Jan 2, 2020
Suicide Squad (2016): a recap (part 3 of 9)
Previously on Suicide Squad: Government stooge (and three-time Detective Wyms Cosplay Contest runner-up) Amanda Waller wanted to protect America from a hypothetical terrorist threat by a Superman-type figure. To that end, she assembled a team of lame-o supervillains with bargain-bin superpowers who, in a fight, would last maybe five extra seconds before becoming paste under Superman’s fingernails. Well, check that—there’s one member of the team who might hold her own against a metahuman, but she’s so obviously about to turn evil she doesn’t merit consideration.
Amanda flies to Belle Reve, the black-site prison from the opening scenes. She lands on an airstrip they’ve built right next to the prison, which makes sense because prisons get so much air traffic, and swamps are such awesome places to build airstrips.
They’re greeted on the runway by Officer Douchecanoe himself. (I actually caught his character’s real name on a rewatch, but I don’t see what could be gained by using it.) Being a douchecanoe, he initially assumes the white dude is in charge, which is especially egregious since Waller looks severe and professional to a fault and Flag looks like he should be smoking weed in a Wal-Mart parking lot someplace. Dr. Moone is also here for some reason, eyeing the proceedings browfully.
The first person Waller sees is Harley Quinn. In some scenes of this film, Harley has an exaggerated Bronx accent (one of her trademarks since her debut on Batman: The Animated Series). She does not have it in this scene. In my official Suicide Squad drinking game, “Harley loses/regains her accent” occupies the “finish your drink” space.
“Are you the devil?” she asks, mouth agape. “Maybe,” Waller says.
Flag, meanwhile, goes to fetch Killer Croc, who’s in his sewer doing the worst push-ups I’ve ever seen. He growls at Flag a bit and tries to scare him, but Flag stays cool. “Why’d they put you down here?” he asks. “I asked,” he says…
…setting up a level of pathos in his characterization that Suicide Squad is 100% unwilling to deliver.
Officer DC takes Waller and Flag to fetch Diablo from an old boiler that serves as his cell. They show him a security video of himself torching an entire prison yard during a riot. The sequence looks cheap and ridiculous. Everything’s obviously green-screened and composited into what looks like a disused high school football field. The rioting prisoners all have the consideration to arrange themselves in a perfect circle the exact diameter of the AoE of Diablo’s powers. Once he torches them, they obligingly disappear so their grisly flaming corpses don’t bump up the movie’s rating. Afterward, he stands cackling and taunting the camera with a fiery “crown” over his head. It’s stupid.
Diablo seems to have mellowed out since then. He refuses to be used as a weapon, lays a whole mopey remorseful pacifist shtick on them, and vows never to raise his fists again. He conjures the word “BYE” in flames. Given this movie’s comic sensibilities, I’m really rather surprised he doesn’t add “FELICIA”.
The next scene sees Officer DC and his men leading Deadshot to a shooting range, which prisons have? A smörgåsbord of guns awaits him, and Flag orders his restraints removed to see what he can do with the assorted weapons. They need a marksman for their anti-Superman team, see, since Superman is so famously vulnerable to bullets.
Deadshot picks up a Colt 1911, and to nobody’s surprise, points it at a certain Canoe of Douche.
Flag tells DC to order his men to stand down, which he grudgingly does. He tells his second-in-command that if Deadshot kills him, “I want you to kill him, then I want you to clear out my browser history.”
Deadshot is unconvinced that he’s not being played; he thinks the gun’s fake. The viewer, meanwhile, is unconvinced that a Will Smith character is actually going to murder anyone on-camera. Dude played the literal Devil and still managed to be huggable. It’s just not in him.
“You’re right.” Waller says. “Why would we give a gun to an infamous hitman? Go ahead. Empty it.” DC is still chattering, and Deadshot squeezes out a shot right by his face, more to shut him up than anything else. The gun is real.
