Review for Suicide Squad 3D
I’ve come to love 3D Blu-rays. I don’t watch them, I don’t even have a 3D TV, and I’m not alone in that trend of shunning the third dimension when it comes to watching movies. And that is the point. 3D as a format is on its way out again, but that leaves plenty of 3D Blu-rays out there unsold. The point of this is that most of them also have the 2D disc in the case, and you’ll find that the 3D version of a film is cheaper on Blu-ray than buying the 2D version by itself. In the past few months I’ve picked up some half a dozen 3D releases at a fraction of the cost of the 2D versions, and in a couple of cases got additional 2D content that wasn’t available with the standalone 2D releases (Prometheus and Wolverine). Naturally this will be a short lived phenomenon, as fewer films are released in 3D, and existing stocks eventually sell out. But right now when you’re looking to buy a back catalogue Blu-ray, check the price of the 3D release and if it has a 2D disc, as you might make substantial savings.
Getting it cheaply as possible was a primary concern when it came to Suicide Squad. Despite the comparative lack of success when it comes to the DC Universe compared to the Marvel Universe, I tend to gravitate towards the DC movies, perhaps because there are fewer of them. It doesn’t take me long to list Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Suicide Squad and Justice League, whereas if I try the same with the MCU, I’ll miss half of them out for sure without resorting to Google. That the DC movies are easier to collect is true, but I have to say that they aren’t easy to watch. So far the only really positive experience I’ve had is with the Wonder Woman movie and that only in comparison to the Man of Steel and its sequel. Given what I’ve read and heard about Suicide Squad, I wasn’t expecting much. Still, a movie centred on a group of super-villains, and not exactly a-grade supervillains at that (I’d only heard of one of them before watching this film), ought to provide a different experience from the average comic book movie, right?
Superman came, and the world changed. Then Superman died, and the world changed again. Now the threat to security comes from meta-humans, beings with fantastic powers, and against them there’s hardly anyone left standing, certainly no one sharing the values of the Stars and Stripes. If there are no heroes, then the government will turn instead to the villains. The perfect assassin Deadshot, and the Joker’s sidekick and lover Harley Quinn are currently in custody alongside a handful of other special villains, held in a maximum security facility. The plan is to use these villains, controlled with explosive implants to battle otherworldly danger when it strikes. The program is barely authorised when the first crisis occurs in Midway City. The soldier sent to lead this Suicide Squad, Rick Flag has a personal reason to lead this mission.
There are three discs in this Amaray case, the 3D disc, the 2D theatrical version (122:53), and the 2D extended version (134:32). I’m going to get all of the pain out of the way in one go, and watch the extended version for this review.
The 2D discs present the film with a 2.40:1 widescreen 1080p transfer. The extended version gets Dolby Atmos English audio with English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish subtitles. The theatrical version is a little more profligate with options, Dolby Atmos English, DD 5.1 Surround English Audio Descriptive, Italian and Spanish, as well as DD+ 7.1 Surround Spanish, with subtitles in these and the Scandinavian languages. This isn’t a disc that you’ll poke holes at when it comes to the technical presentation. The transfer may as well be pixel perfect, while the surround is truly immersive and brings out the sound design with excellent clarity. Suicide Squad isn’t quite as eye-poppingly colourful as the Marvel franchise, but it does dial down the bleak of Man of Steel and its sequel. It has a subdued tone to it that might suggest a little grittiness and realism, but it maintains a heightened sense of reality for the larger than life characters and action. The dialogue is clear, the action comes across well, and the film has the kind of eclectic music soundtrack that inspires you to open your wallet and seek out a download or a CD.
You get 3 discs in a BD Amaray, with two on a centrally hinged panel. The case also gets an o-card slipcover. Good luck with the UV code.
The extras are repeated across the 2D Theatrical and Extended version discs, so you won’t have to disc swap.
Task Force X: One Team, One Mission lasts 23:08.
