The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad

Let’s do this. [theme music] I didn’t get out to nearly as many films this year as I would have liked. And many of the films I did see just kind of… ran right through me. Well, so, ‘Under the Shadow’ was a really good, really effective horror-thriller. Um.. ‘Lace Crater’ was an inventive, personal drama with a supernatural twist. ‘Nuts!’ was a clever documentary about quack doctors Um.. ‘Arrival’! ‘Arrival’ was another good personal drama with a supernatural twist. Uh.. I enjoyed ‘Deadpool,’ And-and ‘Rogue One.’ Uh, ‘Kubo’ ‘Zootopia’ ‘Finding Dory’ Uh Oh! I actually really liked ’10 Cloverfield Lane,’ – ending and all! So. I mean- There were a lot of good films this year There were a lot of, y’know, niche genre films and some broad stuff but i mean Overall just… y’know “That is a three-syllable word for any thought too big for little minds.” “Save… …Martha…” My original plan was to talk about a cross-section of some of the worst editing that I saw this year because my LORD Editing is going down the crapper these days So I lined up a few films to showcase some of the particular trends in the ways that films are being cut these days Uh ‘Gods of Egypt’ for its bad action, ‘Ms. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children’ for its poor dialogue cutting ‘Batman v. Superman’ for its awful, awful just- plot construction But…no. ‘Suicide Squad’ It was just- It was-it was shockingly awful That’s how I described Suicide Squad when I came out of the theatre The editing was SHOCKINGLY awful in every way. See, ‘Gods of Egypt’ has generically mediocre action and overall flow The focus in many scenes doesn’t really go anywhere, the camera often just floats around, moving without purpose or intent and there’s a few…egregious, specific cuts in the movie. [panicked noises] [roars] [panicked noises] ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is a generally enjoyable film with some charm, But it’s marred by some really, really bad dialogue editing, where there’s no tension or flow to the dialogue, and there’s zero breathing room between scenes. It isn’t a pervasive problem but it happens a lot throughout the movie. Taken as a whole, it’s a problem of over-tightening the film with a scattering of just bad, aimless edits. “I’m sorry buddy, I know how much you worshipped him, but there it is.” ‘Batman v. Superman’… is its… …It’s own can of worms “MARTHA” The first thing that needs to be acknowledged about Suicide Squad is its troubled development. The specifics are hard to nail down because the people who actually know aren’t going to say what happened because they either need to play nice for the sake of their careers, or they’re contractually restricted from ever mentioning it. But here’s what we know: David Ayer had only 6 weeks to bash out the script and then shot about 230 hours worth of footage Basically trying to find the movie in the process of shooting it. At some point, Warner Brothers hires Trailer Park- -The team that cut ‘The Queen’ trailer back in January- -to do an alternate cut of the film, and test-screens both of them However, audiences still didn’t particularly like either cut, So a very expensive round of reshoots was scheduled for April, May, and a compromised THIRD cut – -based principally on Ayer’s version merged with the reshoots, and some ideas lifted from the Trailer Park cut -is screened for audiences in June, with something fundamentally the same released to theaters in August. The result is more or less what you think it would be from that description. We’re mainly going to be focusing, but not exclusively, on the film’s bad editing. To really get into this, first, a primer When people say a movie has “bad editing” they’re going to be mainly talking about two different kinds of editing: Shot-to-shot and scene-to-scene Or Momentary editing, And Structural Editing Momentary editing is the nitty-gritty editing: What kinds of cuts are used, where are they placed, how far apart are they spaced, and how well is continuity preserved. Does a match edit actually work? Does intercut dialogue feel right? Can we follow the action properly? And so on and so forth. Structural editng is the bigger picture: What order are scenes in, how is the movie as a whole paced, when are flashbacks inserted, Are locations and geography properly established, are foreshadowing and callbacks properly implemented, and…all of that. Man of Steel is a good example for illustrating the difference The Momentary editing in