Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Why I'm Prepared to Hate the Suicide Squad

I happen to love villains.  They get the best costumes, the best cars, the best digs, and even the best songs. (Be honest, "Be Prepared" and "Poor Unfortunate souls" are your jam if you are feeling evil) It's good to be bad. I should love everything about the new Suicide Squad movie, but I just don't. Let's see if we can figure out why, together.

The Suicide Squad, or Task Force X, is a team of anti-heroes sent on missions by Amanda Waller (an equally-bad-questionably-moral person by herself). They are put into impossible situations because, if they die, no one cares.. While I'm not familiar at all with the comics themselves, I am very familiar with one of the members from the movie, a certain Ms. Harley Quinn.

Harley Quinn has always been one of my favorite comic book characters, because she was one of my favorite characters on my favorite after school show Batman: The Animated Series. I don't know why I really liked her, I just loved how she interacted with Bats and Mr. J. She was just fun and a great foil for the Joker. She made the Joker slightly more human just by being around Any time Harley got hurt, Joker got real and vice versa. As a cosplayer, I love a good Harley cosplay. (I totally thought of her outfit from the Arkham:Asylum game series before they did.) Harley and Joker are totally iconic instantly recognizable characters.

So what the fuck is this shit?

That is NOT Harley. That is, well, I just don't know what that is. And Harley isn't the only one getting one nasty make-over.  Jared Leto's Joker looks like a green haired meth head (that was probably the idea):


Will Smith as Deadshot
I tottally get that DC has rebooted their universe and has changed a lot of the looks of the characters. Harley in the new 52 is now red and blue and is most definitely wearing hotpants. But Deadshot's mask is silver, not pearly white. Also, is the female swamp creature in the back of the group photo supposed to be Enchantress? Damn girl, clean yo' self up, jail has not been kind to you. At least they made Captain Boomerang look like he has swag.  

Comic book to live adaptations can be tricky when it comes to costuming. And I get that some character designs look great on the page and are a bitch to reproduce on screen. But it is possible. Look at Arrow and Flash. These shows have managed to reproduce crazy concepts and make them awesome without losing the integrity of the character. They even managed to make Captain Cold not look completely ridiculous.

The multiple choices and the creativity given to you to interpret the materials and pieces of the outfits is exciting. You literally have hundreds or thousands of pieces of canonical source material to draw from. When a hero dons their custom look for the first time, or gets a wardrobe change, it is a big freaking deal. Witness Matt Murdock in Daredevil.  Give the villains their due. Make a big deal about their look, and for God's sake Oliver Scholl (production designer) and Kate Hawley (costume designer) get out of the 90s and pay some attention to who these characters are and what they represent.

Mae Linh Fatum is a costume designer and cosplayer who loves to re-imagine classic designs and make the her own.  When she isn't ranting about Harley's lack of pants she can be found knitting, or playing video games, or both.

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