Aug 10, 2021
Suicide Squad (2016): a recap (part 7 of 9)
Antecedently on Suicide Squad: The chips are down for our plucky band of felons. Waller’s been kidnapped and mind-probed. Joker’s escape attempt went awry; he got in a helicopter crash *snicker* and he’s *snort* totally dead, for serious. Enchantress got her heart back and now she and her overprotective big brother are going to use their giant glowing clockwork doo-bob to do some unspecified bad thing to the world. A demoralized Colonel Flag broke his head-blower-upper, dissolved the team, and consigned the world to a magic apocalypse.
But all is not lost! For you see, the hardened amoral scumbags brought together by circumstance and forced to fight together spent ten minutes shooting the shit at a bar and now they’re close friends who would do anything for each other. So when Deadshot decides to earn his daughter’s love by confronting the witch and saving the world, the Squad thinks nothing of going along with him to their almost certain deaths.
The Squad go outside and do their best Warriors walk, flanked by a maddeningly inconstant number of soldiers. Captain Boomerang, who did a bunk the second Flag smashed his wrist computer, appears out of nowhere and joins them. Mind you, he wasn’t there for Deadshot’s dramatic come-to-Jesus moment (just a metaphor here, although Deadshot weirdly mentions the Bible a lot, and has a Bible verse stitched into his costume). It seems we’re supposed to assume that Boomie’s just gotten enough beer in him to charge gleefully into danger.
They arrive at the subway station where the huge light shaft is originating. Boomerang gets out a special gadget of his: a boomerang equipped with a camera that can broadcast a 1080p video feed to his phone. I’m really interested in how the camera stays so steady while attached to a boomerang rotating several times a second. I’m even interested-er in why Boomerang has a phone when he came here directly from jail.
He chucks the boomerang through a broken window, and luckily enough, that’s the exact room where the huge-ass machine is. Flag asks Boomerang to zoom in on the video, and he sees Enchantress in front of the machine, as well as her brother Chester, who sees the boomerang and destroys it with a tentacle.
Oh man, the Wonder Twins know someone’s outside now! And they know their machine’s been studied! The jig’s up! Any moment there’ll be a swarm of tar mummies to defend the machine against intruders! Or maybe Chester will just step outside by himself and murder them all! Any… minute… now.
Huh. Okay, they went back about their business. Boomerangs must just fly randomly through subway stations all the time. I live in the Midwest and I don’t ride subways; please correct me if that’s not the case.
“We gotta take out the big one,” Deadshot says. “I left a big-ass demo charge down in that subway,” Flag says. He formulates a plan to send some SEALs (yes, they have SEALs) down into a flooded subway tunnel, pick up the bomb, and set it off under Chester. Okay, that part I get.
But then Flag says that they need to distract Chester while the swimmers move into place underneath him. I don’t know why they need to do this. There’s nothing leading us to believe that Chester can somehow sense people if they get directly beneath him. Flag and Moone were in that very tunnel earlier, before it flooded, and nothing happened. In fact, looking back on it, they could’ve set off the bomb then and there. It probably would’ve worked even better then because there was no water to absorb any of the bomb’s concussive force. I must be missing something; this movie would never play fast and loose with logic just to set up a dramatic showdown, right?
The SEALs get their scuba gear on by the flooded stairwell. Killer Croc starts to disrobe, announcing his intention to go with them. “We got this,” one says.
“I’m not askin'”, Croc says. “I live underground. Y’all are just tourists.”
Okay, man, we get that you want to be even the slightest bit useful, but superior swimming and diving have not been established as powers that you have. Even if we assume this guy has all of a crocodile’s powers, then yes, crocodiles can stay underwater for a long time, but only when they stay still and shut off bloodflow to non-vital areas, not when they’re actively swimming. Whatever. Fuggit. No one cares.
The Squad is in a hallway, topping off their magazines and sharpening their knives. Katana has her sword unsheathed. The blade is smoking, and she’s tearfully conversing in Japanese with it. “My darling husband, if I die in battle, we will finally be together,” she sobs.
“The people who killed her husband used that sword,” Flag says. “His soul’s trapped inside. She talks to him.” Well, if that’s the case, it’s kind of rude of her to keep killing criminals with the sword. Who needs company like that? Plus, in order be together in the afterlife, wouldn’t she need to kill herself with the sword?
“Hey, well… you know what they say about the crazy ones,” Boomerang quips. Wait. Are we to interpret that to mean that the whole sword-steals-souls thing is just a superstition of hers? For shit’s sake, can’t this movie go two seconds without undercutting itself?
They march down the hallway. Everything’s covered in black, vaguely fungal-looking stalactites where Chester’s magic phallus hit it. There’s half a soldier’s body partially disintegrated and blobbed into a wall. Oh my God, this rules. It’s the single coolest visual in the entire movie, and it’s over in a second.
It reminds me a lot of the fungal wall corpse from Annihilation, which came out two years later. The idea that anyone wanted to imitate or pay homage to Suicide Squad makes me feel like I need a shower, but here we are.
“You gonna fight with us?” Deadshot asks Diablo.
“What if I lose control?” Diablo snivels. God damn dude, just try not being the worst for two seconds. You’re the only one with a real superpower. Fucking step up.