Man of Steel is generally okay, The editing problems are all structural; with the flow from scene to scene being really poorly executed. Ideas and themes are abandoned, or strung out in the wrong order And the overall package is really poorly paced. In equal measure, The Last Airbender is a great example of bad momentary editing. With lots of poorly selected cuts, bad reverse shots, and just a lot of terrible decisions all around. Suicide Squad, likewise, is so full of problems from structural to momentary, that I would seriously advise anyone with an interest in the art of cinematic editing do their own full autopsy to see just how much went wrong and plain old doesn’t work. Now whenever a studio starts to meld with a film, there’s an instinctive response, a desire for a clean narrative that casts one side as the villains and the other as either the heroes or victims The evil, greedy, heartless corporation beating up on the poor, misunderstood, visionary artist. Now there have been a few times in history where a potentially great film was ruined by a studio that either didn’t get it or maybe an executive had a personal beef with the director, or just something else happened that led to a chain of bad decisions. Most of the time, though, the underlying movie wasn’t that good to begin with. Notoriously, Sony meddled heavily with Josh Trank’s 2015 Fantastic Four film, Fanfourstic, ordering a round of heavy reshoots that, as a result of Kate Mara’s awful wig, stand out like a sore thumb The problem is that if you actually look at Fan4stic as a whole, the stuff that wasn’t reshot isn’t that good either. Trank’s cut of the film was likely better in the sense that it was more cohesive, but it wasn’t a lost masterpiece. From Sony’s perspective, they had a worst-case scenario on their hands: Something that was neither broadly marketable, nor particularly good on its own merits. And this is the situation that Suicide Squad was almost certainly sitting in. The unfocused production resulting in a movie too grim and moody for mass appeal, while being too…loose and meandering to draw an audience through critical acclaim and positive word of mouth. Like Fan4stic, The earlier cuts of the film were likely more coherent, but would’ve been paced even worse and still plagued with various plot incoherencies. So there’s an element in Suicide Squad It-it’s a tiny thing An insignificant thing in the scope of it all, but I’m going to start with it because it’s emblematic of the kind of problems that the movie has as a pretty direct result of it’s chaotic development. There’s this really old standby rule in screenwriting: The Rule of Threes: You set up an idea, you remind the audience, then you pay it off It’s a rule because it’s a really effective way of keeping the audience informed about smaller details that the characters would be familiar with so that when they come into play, they don’t feel like they’re coming out of nowhere. So it really stands out when Suicide Squad manages to screw it up even though they were sort-of clearly using it? Alright: Captain Boomerang has this pink unicorn It’s first introduced as a gag during his titlecard where it flashes, “Fetish: Pink Unicorns” Leaving aside the sexual implications, during the gearing up segments, he pulls a pink unicorn stuffed animal out of his duffel bag and covertly tucks it inside his jacket. So that right there is the setup We’re shown a prop, and we’re shown exactly where it’s put: Inside his jacket, left side. It’s a very deliberate action. Moving forward to the first big action scene, Boomerang gets knocked around a bit, fights a bit, and the stuffie flies out of his jacket during the melee. And afterwards, he again, covertly stuffs it into his jacket, left side Again, super deliberate. There’s the reminder. Then, in the tower brawl, Captain Boomerang is wrestling with a tar monster who stabs him right in the heart And, for a second, you go “Oh no!” But, being a savvy and attentive viewer, you immediately go “Ah, wait! The unicorn.” And you pat yourself on the back as Boomerang pulls out the knife… …stuck in a wad of money. The unicorn, incidentally, is never seen again after the reminder. Now, the apologetic reaction is to assume that this is intentional. That it’s deliberate misdirection, a subversion of expectations. You’re expecting the unicorn, but are surprised when it’s not the unicorn. However, if you were trying to subvert the expectation, you would still want to show the unicorn at the moment of subversion So, what happened? Well, maybe