Last night I got to see the latest and much anticipated geek parade that was Suicide Squad and while watching it I started to notice a trend in a lot of these more recent films.
I had been looking forward to Suicide Squad immensely as so far the new DC cinematic universe hadn’t exactly blown me away. I found Man Of Steel to be a very po faced and clunky mess of a film which had a great concept but awful execution. Batman V Superman was better but suffered from similar problems and although a lot of these were rectified in the really decent Ultimate Edition (I liked it better than Civil War) it still suffered from some really stupid parts and decisions.
So far the entire DCCU has been helmed by director Zach Snyder and so I was curious to see what a different person in the captain’s chair would do with this subject matter.
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t really think the film was very good. It felt like a montage of music videos clumsily glued together and I’d say it had even worse pacing than Man of Steel. The editing was dreadful and the film almost rips off Escape From New York on more than one occasion. The dialogue was pretty much reduced to one liners and the focus was 90% on Deadshot and Harley with the others like Killer Croc really doing pretty much piss all.
If ever a word could define this film then that word would be “Choppy”.
It’s saving grace is that the actual characters are great. Margot Robbie stole the show and really channelled the character of Harley with her facial expressions and body language. Will Smith is humorous at times and feels the most fleshed out next to Harley & The Joker. Speaking of which, Jared Leto’s Joker was……..fine, although it’s hard to get away from that Macauley Culkin in cosplay feel. The look is certainly off a bit. I was never a fan of the face tattoos and the hair is too bright and maybe should’ve had been dyed darker and had some receding shaved into it. Regardless the performance was good and I quite like mob boss Joker.
While watching the film I was suddenly struck with a terrific sense of deja vu. I had seen this before and I don’t mean the film.
What I do mean is that there has been a string of releases which have had great characters but are in really bad films. To me it 100% feels like studio execs just can’t keep their grubby little paws off of a film and this is the result. I can’t believe that the art of editing has gotten this bad and so I can only assume it was a deliberate move with the intent of releasing another Ultimate Edition later down the line and if that’s true then it’s a really bad trend.
Films should be complete when they hit the cinema. Special editions, directors cuts etc. should only be released to show original visions and scenes that were thought to be lost etc. Not to milk the cash cow.
It’s a very accurate reflection of today’s product world. When you buy something chances are there will be a fault with it that can be patched and so quality control has gone right out the window. Games are released with masses of bugs that will be sorted with updates meaning that what the user is actually getting is a product that is still in development and we are essentially doing unpaid testing and research.
I see that trend happening in the film world and it’s worrying. Batman v Superman got slaughtered in the ratings and reviews but if they had just released the Ultimate Edition cut in the cinema then it would have been fine. Unfortunately greed won the day as usual. There is only so many time a cinema can show a film in a day and so hacking half an hour out means they can show it more times due to the trimmed runtime and therefore make more money. It’s a ghastly habit that seems to be becoming more popular and is almost an exact definition of art compromised by greed.
What next…DLC for films? Paying to get that extra half hour of footage or that deleted scene?
Don’t put it past them, if they get a whiff that fans would pay for it (and a lot of the more rabid DC fans would) then they will fucking well try it.
I was watching Woody Allen films yesterday before watching Suicide Squad and although they may be very different types of movies the concepts of structure, narrative and pace are the same. The dialogue alone is enough to carry a Woody Allen film but aside from some nice characterisations there is nothing captivating about Suicide Squad at all, nothing to hold an interest bar waiting for the next snippet of Joker time or the shot of Harley’s ass (of which there are a few……lowest common denominator and all that!)
The film world has been an exiting place the last few years. Absolute gems like Whiplash, The Revenant and The Hateful Eight has shown that truly great film making is alive and kicking but often comic book films seem to get this free ticket that allows them to ‘slack off’ or ‘get away with things’.
“It’s just a comic book film, what do you expect?” seems to be the typical statement and my answer would be “A lot fucking more than this!”
I see no reason why these kinds of films should not be held up to the same high standards and expectations as others movies with regards to the competency of the construction but it’s looking more and more like the men in suits are happy with “That’ll do….for now!” a lot more often these days.