Chasing the Real (9:37)
Joker & Harley: “It” Couple of the Underworld (14:29)
Squad Strengths and Skills (9:00)
Armed to the Teeth (11:48)
This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad (10:54)
The Squad Declassified (4:19)
Gag Reel (2:04)
You won’t be shocked when I tell you that I wasn’t moved to watch any of the featurettes that accompany the movie.
It predates this film by just six months, but Deadpool set the bar pretty high for comic book antihero movies, not that we are regaled with that particular genre. It gave me the expectation that a film like Suicide Squad would similarly defy the rules, deliver some anarchy, go to some dark places, and be unpredictable. These are villains after all, the worst of the worst. It’s not that. Instead Suicide Squad is very predictable; it’s trite, saccharine, and utterly unsatisfying. I knew when it came to it, that this film would be bad; I wasn’t living under a rock after all, and I had encountered the reviews when it first came out. I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad though.
There is nothing new or adventurous about Suicide Squad. This film isn’t breaking any rules or thumbing its nose at the establishment. It’s merely another take on The Dirty Dozen. Trouble hits, the kind of trouble that the regular forces are ill-equipped to handle, so a group of convicts are conscripted to do the dirty work, easy to disavow if things go wrong, and promised time off their sentence if they succeed. And to keep them on a leash, they have explosive implants designed to detonate at the push of a button, to ensure that the villains don’t get villainous at any point. This neuters the whole point of the film, and also reminds you that you should be re-watching Escape from New York at this point. Naturally, the least useful of the squad tries to escape at some point, and gets his head blown off, just to reiterate their jeopardy.
Speaking of neutering, the film forgets the maxim of ‘show, don’t tell’ when it opens with the Machiavellian boss of the Suicide Squad introducing her unwitting recruits to the government, going through their files and their backgrounds, most notably their significant relationships. We’re told about Deadshot’s daughter, we’re told about Rick Flag’s deep love for June Moone, and we’re told about Harley Quinn’s obsessive devotion to The Joker. This has the effect of undercutting any character development; indeed it’s hard to take any of it seriously.
These supervillains have human faces applied to them, to make them acceptable protagonists, they’re hardly anti-heroes anymore. Deadshot may be the ultimate assassin, but if his sole motivation is caring for his daughter, how can he be a villain? So, the lovesick bad ass soldier leads this crew of villains on a rescue mission into a city under siege, where they get to fight the faceless minions of the film’s antagonist, showing off their badassery, until a point where truths are revealed, allegiances are betrayed, and the bad guys have their chance to get away. But these are all villains with hearts of gold, and through the goodness behind their villainous visages, they all choose to do the right thing and save the world. I was retching at this point.
There is one, true, unneutered villain in the film, Joker, who flits in and out of the story at a whim; except he’s played by Jared Leto, who is the least convincing screen Joker to date. He’s just a regular, unhinged psycho in weird make-up and green hair, and he lacks the mania and intensity that I’ve come to associate with the Joker character.
There’s really only one good thing about this movie, and that is Harley Quinn. She’s sassy, brazen, colourful, enough of a well-defined character to stand out among the rest of the cast. It’s no surprise that she got her own spin-off movie, although having said that, I can’t explain how a sequel to Suicide Squad got greenlit, even if it is directed by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. But one thing that Harley Quinn lacks in this film is a sense of danger. There’s no threat from the character. She’s tame, she’s someone doing a Harley Quinn cosplay, doing it really well to be sure, but a pretence nevertheless. I kind of wish she was more like Lori Petty’s Tank Girl, who even in captivity, surrounded by guards, and with the expectation of certain death took the time to break one of their necks. You know that Suicide Squad is bad if it makes me think favourably of Tank Girl.
So Will Smith plays Will Smith again, and Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress disco dances while delivering ominous ultimatums (one of the weirdest moments in the film). There is very little in this utterly predictable movie that redeems it. I only saw the extended version, which apparently adds more in the way of Leto’s Joker. Maybe the theatrical version will be better without that, but I have no intention of finding out.