the unicorn was orignally a wad of bills, but one day Jai Courtney decided a unicorn was funnier, but they’d already shot the office brawl a month earlier and no one caught it in the chaos. Well maybe there was a payoff for the unicorn but it hit the cutting room floor. Well maybe the unicorn was never meant to pay off, and the wad of cash was better established, but later edits biased towards the unicorn because its funnier, and establishing the cash hit the cutting room floor. Like, maybe amidst Boomerang’s looting he finds the cash and stashes it in his vest or something but we never saw that in the finished cut. Either way, it’s a pretty bad edit for something really minor And it’s a microcosm of the problems with this film: How the edit does a poor job of keeping track of all the balls that are in the air, how it foreshadows things that never pay off, and how its plagued with extraneous elements that exist only as set up for future films. Swinging to the other end of the spectrum is an element that the movie actually does establish well and clearly, and then just ruins. So the antagonist of the movie is ‘The Enchantress’ An ancient witch who’s weakness is her heart: this wicker-looking thing that Waller keeps in a box strapped to a bomb So we’re told about the heart, “Some say the witch has a secret buried heart, and whoever finds it can control the witch.” Then the functionality of the heart is demonstrated [screams] Then it’s reinforced, [speaks foreign language] [foreign language] It’s the raising of the stakes when Enchantress gets her heart back And going into the final fight, Rick Flag lays out the plan: “You got a move here Flagg?” “We gotta cut her heart out!” And just in case you weren’t aware of the jeopardy, the visual design of Enchantress reminds you constantly by giving her a visibly glowing green heart. This is, at this point, INCREDIBLY well-established It’s the single best established rule of the films fiction If there were anything in this movie, that you could feel 100% confident trusting the audience to follow along in a chaotic moment, this is it: The Enchantress’ weakness is her heart. And then THIS happens “You messed with my friends!” “Her hearts out, we can end this!” “Her heart’s out, we can end this!” [distorted] “HER HEARTS OUT” So all the momentum, both emotional and kinetic, the flow of action across the screen is stopped dead, So that Flagg can reexplain what’s going on. Then, just to keep it awful, the edit completely loses track of where Enchantress is. She doesn’t come back onscreen until this super-close -up shot that does nothing to help orient where she is in the room, We cut before she fell down, so from the point of view of the rest of these slow-mo shots, she just kind-of…vanishes and Harley, who was standing right next to her, isn’t anymore And, just.. Okay? Oh, and then the heart! Harley pulls the heart out with her hand, Rips it right out, full-fist! And then it’s just -poof!- gone until Boomerang picks it up under a bench after everything’s over Normally a detail like that wouldn’t matter, except it’s the object that the jeopardy revolves around. Now editing is a process of decision making. What do you show? What do you NOT show? And it’s often a zero-sum game, with huge opportunity-costs because you’re working within relatively small chunks of time in order to communicate everything vital while still managing making the timing feel – and here’s a big word: verisimilitudinous. That doesn’t mean real, That means a plausible simulation of real You know it’s fake, but it feels acceptable. You can buy in, you can suspend disbelief. So, that opportunity cost, they either didn’t shoot or chose to cut Enchantress falling down, Harley throwing away the heart – Anything that would help keep track of the action, but… they included a re-explanation of the one thing the audience should thoroughly understand. [distorted] HER HEARTS OUT That right there, is bad editing. Alright, so this one is just a singularly awful edit. “-games with you man. It’s not real!” “He’s right. It’s not real.” There’s no motion to lead into the cut, We’re focused on the wrong character leading into the cut, And the crew is already way too far into the action on the far side of the cut. In a moment where they’re trying to build up momentum and action, they end up skipping too much time and space The difference between the two sides of the edit are too discontinuous, making the edit feel jarring in a moment where it should feel fluid. This is honestly the kind