red Baron frozen pizzas and the Kroger special. Dr. Pepper is rivaled by Dr. Thunder over in the soft drink aisle. The store brands purport to be the same, but they just are off.

The cereal isn’t as sugary and gets soggy quicker. The soft drink is a bit flat. The pizza lacks some flavor. Clearly, D.C. has decided to settle for being the store brand instead of the name brand. Some people like the store brand. These people typically have poor taste and worse judgment, but to each his own. Thus it is with Suicide Squad. Instead of trying to be the Pepsi to Marvel’s Coke, D.C. is trying to be the Sam’s Cola to Marvel’s Coke.

Just watch the trailer over and over and you’ll be really happy. It has all the claims of being just like Marvel, but when you actually taste the completed project it falls short. The soundtrack makes the movie. I left the theater not quite liking the movie, but also not quite thinking it as terrible as some of the critics said. It was just kinda meh with some laughs along the way.

D.C. seems like it is playing catch up. Instead of slowly building a universe of its own, everything feels rushed. The movie, like Batman vs. Superman, is a series of scenes and montages strung together and occasionally put in slow motion. Everything seems forced and rushed to get us to Justice League. While we might all hope once we get there everything slows down, at this point I think there is no way that happens. D.C. should fire Zack Synder and start over. Keep the actors. Fire the people with the overarching vision.

So the good is Harley Quinn. She’s awesome in the movie. I’d pay to see a movie all by herself. The Joker adds nothing to this movie. He feels shoehorned in. They could have brought him in briefly to explain how Harley became Harley, but otherwise it seems more like a marketing campaign. In fact, there was so much hype over the past year about Jared Leto playing the Joker that you’d think he was a central star to the movie. Nope. He could have been deleted from the movie and nothing would have really changed. Not only that, Leto was not a very good joker at all. He was all the way on the psychotic side with no balance as both Ledger and Nicholson had.

Will Smith did great as Deadshot. I liked him. He and El Diablo both seemed more anti-hero than bad guy. They were good if the latter was under-used. A Deadshot movie would be interesting.

But the story itself? Yeesh. It was rather stupid. Without giving it away, the bad guy can steal a classified book from a vault in Tehran in 10 seconds, but can’t steal what Amanda Waller carries around with her? Really?

Also, the bad guy sucks. Every single scene with the Enchantress feels like 1970’s camp and bad computer graphics. Like several other people said, I really did expect the Ghostbusters to storm into the room and take over. It was that bad.

I would not dissuade you from going to see it. It was an enjoyable late night movie. It was better than Batman vs. Superman. But if you go in expecting Marvel, understand you’re getting the cheap store brand ketchup, not Heinz. It is passable for a ketchup, but not as thick or flavorful or found in quality restaurants across America.

Last thing to note, I agree with all my friends who think D.C. needs to reboot and have real cities. With the exception of Gotham, the whole bit of made up cities is stupid. The movie shows Amanda Waller and crew, at one point, in Washington, D.C. The symbols of the city are used, just like in Superman. But really? We’re not going to call it Washington, D.C.? We’re not going to call Chicago “Chicago”? That’s not just stupid, it is annoying. If we can have Kansas, why do we need Smallville when we could have Council Grove or Hays, actual small town Americas in Kansas?

Oh and P.S.: Ben Affleck really isn’t a bad Bruce Wayne/Batman. Stay for the mid-credit scene.

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Erick Erickson

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