“Y’all jokers must be crazy,” he says, and turns to the targets. In what ends up actually being a pretty cool sequence, Deadshot empties the magazine at the targets, hitting the same spot down to the millimeter every time. He picks one gun after another off the table, smoothly firing at each target in tandem, finally wearing a single clean hole through each of the steel targets.
His skills amply demonstrated, Deadshot starts listing what he wants for his services, which includes a commutation, full custody of his daughter, her full educational expenses paid (“and if her grades start slipping, and she can’t cut it, I need you to white-people that thing. You know how y’all do”) and a swank house in Bel-Air with a butler. Waller is impassive, but Deadshot insists, “That’s my price, sweetie.”
Later on… somewhere?… Flag is furious and lambastes Waller’s nonsensical plan, offering to put together a team of actual soldiers instead of “psychotic, antisocial freaks”.
Waller says that during World War II, the Navy made a deal with the Mafia to protect their ships on the waterfront. “This isn’t World War II,” Flag protests.
“No,” says Waller, “it’s World War III.” Flag demands to know what Waller’s really up to, and I gotta say I’m kinda curious myself. But alas, it’s “need-to-know”. Flag threatens to walk away, so Waller aims square at his (*cough*) heart: “without you minding her, your lady friend stays strapped to a board in a drug-induced coma.”
“They warned me about you,” Flag grumbles. “My dumb ass didn’t believe the stories.”
“Nobody does,” Waller says. Why’s that? Because they don’t make any sense? Because they involve you being pointlessly evil and spinning convoluted webs of deceit and betrayal seemingly for their own sake? Yeah, I can see that.
Aw shee-it, hold on to your crazy bones, because here comes a Joker scene! He’s drawn a smile on his face in marker. He’s arranged all his knives, guns, incense burners [?], booze bottles [??], baby outfits [???], roses [????], and open laptops [??????] into a round pattern on the floor of his penthouse. I’ve watched enough Hoarders to know he’s in a bad way.
A dumpling-headed underling comes into the room and tells him they’ve found Harley. Ah, just in time to figure into the plot; how convenient. “There’s this new law where, if you’re a bad enough bad guy, they stamp ‘terrorist’ on your jacket. They send you to this swamp in Louisiana.” This line sounds like it’s setting up some incisive political satire, which Suicide Squad is 100% unwilling to deliver.
“Bring the car around,” Joker says. “We’re going for a drive.” Then he collapses on the floor and makes a sound like the air being let out of a balloon.
And just like that, we’re in Louisiana again. Officer DC is off-duty, at a blackjack table, with a woman way too hot for him, and losing, of course. He demands the dealer call upstairs and float him some more money, but instead a goon tazes him in the face and drags him off.
Now DC’s in a kitchen, surrounded by casino thugs and being his usual charming self, threats to his life and family notwithstanding. However, when the Joker arrives, he turns on a dime from mouthy and petulant to comically servile. We saw this dynamic between the two established in [SCENE MISSING].
Joker proffers his ring to the actively-shitting-his-pants DC, who kisses it. “I can tell you meant that,” Joker says, breaking into a huge grin and straddling his lap. “You’re gonna be my friend.”
Back in Washington, Flag and Dr. Moone are in a hotel room. Flag gnaws a chicken bone while Moone pretends to sleep. Suddenly, she whispers “Enchantress…” and transforms. Flag pulls a gun on her, and dials Amanda Waller with his other hand. But Enchantress planned for this: she diamond-wipes him into a vision of an incredibly sweaty Dr. Moone on a hospital bed, intubated and IV’ed, with a doctor calling her time of death.
Snap back to reality; oh, there goes sanity; oh, there goes Flag and he choked; he’s so mad cause his ho is enchantin’ him. “What did you do??” he asks. “Shhh” says Enchantress, and teleports away. That’s right, folks: for months she’s been held hostage by a single person, a person she’s sleeping with, to boot; and she just now figured out she can just teleport out of here.
Where’s she going? Find out in the next installment, in which David Ayer accidentally backs his car over this movie’s continuity, and frantically searches the shops for a lookalike.