of edit you’d expect to see from a mediocre film student, or, well. A trailer house. Speaking of things that feel like they should be cut by a trailer house the opening seconds of a movie are so critical. I mean – I-I shouldn’t even need to explain that There’s a littany of terrible movies out there that at least managed to get their opening few seconds right, And Suicide Squad doesn’t even manage that. The opening shots of the film live in the void between punchy, fast-paced cuts and slow, deliberate cuts. They don’t hang out long enough for you to really take in what they’re trying to tell you, but they’re not fast enough to blur together into a single conceptual image. This is a problem that’s aggravated by the fact that the movie throws up a lot of hard-to-read-text in the first few seconds Like, let’s look at this opening shot: This is actually an example of how a bunch of good ideas can be layered together to create a single bad idea This transition is really three different transitions that, combined, turn the opening seconds into visual soup. We transition into the shot through the slit in the rotating DC Comics logo, so right off the bat we got lines all pulling our focus right to the horizon. which… works with the first frames being the dark blob of terrain in the middle of the shot. because on TOP of that transition we also have a focus racks. so it actually takes a handful of frames for things to snap into focus for your eyes can really grab something. And then, on top of that, is this surreal, neon-color grade, which, itself, takes a few more frames to transition into the awful shades of concrete that is the films’ normal color grade. So that’s a really visually busy first two seconds. And, in the midst of that, they toss up location titles in the lower right. And, before you have a chance to read it – -because your eyes were almost certainly focused on this tower and these two white balls as the primary objects of interest in the frame- -the camera starts flying over dark grass. So, now you have black text in a hard-to-read font flying over noisy, dark, dark, green grass, And then it’s gone because we immediately cut to this: Now, your eyes, which were down in the lower right, trying to read the location, are first going to reset to the middle of the frame Both out of instinct, and because there’s a skull, and the brain is hard-wired to seek faces. Next priority is all the text, but first a truck drives in front of everything, Then soldiers walk past the camera, then you actually get a chance to read, and around the time that you’re getting frustrated by this half-demolished word, we cut into the guard post. And you’ve got about two seconds to absorb any pertinent information, before we cut to inside Deadshot’s cell. And it was at this point I knew I was in for an editing nightmare. There’s a phenomenon in film called ‘The Kuleshov Effect,’ which we could talk about in length but the underlying idea is that more meaning is created from the interaction of two shots than of a single shot in isolation. We can already see this in the movie: We start flying over the water towards the compound, and then cut to the writing on the wall, and assume that this wall is a detail of the building from the previous shot. And then we cut to the guard room, which we assume is inside the building we were just looking at, and then it falls apart, in a very small way when we go inside the cell. This guard is sitting here, watching these monitors We’re instinctively going to follow, or try to follow this person’s eyeline. But, rather than cutting to an angle that reflect’s the guard’s perspective via the security cameras, we’re instead much lower to the ground, looking up at Deadshot working his punching bag. It’s a cut that’s….technically correct, in that we’re moving deeper into the facility with each cut But, it’s off. It’s the cinematic version of putting the emfases on the wrong sillabbles. And here’s the thing: they use this exact technique that I’m describing in reverse when the next scene with Harley ends. Heck, they use it again at the end of the movie They’re clearly not trying out some methodical avant-garde style of editing, It’s – it’s just bad. So the first 20 minutes of the film are consumed by a bad musical montage It’s also highly redundant and full of dead ends Now Suicide Squad has a big cast – it’s an ensemble piece with like, eight core characters. It’s a lot of people to introduce with the added complexity of explaining what their comic book gimmick is, and