A cast of bad guys – outright villains, misfits, killers and sociopaths each with a unique mind-set and world view – are gathered by a morally ambiguous government agent to rid a town from an evil worse than even their own members. Along the way they bicker, fight and some of them die. But eventually they become a team!
The film was called “The Dirty Dozen”.
Regular readers of this blog know I rarely go to movies on the first week. By the time I see a movie so has most of the rest of the world.
That has its advantages: smaller crowds, shorter lines; but – most importantly – by the time I get around to reviewing the movie most of the spoilers have already been spoiled! But I will still try to warn you in advance.
I saw “Suicide Squad” with low expectations. The critics savaged the film. The only ones who seemed to like it were the same cheerleaders that thought “Batman vs Superman” was the epic of their generation.
You might even say I went to the movie expecting to dislike it: Movies based on DC’s superheroes have been very dark of late. And I like neither dark superheroes nor dark superhero movies.
So imagine how I felt when they announced a movie featuring DC Villains and based on a comic that is, by this time, sloshed with the uber-violent fare typically vomited upon the comic-book-buying public.
The usual group of … Hmm, what would the collective noun be for the fans of dark DC – the films of late, most of the “New 52” comic … ah, got it!
The usual goth of DC Dark fans have drooled over every preview and picture since the movie was announced.
I kept quiet. I chose to neither get excited over the movie nor to actively say I was not going to see it. But truthfully? Had my friend not invited me to an afternoon matinee, I might never have seen it.
I liked the movie! It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a perfect movie. No movie is perfect.
Okay, Godfather I & II are perfect … but you know what I mean.
Let’s go back and do a primer on what the Suicide Squad is …
The Suicide Squad debuted in the comic book the Brave & the Bold #25 in 1959. It had only four members, including Commander Flag, but they were all normal humans – although all were experts in their field (astrophysics, etc.). They fought the bug-eyed monsters typical of the era – intelligent dinosaurs, aliens, beings from the center of the earth, etc. They appeared in only six issues.
The Suicide Squad disappeared until 1987, when they showed up in their own magazine. This group was firmly ensconced in the super-hero genre. As with the movie Amanda Waller gathered a group of bad guys to fight global threats. Waller said in issue #1: “the administration needs something they can disavow if things go wrong. That’s us.” Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and the Enchantress among others were in that first issue. It lasted 66 issues.
Back to the movie …
So we have the evil (and we see her being truly soulless in a few scenes) Amanda Waller gathering a group of villains to fight worse bad guys led by a morally bankrupt soldier.
It’s “The Dirty Dozen”. Before that it was “The Magnificent Seven”; and before that it was “Seven Samurai”.
In fact, one of the previews shown in my theater was the remake of “The Magnificent Seven” with Denzel Washington, et. al. Tip to DC Entertainment: Don’t remind us of a legendary film, even a remake (which itself has BIG shoes to fill), before showing us your movie… Do you REALLY want us to compare them?
We have old Batman villain Deadshot, “new” (the last thirty years is hardly “new”, but I am an old fart) Batman villains Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, Flash rogue Captain Boomerang, El Diablo (a villain who debuted in 2011 in the Suicide Squad comic. This was DC’s third character named El Diablo. The first was a GREAT Weird Western star that should have gotten more page time in the 1970s), the Enchantress – who started life in 1966 as a macabre hero until the character was completely rebooted in 2011, and Firestorm baddie Slipknot.
Along the way we meet Katana, a samurai-sword wielding hero used as Flag’s back-up in case any of the bad guys get uppity. Her sword contains the souls of everyone the sword has killed, including her husband. She talks to her husband. That’s about all we know of her in the movie. Coincidentally, her comic book debut was in Brave & Bold #200, the same comic book that debuted the Suicide Squad 20+ years earlier.
The Enchantress was in the group, but very quickly defected. It seems the chief bad guy is her brother. Blood is thicker than … gallons of blood.
END OF SPOILER
In the movie they were gathered to fight off future threats to earth. What if the next Superman was a bad guy? How can we fight an evil Superman?
With bullets, boomerangs and a baseball bat, apparently.
But how will they be able to control this group of killers?
In the best Amanda Waller way: threaten them! “We know about your daughter. We will reduce your sentence. And ALL of you have implants at the base of your skull that will blow your head off if you disobey.”
Sorry, Dirty Dozening again…
This time it is not an alien threat but a demon from earth’s past. He and his sister are in Midway City (the home of DC’s Hawkman, although he is never mentioned) building a machine to take over the world.
So our heroes – er – villains take on the demonic duo.
Along the way they bicker, fight and some of them die. But eventually they become a team!
More thoughts next time.
Corporate whore department: If you are interested in the original Suicide Squad, Katana or the Brave and the Bold comic book -read my free ebook available at Barnes & Noble! http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-brave-and-the-bold-michael-curry/1120872264?ean=2940046443011
Original Material Copyright Michael Curry 2016