[Music] 2021's The Suicide Squad is kind of like
Warner Brothers own version of the Snyder cut where they essentially try to
make up for an absolute train wreck of a movie by replacing it with an improved
one, and much like the snyder cut they do succeed at it.
Now exactly how well do Warner and writer director James Gunn succeed at it
I'll leave that up to you. But comparing this new Suicide Squad to the core
problems of the old one, which we covered here a couple years ago, there has been a
lot of improving done.
For example one of the central issues with the original
movie was how it straight up degraded already established characters by
forcibly squeezing them into the mold it wanted to portray. Like having batman
attack Deadshot when he's with his daughter even though that in her eyes
basically makes Batman a mirror image of the guy in an alley that took away his
"I don't want to do this in front of your daughter." Or like having the Joker just openly
hang out at nightclubs and dress like he's about to hit off the star in a
Skrillex music video about purple Lamborghinis, which of course he did. "My
disappointment is immeasurable and my day is moving."
And the way the new film avoids this degradation issue is simply by not
resorting to the forcible use of established icons and instead using
lesser known characters it can build an identity for itself. The initial squad of
characters in the opening are treated very badly and disrespectfully but at
the end of the day it doesn't really matter because this is the first time 99%
of audience has have even heard of most of them. "TDK is The Detachable Kid. Who?" I
mean the only exception being maybe Harley Quinn who for some reason Warners
is determined to portray as a dum-dum acting on impulse, as opposed to
purposeful intention. But at this point I guess it just comes down to personal
preference. If you prefer Harley to be less of a smart wolf disguised as a dumb
sheep who uses her wits and special set of skills to commit to realistic actions
and more of an unrealistically overpowered idiot who can inexplicably
turn into an invulnerable giant wick, for example,
[Music] "You're having a laugh. What? She does
exactly what I do." But so essentially in style of this first example let's
contrast the new Suicide Qquad to the rest of the key problems of the original,
to not only see how exactly it improves on them but also to hopefully in the
process learn a couple useful tips about how to make a movie that is less like
this and more like this.
Oh and also even though I'm not continuing the one DC
sasser scene playlisting here, I do want to once again encourage people asking
about it to start making videos about movies, anyway, if that's what you're
interested in, but I'll touch more on that after we first get some perspective. The first key problem with the original
Suicide Squad was the lack of a consistent point of view which in terms
of things like tone and emotion essentially turn this movie into
multiple different ones. "Daddy,
I know you do bad things, don't worry,
you still like… captain boomerang" And the way the new version solves this
problem is by anchoring its story and events in a specific point of view that
keeps things in a consistent perspective.
If you look at the opening toll from the
eyes of Michael Rooker for example you can notice that no matter how insane or
unrealistic things might get, it all still remains grounded in one consistent
tone of sane realism. When we meet the other members of the team we do it
through Rooker's rational pov which allows us to view everything through the
same lens that all these people are crazy, that this mission as a whole is
crazy. And once we then get ambushed by the
local military at the beach, same thing, regardless of how unrealistically
nonsensical the sequence might get we always maintain rooker's rational
perspective on it, the perspective that the army
slaughtering us is a big deal, that people dying is a big deal, that what's
happening right now can be viewed as a serious dangerous threat.
See if ruger
for example died halfway into the battle and we then jumped into harley quinn's
point of view instead, all that sense of danger and threat would be gone because
in harley quinn's irrational perspective it doesn't exist. Suddenly it would feel
like a whole other movie, like for a moment happens later in the story but
because Rooker doesn't die halfway and instead maintains his more realistic
anchoring pov all the way to the opening's end, so too maintains the more
rational tone that comes with it.
After prologue the perspective then shifts
over to our main hero bloodsport who carries pretty much this exact same sane
lens that we view all the insanity through,
and in addition to just tonal consistency you'll notice that it also
keeps the plot of this movie as more of a progressive series of interconnected
steps rather than a disconnected collection of individual occurrences. For
example, when Bloodsport's team has arrived in the country they're trying to
infiltrate, he wakes up in the middle of the night to see one of his squad mates
about to eat another and then has to act "- Yeah well we can't function as a team if
we gotta watch our back from one of our own eating our bullets. – Hungry.
Hey boss, I truly chewed the dude's hand off.