maneuvering them into place within the plot. Further complicated by the fact that the underlying conceit of the film is that the cast are all antisocial villains working for the government more or less against their will. That’s a lot to set up. Now they introduce almost everyone with capsule sized flashbacks narrated by Waller, which…. …is a pretty bad way of introducing your protagonists Suicide Squad, like ogres, has layers, except in this case its layers of bad, awkward decisions. So the bad musical montage is bad because it’s cut like a movie trailer. It’s all sizzle at a time where the film should be busy establishing themes and conflict. As with many things we’ve already addressed, what they’re doing here isn’t 100 percent wrong, It’s not an idea that’s rotten to the core, it’s just incredibly inefficient. Cutting your opening for sizzle isn’t a bad idea until it’s gone on for 30 minutes and you’re just starting to get around to the actual plot. The original movie would’ve been much longer, and much slower paced but by cutting the introductions for sizzle, trying to turn it all into a high-energy peppy montage, that inefficiency stands out because they keep needing to come back to the introductions over and over again. To the point that halfway through the movie, they’re JUST finishing introducing the first four characters. So where a five to eight minute scene with Deadshot could easily fit in all the pertinent details plus some, trying to do it all in poppy trailer-style means that they need to keep coming back Which in turn means there’s no time for anyone else, putting the story in a place where the core conceit doesn’t work because they were only able to squeeze in negotiations with Deadshot and no one else. And I haven’t even addressed the soundtrack yet This trailer-style peppy montage relies heavily on pop music in the bluntest way possible. It’s a prison in Louisiana! ‘House of the Rising Sun’ by the Animals! Harley isn’t your plaything, ‘You Don’t Own Me,’ by Lesley Gore Amanda Waller is bad and she’s going to introduce a bunch of devils ‘Sympathy for the Devil!’ Harley’s a superfreak, so Let’s just play ‘Superfreak.’ An Aussie? Who does dirty deeds? ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.’ El Diablo lost control and he’s ♪ ‘Slippin into Darkness!’♪ Jesus, this writes itself. Killer Croc is unfortunate so, hey! ‘Fortunate Son!’ Will Smith is black and he shaved his head! ‘Black Skinhead!’ They’re assembling? Like an army? ‘Seven Nation Army’ They’re flying in a helicopter? ‘Spirit in the Sky!’ Like, any one of these on it’s own would be blunt, but appropriate. However, when it’s you’re one trick that you use over, and over again? Oh yeah, and that wasn’t even all of them. In fact, from the opening shot to the title card, it’s end to end. They’ve already used three different songs before the title even comes up. Baz Luhrmann has more restraint than this!! On repeat viewings, the first half of this movie becomes almost unbearable because you already know how it ends, so you spend the first 50 minutes sitting through numerous threads that you know don’t matter One of the most obvious is this guy, Griggs Griggs is one of the head guards at Belle Reve, And the first three minutes of the movie aren’t spent introducing us to Deadshot and Harley, they’re spent showing us just how awful Griggs is. Not Belle Reve, not being locked up in general, Griggs in specific. Now if they wanted him to be a bit of comic relief, that’s fine In fact, if there’s one thing that this movie actually really needed, it was a lot more…meh…antagonistic rapport between the squad and the rest of the world So our fist bit is this back and forth between Griggs and Deadshot which could’ve built up to that kind of a beat: Grigg ribs Deadshot, Deadshot ribbs back, they both laugh, call each other an asshole, walk away. Instead… Griggs has Deadshot beat with batons by a dozen guards. Next up is Harley – and it’s the same deal. This could be banter Antagonistic banter, but still banter. Instead, the scene cuts to a flashback of Griggs outright abusing and humiliating her. These are the opening scenes of the movie. This is the pace and tone being set. They’re clearly setting up a direct obvious antagonism between the squad and Griggs. Through that first 40 minutes they keep reinforcing that antagonism and upping the stakes: Foreshadowing future resolution to the point that Harley outright tells Griggs, “You’re SO screwed” “What do you mean by that?” [Harley laughs] “What do you mean by that?”
