Suicide Squad isn’t a good movie. By now this is merely a statement of the echo chamber that’s been going about the internet through the past week. The movie suffers from lapses in logic (ten seconds after Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, is told to be “fearless” and “crazy” you see her freak out as the car she is in is driven off into the sea) and unnecessary characters (Katana, Capt. Boomerang & whoever Scott Eastwood was supposed to be) amongst the editing and story problems brought on from studio meddling. But amongst the noise in the interwebs there is also that vocal group whose slogan boils down to “Screw the critics, that movie was fun!” But while they might seem off their rocker, they aren’t technically wrong.
They aren’t wrong because the movie wasn’t a dumpster fire.
There were actual parts in the movie that were really fun to watch. Moments like Will Smith’s Deadshot killing monsters on top of a car and Jay Hernandez’s Diablo becoming a…well, a giant fire monster were fun sequences that I was glad to see in a theater. This is the point, however, where the “fun” group loses its way. They have yet to realize that it is in fact possible to be a good movie and a fun movie. They are not two distinct standards. Rather, they are two different dimensions of deciding whether a movie succeeded.
It’s best to think of these in terms of a graph, with “Good” being the X-axis and “Fun” being the Y-axis, creating four separate quadrants. These quadrants (Numbered 1 through 4 starting at the top left going clockwise for those readers who haven’t reached Algebra) will then represent a different a different mixture of these two variables. The two above the X are good, the two right of Y are fun, and their opposites hold. Keeping this in mind, it is then possible to see how to view how “Good” and “Fun” relate to each other.
Let’s start with Quadrant 1, the Good and Fun quadrant. This is where movies like the much comparable Guardians of the Galaxy reside. Of course, don’t fall into the trap and think that since these are the best movies out there. Now, they are the most entertaining movies, as this quadrant is where movies that succeeded at doing what they set out to do reside: great comedies that you put on for friends, horror flicks that make children scared to go out at night, and well told action blockbusters. These are the movies that, once I hear that a friend has never seen a movie, say Aliens or Airplane, that I then kidnap and bring to my house in order for them to share the experience of a great, fun time.
This then brings us to Quadrant 4, the Good, but not entirely Fun, quadrant. These are those great, heavy movies that are meant to emotionally move you in whatever way it wishes, whether it’s to let the audience feel the depths of a person’s loneliness or the destruction of an entire people; pretty Self-explanatory.
Quadrant 3, in contrast to the last two, is full of those abysmal movies that just don’t deserve to be seen by audiences. A movie that’s devoid of fun and poorly made just does not deserve anyone’s precious time and attention.
So that leaves our beloved Suicide Squad to live the rest of its days within the confines of Quadrant 2, the fun, but not good movies. Now, this isn’t Quadrant 3, completely without redeeming qualities, but it is sadly the most disappointing. In a sense, this quadrant is rather miscellaneous, as it ranges from those “so bad they’re good” movies (The Room), to those cool movies without any redeeming value. But they all share the same fault in that they tried but failed to be good. The potential and intention was there, but a huge part was missing that kept it from attaining greatness.
And that was the problem with the movie; there was a skeleton of a great movie in here, but all the parts that possibly could have made it better were left on that cutting room floor. Instead, Suicide Squad falls into the Quadrant of Mediocrity. It tried, it really did, but in a time when much more is demanded of superhero movies, trying just isn’t enough anymore.
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