– Look at that! Right there, vulcanized rubber." And the reason it's so important
for the scene to unfold from Bloodsport's pov is obviously to keep
him active, as the main hero should be, but also to turn the scene itself into
an obstacle that we need to solve to stay on course to our main objective.
know we can't really lead a team to complete a task if we don't have a team
left to lead. "Friends" [Music]
All in all if your main hero just leaps through the events of your movie not
only will the audience wonder why they're the main hero in the first place,
the events themselves can also very easily feel like brief standalone
moments that carry no larger purpose so try to involve your main hero in the
plot events as much as you can, but perhaps the most important part of a
consistent perspective is how it allows emotions to actually connect and
resonate. Like for example with the Rat Catcher sad story about losing her dad
that we learn on our car ride to town. "My father's burdens
became too heavy to carry and he was caught." What you'll notice
about the story is that it doesn't exist in a vacuum but instead directly
connects to Bloodsport and us due to us knowing that he himself has a daughter
that he's sort of abandoned, which essentially then turns the Rat Catcher
into a proxy of his daughter, that we at the end for example can genuinely
emotionally fight for but if we don't learn Rat Catcher's story through
Bloodsport's relevant point of view over the course of the story and instead get
it from this third perspective introduction trailer right as we meet
her, it doesn't really function the same way.
To be clear it's totally fine to
view things from other perspectives to better understand them as well as have
multiple main perspectives depending on the size of the story but the way
emotion can actually truly resonate is when it's generated through a close and
relevant first person view it's easier to care about. King Shark's loneliness
when we learn about it by at the same time being out having a good time with
all the human squad members in a way that we can put it in perspective
because no matter how great your story and characters may be, if they're all
established through their own individual disconnected third-person view
mini-trailers right away odds are that they're not so great at all.
[Music] "You shall be in the fellowship of the ring."
[Music] But before we move on to address the one DC-sastrous scene playlist thing — we're not doing it this time but I still want to
take a moment to encourage everyone to start making videos about this movie or
any other, if that's what you're interested in, and to answer the common
question of how to begin I'm once again joining forces with Skillshare, an online
learning community hosting thousands of educational classes on everything, from
filmmaking to animation to web design to photography to of course making youtube
videos about movies.
If you need to learn how to edit these videos with the
software you have, this site has got you covered. If you need to learn how to
structure and write these videos this site has got you covered. Pretty much
whatever the new skill or talent it is you want to learn movie related or not
this site's core purpose is to teach you. My first Skillshare to sponsor a free
one month trial to the first thousand viewers who click the link below so
check them out if you have a particular skill you've been looking to learn helps
you as well as me so there you go.
The second key issue with the original
movie was how most of the characters were boring one dimensional
manifestations of their introductory walls of text. The soldier man was a
soldier. The Evil Witch was an evil witch. The crocodile man was, you know. "- He looked
like a monster, and he became a monster. – This is the
checkout where all the food is paid for." And the first obvious way the sequel
gives its characters more realistic deeper layers is by giving them actual
arcs where they start out with a core flow and then throughout the story grow
over it to become someone entirely else. If you take bloodsport for example you
can see that he starts out exactly like deadshot in that. He's a bad guy assassin
in jail with a daughter left on the outside, but instead of it being just
that at face value, the relationship here is actually a bit different.
"F*** YOU! NO, F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!" Right so Bloodsport's core character flaw essentially is being a lone wolf to
the point of not seeing any value in others whatsoever, he doesn't want to be
with his daughter, he doesn't want to be with anyone else and he definitely
doesn't want to lead a team of freaks.
"- You're the leader, you're supposed to be
decisive. – I've decided that you should eat a big bag of ****. How's that?" But what ultimately ends up happening is
exactly that, not only does he learn to care about others through the girl
serving as a proxy of his daughter, he also learns to become the decisive
leader he never saw the value in being. "Harley,
take the high ground now!
Monster is lumna. Pablo do you see who that is?
It's your mom!" And you'll find arcs of growth like this
in many of the smaller characters, as well to make them feel like real people
whose journeys we can really care about. We have Polka-Dot man who hates life
because he literally can't get his abusive mom out of his head ultimately
learning to stand up to his mom in a way that he can find the positive side of
life once more. "I'm a superhero! I'm a…" We have king shark, who suffers from
depressive loneliness, ultimately finding a real group of friends by learning not
to eat everyone he meets.
"- No, no, no, no. – No it's not…"
We have Rat Catcher who mostly just sleeps through her meaningless existence
ultimately learning to find her missing purpose. "Rats are the lowliest and most
despised of all creatures, they have purpose, so do we all." I mean we
even have Amanda Waller slave-like office workers ultimately rising up from
under her thumb, which sadly enough makes even them feel more like real people we
can care about than almost everybody in the original.
"I don't mind, I got me a sewer to crawl back in."
But the other actually really ingenious way this film gives layers to its
characters for much less screen time is by building them on irony.