[Harley continues laughing] “Get off, me, get off!” “Harley what do you mean by that?!?” And…that’s the last we see of Griggs. He doesn’t even show up at the end of the movie when the squad are back in prison. Now, there’s a couple different problems going on here. The first is a scripting problem, Griggs was overdeveloped in the first half of the movie and then dropped. The second, is an editing problem. Because of that lack of payoff, Griggs should have been significantly trimmed down Well, there’s another scripting problem, which is that the staff at Belle Reve are so consistently absurdly abusive to the squad, that it strains the credulity when it comes to the plan of recruiting them to do missions. I mean, these aren’t people who are going to be cooperative and useful, because you’ve treated them like absolute garbage In turn, this doesn’t make Waller look like a master tactician Someone who is, as she claims, “the best at getting people to act against their own self-interests,” It-it just makes her look like an idiot. “Psychotic anti-social freaks – it makes no sense.” So a twist is a surprise subversion of the audience’s expectation. But, in order for a twist to work, expectations need to be established before they can be subverted. So there’s a twist in the middle of the movie where Boomerang tricks Slipknot into trying to escape and Flagg blows up the bomb in Slipknot’s neck The twist doesn’t work though because Slipknot was clearly introduced as disposable. Everyone else in this squad is introduced with the heavy-handed soundtrack choices, name cards, logos and a bio from Waller. It’s bad, but it still sets a precedent. So when Slipknot steps out of an SUV and gets a one-line introduction, “Here comes Slipknot, the man who can climb anything. Wonderful.”
[Seven Nation Army plays in the background] It’s a pretty clear tell to the audience that he’s not important and you shouldn’t care. So when he dies, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s…. Who cares? You were told not to care. I suppose we should take some time to talk about the actual antagonist of the film, Enchantress who’s possessing the body of June Moon, who’s in love with Rick Flagg. Now there’s a lot of problems here and this is going back to the underdeveloped script, I mean, the biggest that she’s being an absurdly powerful opponent for a team that should be busy doing…like, a heist or something I mean this speaks to the basic fiction of the movie, that Waller’s putting together a task force because…..what if, “What if Superman had decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House and grab the President of the United States right out of the Oval Office? Who would’ve stopped him?” But if that’s the case why is Captain Boomerang here? Or Harley Quinn? Or Killer Croc? Or Slipknot? Like, sure, Killer Croc is a big guy and he’s scary, and he can take a punch, but at the end of the day, he’s a linebacker with a skin condition. He’s not superhumanly strong, he’s just…regular strong. Boomerang isn’t even special. He’s just a thief with a gimmick. Harley? Harley is pure liability. Anyway-okay-So- Enchantress is introduced as part of the team, and then her powers demonstrated to the brass at the Pentagon, And then she more or less immediately betrays Waller and releases her brother in Midway City as part of her plan to escape But, at the same time, in between those points, And this is speaking directly to the poor structure, There’s the demonstration at the Pentagon, followed by a second montage of introductions to the Squad None of which move the plot forward at all because the parts where Waller and Flagg try to negotiate with Croc, Boomerang and Harley were all cut, And Diablo just tells them to piss off, so the only one they actually get to negotiate with is Deadshot. But, that doesn’t go anywhere either, because they then immediately ignore the entire conversation, so… Okay? The only one that tells us anything new is the conversation with Diablo. Which builds his character a bit, shows the audience that he’s basically at peace with his punishment, So that’s useful character development, even if the structure of the scene does nothing to progress the movie itself. Also, keeping in mind that the actual plot hasn’t started yet. Oh, also they bring June Moon to the prison and highlight her presence with a close-up reaction shot, as they arrive But she never interacts with any of the rest of the Squad, so when she goes rogue, no one on the team except Flagg has any emotional stake in the situation. Anyway, all of these largely pointless meetings culminate in Flagg telling Waller that it’s a dumb plan because they’re mostly worthless and their hostility just makes them a liability in any operation where loyalty would be an asset. Which is every operation ever. The scene ends with this ominous line where Flagg asks Waller what she’s really up to And Waller tells him “Its a need-to-know and all you need to know is you work for me.” Now, that’s actually