Deadshot’s not worried. If Diablo loses control, he says, “[t]hen maybe we’ll have a chance.” They get to the huge room with the machine in it without encountering a single tar mummy or enemy of any kind. Meanwhile, in the flooded tunnel, Croc and the SEALs are dealing with a whole lot of them. Figure that one out.
In the big room, here’s a column of light and a lot of unconnected pieces making vaguely mechanical motions around it. Enchantress is in front of it doing her best drunk-aunt-at-a-wedding dance, flanked by Chester and exactly eight tar mummies.
“Hey, everyone can see all this trippy magic stuff, right?” Harley asks. “Yeah, why?” asks Flag. “I’m off my meds,” she says with a grin. Ugh. Just ugh.
Because that tack-tastic joke needs a friend, Deadshot tells Flag to march up to his girlfriend and “Smack on her ass. Tell her, ‘knock this shit off'”. “I do not think that’d be wise,” Flag dorks.
Enchantress starts speaking. It seems she knows that the Squad is here. So maybe witches can sense humans nearby? Or more likely, the Squad just sucks at hiding as much as they suck at everything else.
“Why are you here?” Enchantress asks. “Because the soldier led you? And all for Waller. Why do you serve those who cage you?” The sound mixing is weird and you can tell really easily that it’s not Cara Delevigne’s real voice. Also, it seems David Ayer didn’t have the heart to tell her that she looks most evil when she’s got her resting face on, and the eviller she tries to look, the goofier she actually looks.
“I am your ally,” she says, “and I know what you want.” Flag probably should have told all these guys that Enchantress can give you visions, which she does now, allowing us all to see the deepest desire of every member of the Squad.
Deadshot wants to kill Batman. That’s it. Not to reunite with his daughter; she’s nowhere to be seen. Just Deadshot using his Nerf-looking wrist gun to blow holes in Batman. What a dick.
Harley wants to scrub the clown makeup off hers and Joker’s faces, and marry Joker, and be his hair-in-curlers, baby-on-hip suburban housewife while he dons a suit and goes off to work at a normal job.
Flag wants to live in a super-gauzy close-up of himself and June in bed while she tells him he was having a nightmare. And he wants the scene to be so backlit and out-of-focus that it’s hard to tell that June’s lips aren’t moving when she says this. And I think he wants to forget he ever heard the word “reshoot” in his life.
Diablo wants to be back in his pre-torched house, with his uncooked kids asleep on the couch and his pristine old lady handing him a beer with a lime in it (because he’s ¡Latino!) and telling him, “I’ll put the kids to sleep, and then maybe we can kick it?” I think I personally grew out of using “kick it” as a euphemism for sex before I actually started having sex.
Diablo breaks out of the vision. “I can’t change what I did,” he says, “and neither can you!!” He shakes the other guys out of their respective hallucinations and angrily stalks off to confront Enchantress.
“How long have you been able to see?” she asks him.
“My whole life!” Diablo says, revealing himself to be a magic being like Enchantress.
“But it is our time,” Enchantress says. “The sun is setting and the magic rises. The metahumans are a sign of change.” Ah, yes, all the metahumans appearing all of a sudden is a sign that magic is about to take over the Earth again. Metahumans like Wonder Woman (who comes from a metahuman race that’s lived on Earth for thousands of years), Aquaman (ditto), and Superman (who comes from space). Makes perfect sense.
Enchantress calls out to Chester and he stomps grumpily over to confront them. He proves himself invulnerable to Deadshot’s guns, Boomerang’s boomerangs, and Harley’s feminine charms. At one point Katana manages to cut off Chester’s hand, but he immediately grows another. Chester, for his part, politely smacks them around and sends them flying instead of disintegrating them all instantly with his orange magic vines.
“We gotta get him in that corner!” Flag says. “That’s where the bomb will be.” Speak of the devil: down in the tunnel, the SEALs have found the bomb, but they’ve been besieged by swimming tar-mummies. Killer Croc sacrifices himself to the mummy swarm so that the SEALs can swim away with the bomb. Ordinarily in this kind of movie, you can’t assume anyone’s dead if you don’t actually see their dead body, but clearly no one cares about Killer Croc.
“I’ll do it!” Diablo says. “I’ll get him there. I already lost one family, I ain’t gonna lose another!” Oh, you guys are family all of a sudden? Barf. So unearned.
Diablo allows himself to lose control and turns into a twelve-foot-tall flaming Aztec skeleton in a headdress.
“It’s on, bitch,” he says, and not in the crazy witch language that Enchantress and Chester have been speaking, but plain old Spanish.
Diablo and Chester fight. He launches plumes of fire at him, and punches and kicks him some. The rest of the Squad cheers him on. “Move him over to the corner!” Flag shouts, and Diablo grapples with Chester and pushes him over there. He lays his hand on Chester’s chest and melts right through his armor and makes flames spout out his mouth. For a second it looks like he may kill Chester by himself.
But for no readily identifiable reason, Diablo runs out of Witch Juice. His fire goes out and he transforms back into a regular human. Chester pushes him to the floor and puts his hand around his neck. By now, Flag’s gotten word over the radio that the bomb’s in position. He yells at Diablo to get out. Diablo says, “Blow it!” Reluctantly, Flag gives the order, and Chester and Diablo are blown to witch sticks.
Chester’s down, but Enchantress isn’t out.
Keep the dial to this station this time next week for the thrilling conclusion of Suicide Squad!