Director: David Ayer
Oh, I wanted to love this one! I’ll admit- it was entertaining at times. It was well-acted. It had it’s moments but that’s what makes the mess even worse… it had so much potential to be more and it blew it! Actually, what makes it even worse is reading the behind the scenes and everything that went down with the studio.
I don’t know at this point whether the DCU needs to be saved from itself, it’s directors or it’s home studio.
Pretty much everything that’s been written about this movie I agree with. Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis where excellent. I actually enjoyed all the cast (even Cara) but most of the characters were badly underwritten and some just straight up pointless.
Almost everything I enjoyed about this movie was in the trailers, save maybe one joke line. Actually because of all the cuts I was expecting so much more from what I had seen in the trailers. Yes, Jared Leto. He was fine. He easily put his spin on the Joker character but he was barely in it and that leads to the weird/troubling thing.
I’ve been waiting for Harley Quinn for a long time. And her relationship with the Joker and all that comes with it. I get the impression that there was a lot of heavy stuff filmed including him punching her at one point. Now it depends on what you read but almost everything was cut either due to the test audience reactions or the studio just wanting to go for a lighter jokier movie or a combination of both.
I feel like in doing so it comes very close to romanticizing the relationship but it definitely makes it weird. They simply cut too much. They don’t have enough time to explain these two and they don’t give it to them. We’re told that she fell in love with him. The quick scene from the previews implying the electric shocking does make it in but then the acid vats and everything… By cutting so much it tends to make Harley a very glitchy character- which to me makes what Robbie does with her seemingly with sheer talent and charisma even more impressive.
The novelization of the film is apparently based on the original script and it hews much closer to a troubled and disturbing relationship. I really wish DC had introduced these two in a solo film first or gone with the Batman stand alone first. (There’s an Easter Egg in here about Robin- it could have made for one heck of a Batman film and introduction to Harley and this Joker.)
Then there’s the Enchantress/ June Moon. Again, I really like Cara but there was no set-up for this character and there was no motive for what she does. June Moon actually somehow fairs even worse then the Enchantress. I think she had six lines total.
There’s rumors that they scuttled her original introduction for more Deadshoot set-up. Okay, don’t get me wrong. This is the first time I’ve liked Will Smith in a while but Deadshoot’s a pretty normal character for this type of movie. A “bad” guy I’ve seen a lot plus Smith is more than strong enough to pull this off. Cara doesn’t yet have the chops to pull off such a weak character.
I was thinking give June some background and motive. Give her a real reason for ripping the head off that statue. (Some archaeologist right?.) There’s a lot of unpleasant stuff in June/Enchantresses relationship with Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) that doesn’t really get explored. Maybe she was already working for Amanda looking for that kind of power to exploit? Maybe she had lost someone and was angry when she found it? (It’s DC she wouldn’t be the first character to start by losing someone.) A lot could have made the Enchantress work better. That was the real problem for me. She was just kind of there and no one really bothered.
Lastly, the ratings. I should have known something was up when this went PG-13. DC should be R. Suicide Squad should be R. Harley Quinn and the Joker should be R! I thought for sure after the success of Deadpool earlier in the year they would have no problem accepting an R rating for this one but apparently not.
Ugh, so frustrating! This shouldn’t be that hard Warner Brothers!
I don’t want to make it all sound bad. Like I said the performances were there and the movie was fast and entertaining (unlike Batman vs. Superman which was somehow both overstuffed and boring.) I am still down for a Harley Quinn movie- just don’t rush it. Get the script right. Get the tone right.
Yet somehow even after the disappointment I look at the Wonder Woman trailer and think, “Oh, yeah. That will be awesome! That will be the one!”
Recommend: Not really in theaters. As my friend pointed out they’ll probably do the exact same thing they did with BvS and release a Director’s Cut soon enough anyway.