important, because it tells the audience that she is, in fact, up to something. It’s foreshadowing a reveal. Waller has secret plans, that are at odds with the interests of either her bosses, or the Squad, or both. Don’t worry though, we don’t find out what they are. Because she doesn’t actually have secret plans. At least not as far as this movie is concerned. So…. Yeah? Then there’s a couple scenes with the Joker and he starts to orchestrate Harley’s break-out… And then we finally get the plot rolling with Enchantress releasing her brother in Midway City. And – oh yeah! Her brother! So, if this feels like it comes out of left field half an hour into the movie, that’s because it more or less comes out of left field a half hour into the movie. Now, prior to this, Enchantress’ brother Incubus is only mentioned in her title card which were all written by Trailer Park for comedy, and freeze-frame easter eggs for the home audience. Like, Flagg’s list his golf handicap. The point is these are jokes. The next glancing reference is Enchantress looking at this page, during the demonstration at the Pentagon. Except, when the camera is looking at this page, Waller is talking about Enchantress and telling the room “Everything we know about her is in your briefing packs.” So the relevance of this shot, that it represents some potential jeopardy, really isn’t clear until you’re already familiar with the plot. The visual difference, between what we’re being shown, and what we’ve been shown in the past is nominal. No one’s mentioned that there’s a second statue that poses a similar risk and Waller is summing up information that we’re already familiar with, All of the film’s signifiers are telling us that ‘this is old information, we don’t need to care.’ So, when Enchantress is snooping around Waller’s apartment and finds her brother’s statue sitting on the shelf like a tchotchke, It….comes out of nowhere. And this whole ‘betrayal’ culminates in one of the best worst moments in the movie. So, from the audience’s perspective, Incubus is wrecking Midway City and we know that Flagg knows that Enchantress was up to no good. He doesn’t know exactly what she did, but, presumably, he can put two and two together. Well, he clearly doesn’t, and he doesn’t even bother to tell his boss that maybe we can’t trust the witch right now, because she might be responsible But, anyway, putting that aside, Flagg and Moon are suddenly in the subway under Incubus, and he berates her into transforming, and.. [whispers] “Enchantress” “Flagg, talk to me, what’s going on down there?”
[phone rings] “Amanda, she bolted.” “Say it again?!” “She bolted!” Okay, so, this is an important moment: This is the moment that Flagg realizes he’s made a big mistake And it’s the moment that really kicks the plot into high gear, and instead of using that to build tension, Hard cut, and we learned what happened, Over the radio. A masterpiece of bad decisions. Coming back to the subject of twists, This movie actually has a twist, I guess? But… It’s bad. Surprise. After the squad finally gets assembled, at the midpoint of the movie, Waller gives them their mission, which is rescue HVT-1, which… I mean, wasn’t the whole point of Task Force X to throw them at metahumans that are wrecking stuff? “What if Superman had decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House, and grab the President of the United States right out of the Oval Office?” “NY City’s under attack. It’s nonhuman entity.” “I take it you know what to do, sir.” “Activate Task Force X. Get Amanda Waller and her whole circus on scene ASAP” Okay so that’s confusing in it’s own right but they eventually get to HVT-1 And it turns out it’s…Waller… She was in Midway City this whole time… So this is a twist that isn’t actually a twist because it’s pointless. Nothing changes by hiding that information, Nothing changes when you find out that Waller is the target. Waller being in the city doesn’t make sense in the first place, and..and then Waller kills her staff and says, “What? They weren’t cleared for any of this. Any of it.” Well, then-then who were they? What’s going on? Why are you here? Why were they here? What are you ACTUALLY doing? This is one of those moments that exists to try and surprise the audience, but it just raises more questions than it could ever answer And they’re bad questions, it’s not enticing questions it’s… …questions of confusion. There’s-there’s a lot more that I havent even touched on. Like how the Joker’s plot culdesac is used, How Harley’s story was gutted because it was an endless downer that still didn’t pay off How the wrap up doesn’t even mention that Diablo sacrificed himself for the squad, But instead I’ll just rattle those off in list form to give you the idea that they’re there. This, I think, is a pretty good vertical slice of the kind of editing problems that plague Suicide Squad from beginning to end. 2016. [bottle drops on floor] [slightly upbeat music]


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