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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

If you were stuck in prison, would you take a dangerous job if it meant getting out sooner? In August 2016, a group of super villains were given that opportunity, all they had to do was survive the mission. 

Directing this 123 minute action/adventure/comedy is David Ayer. 

Some of the cast is: Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana/ El Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones/Killer Croc, Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana, Jai Courtney as Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Dr. June Moone/Enchantress, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss/Slipknot, Ike Barinholtz as Griggs and Jard Leto as Joker. 

The Enchantress has broken free from her prison and is looking to end the world. U.S. Intelligence officer Amanda Waller feels like this is the perfect time to use the Suicide Squad, which is a team of
dangerous, incarcerated super villains that she considers nothing more than disposable assets. Can this thrown together team of villains pull off what superheroes do every day and save mankind, or will they fall apart and fail? 

In September 1959 Robert Kanigher's creation Suicide Squad (also known as Task Force X) made their first appearance in the comics. In January 1987 John Ostraner was given the task of resurrecting the SS (Suicide Squad) title. That's when Ostraner created the new SS that introduced the idea of using badguys as team members. Now, the team is made up of dangerous super villains, which get sent on missions that could cost them their lives. If the team dies, no loss- they're bad guys. If they survive they get a certain amount of years taken off of their prison sentence. 

I always liked the Suicide Squad idea because it gave the bad guys more page time in the comics and you got to see a different side of them than you were used to reading. So, when news broke about a movie I couldn't wait to see it. Unfortunately, as more and more news came out about the movie, I became less thrilled.
                                                                   
One of the first problems I had with the movie was finding out the Joker was going to be in it. Most of the characters that are in the movie are lesser known individuals... unless you read comics. I felt like the Joker was being used to draw in the crowds because the studio didn't think the squad could pull in the money on their own.
                                                             

Then word came out that, not only Joker would make an appearance, but Batman would also. If you truly think the only way you can get the audience in to see your movie is by force feeding two big iconic characters into a film... maybe you should rethink your project. As time went on, I found more things out about the film: I'd catch set stills, along with seeing the "new version" of the Joker. After a while I decided it was going to be what it was and all I could do is wait to see how everything turned out. Well, as it turned out, I didn't hate (everything about) the movie, but (sadly) it ended up being nothing more than a flashy, average flick filled with big named stars and a couple of iconic characters that walked around doing stuff. 

The story that David Ayer came up with is based on characters from DC comics. Basically, it's your typical comic book movie. Big bad evil pops up, (in this case) a "special" group rises up to foil said evil's plans.  One of the many problems I had with the story is the team picked doesn't seem fit for a mission going up against a magical enemy. Here you have a crocodile looking guy (yeah), a hitman (that never misses), a (super) crazy lady (that likes to use a bat), a mysterious lady with a sword (?), a fire making guy (that really likes tattoos) and a guy that uses boomerangs for weapons (really?). The hitman, yeah sure take him. Fire guy... definitely taking him! Now, out of all of the super villains in the (comic book) world they picked the sword, bat, boomerang, and croc guy, why? Well, if you really want to know that answer, sorry, but you won't get it from the movie. Next problem, if you're using bad guys for the mission because you don't want to lose good guy lives... why does Flag (team leader) take a group of trained military personal with him and the bad guy squad? Sadly, the story had tons of potential, but failed to properly use it. 
                                                      
I will give the studio props for hearing what the audience felt was wrong with Batman v Superman (dark tone and lack of humor) and tried to make changes with this one. However, the changes still didn't help this one because some of those lighter moments felt forced or out of place instead of having a natural flow with the scene.

The playthrough was a hit and miss with me. It has a good pace and kept my attention the entire time. I liked the chemistry between Smith and Robbie, but with everything going on at times I felt like it was more a Deadshot and Harley Quinn movie instead of being about the whole Suicide Squad. Then inject all of the random Joker parts and bad scene transitions, and the film felt disjointed. Between the Suicide Squad story and the Joker clips it felt like they were trying to tell two different stories, the Squad's current mission and a (mini) Joker story. I think Joker would have been cool with a small cameo role, like Batman was, but Joker was in too much of the film. Just enough Joker that they could use him on the movie poster and help push the movie.
                                                               
 
Now, I'm all for backstory, but the squad was introduced with a short backstory when the team was put together. Then an additional one for El Diablo's character, which helped with his character development. However, all of Harley's flash backs (which were about the Joker) just didn't fit into the squad's story, but would have been awesome for a Harley stand alone film. The witch's henchmen come off weak and lacked any real threat level. The big battle at the end didn't live up to the built up hype of how badass the Enchantress was suppose to be. Her brother, Incubus, was more of a threat than she was, yet, Enchantress is all powerful and trying to end the world. Basically, there's a lot of flashiness along with  some action scenes to keep you interested, but it all felt rushed and more for filler than actual story substance.

The cast did a good job, but I thought Margot Robbie really stood out with the job she did bringing her version of Harley Quinn to life. Smith, as much as I like him, didn't really bring anything new to the table with his Deadshot character. If you've seen Smith in any action movie, then you've seen what he did here. Davis showed she had what it took to play the cold hearted shot caller that her character was known for, and did it well. Part of the cast (Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Fukuhara, Courtney and Beach) was completely wasted talent in the film because they were basically used for background filler for the scenes. Fukuhara's character Katana is a serious badass in the comics and yet we never get to see any of that in the movie. Leto's Joker didn't impress me at all. Unlike previous versions of the Joker that has instilled fear and screamed maniacal, we got some wannabe gangster with a skin condition and poor judgement in tattoos. Nothing about Leto's performance was "Joker" worthy. Kinnaman and Delevingne lacked any chemistry to sell the story between them, part of that could be due to Kinnaman's deadpan acting skills.
                                                   
The special effects were really good! I would almost say that the effects were the best thing the movie had going for it. They decided to go with practical effects when doing the Killer Croc character and I think it turned out looking, well... killer. The bad guy henchmen where seriously lame looking and lacked imagination. Another stand out thing was the costume design. I don't know who was responsible for it, but they really did a great job. 

Even though the film started seeing a drop in audience after it first came out, it still managed to hit $700 million (worldwide) in the box office, which is pretty good considering it had a budget of $175 million.

Overall, I didn't (completely) hate the movie, but I was very disappointed with it. Unfortunately, it has enough going on (star power/good soundtrack/funny moments) that the non-comic book audience will like it, but comic fans will spend their time cringing through most of it. 

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

3 stars


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