If you take john cena's Peacemaker, for example, the first surface level
impression he in his bright red white and blue outfit gives out is that he's
the ultimate good guy i mean he's the peacemaker, right? But when it comes to
seeing him behave in practice, it's actually quite the opposite.
[Music] "I cherish peace with all my heart,
I don't care how many men women and children I need to kill to get it." Yeah,
so the peacemaker in actuality is more ruthlessly deadly than the Contract
Assassin called bloodsport to the point where he's willing to murder people in
their sleep and execute a little defenseless girl all in the name of
quote unquote 'peace', and it's that ironic contrast of who the character is
supposed to be versus how he actually behaves that makes him if not great, then
at the very least interesting. "Colonel, I got a clean shot on the only one in the
office, just give the word." You know, we have a giant shark monster
who behaves like a cute little puppy longing for friends, even when he's
eating them. We have a weak insecure man child who can insta-kill you. We have a
guy with an incredible supernatural ability that's pointless overall. We have
a bunch of characters both human and non-human who should be one way but then
end up being anything but.
I'm not saying irony necessarily creates the same level of audience investment as
arcs but it does make your characters more than meets the eye, which
automatically prevents them from being just one dimensional boring shells
because if you have someone who doesn't grow and who also behaves exactly as
they're supposed to from beginning to end then you get a norfest one no
character like amanda waller, whose biggest positive contribution to the
enjoyment level of this entire movie is getting knocked out of it.
"Yeah, baby! that's what I've been waiting for that's what it's all about." [Music]
The third key issue with the OG Suicide Qquad was its unconvincing way of
telling everything instead of showing it to the point where the central love
story of the movie was created solely by saying it so "- I assigned him to watch Dr.
Moon and just as I hoped, it got personal.
– I have the Witch's heart and Dr. Mullen
has his." Whereas the sequel puts in the effort to actually prove what it wants
to convey, the most obvious example of this being the title Suicide Squad which
isn't earned just from Will Smith saying it but instead from the fact that the
movie very specifically begins with "Well my friends are dead." Yeah, so it's much easier for the
audience to buy into the main concept of going on a suicide level mission when
characters on that mission are actually dying, it's much easier to buy into the
severity of the hit charges when they're not demonstrated by some random dude who
runs off for no reason but instead by our POV character who has an actual
reason to be running and the movie keeps the same mentality
from beginning to end in things both big and small when it wants to convey that
King Shark is a loner who wants to fit in.
It shows him looking at people
longingly and then sitting alone in the car while the rest of the team is out
having a good time. When it wants to convey that peacemaker will go to any
lengths to achieve a quote-unquote 'piece', it shows him killing a primary member of
the squad. When it wants to convey the squad's uncoordinated lethalness it
shows them mowing down an entire campsite of non-enemies. When it wants to
convey Polka Dot Man's mommy issues it shows a bit too much actually.
[Music] But since I'm sure you already get the
idea on that what I also want you to notice is how this film very
specifically uses the method of not showing things.
For example one running
thread about Bloodsport is that he has this chronic fear of rats, the source
of which isn't ever actually reinforced visually, but instead only by "Old man
locked me in a crate for 24 hours and it was full of starving rats." And the result
that follows is that the sphere of rats as a whole isn't so much something for
the audience to take seriously as it is more of a running joke for them to laugh
at, because it's essentially a deadly assassin being scared of a tiny rodent
for no real established reason, but if on the other hand it was established with
an actual flashback of a little abused boy being mauled by a pack of hungry
rats, it most likely wouldn't be so funny anymore.
To give you another example of this, take
a closer look at Peacemaker's determination to quote unquote
'to establish peace' despite the incredibly massive strength of the determination we
don't ever actually get to understand the source of it. Like why is this dude
so obsessed with peace, where is it coming from?
And it's that lack of understanding that for some reason gives it this quality of
being inherently absurdly funny. " – They call you peacemaker. – I cherish peace with
all my heart. I don't care how many men, women and children I need to kill to get
it." This isn't always the case though, we
have no idea why Amanda Waller is so determined to do all the stuff for a
country and yet there's nothing funny or entertaining about her either, so I guess
what it ultimately comes down to is the zany outlandishness of whatever it is
you're trying to convey, which actually is a very useful lesson to learn.
want the audience to take something seriously then you need to show it to
them, but if you on the other hand want that something to be there for the
audience to laugh at, then a lack of convincing proof can actually in some
cases increase its comedic zaniness. "- I assigned him to watch Dr. moon and just
as I hoped it got personal.
– Are you gonna kiss me or not?"
[Music] And when you take this and combine it
with the earlier stuff we discussed, you're well on your way to better
understanding exactly why 2021's The Suicide Squad works where 2016's Suicide
Squad failed. [Music].