Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Suicide Squad – review

Suicide Squad is an interesting concept for a movie and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it is also flawed.  The acting is fine but the story is muddled. I can’t help but feel that Suicide Squad was a good movie that was edited into a much tamer and forgettable film. Still, it is colorful and stylized but without the substance that audiences have come to expect from comic book movies as of late.

In the wake of Superman’s death in the film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Government official, Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis, assembles a team of super criminals to do the dirty jobs of the government. She has them implanted with nano-machines that will detonate if they escape or fail their mission. When a rogue magic-user threatens to destroy the world, it is up to the Task Force X to save the day.

The movie has a great soundtrack and is visually appealing. Jared Leto’s take on the Joker is fascinating and new. There are a lot of charismatic characters but sadly they are not given much depth. The ones that are focused on mostly are Deadshot, played by Will Smith, and Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. They play their parts well but the story does not give them ample motivation to act as they do. Minor characters are there just to add color to the movie but, like sprinkles on a cupcake, they do nothing but appear as decoration. There are cameos from Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller who appear as Batman and the Flash as if to remind the audience that we are in the same DC Cinematic Universe. It almost seems silly to add them since they could have solved this situation in very quick order; there must have been a superhero day off.

The character of Amanda Waller is portrayed as a character that has contingency plans for contingency plans. Picking crazy people, expert marksmen, and circus freaks to act as a team has so many variables to be believed that she would make the selections she does. The world ending threat is pretty much Waller’s fault. So Task Force X is just cleaning up her mess for not thinking things through. There are plot points that go nowhere such as when the prison guard, played by Ike Barinholtz, is confronted by the Joker to get stuff to Harley in prison. He vanishes and we never see if he is killed or dealt with in any way, shape, or form.

None of the “bad guys” seem that bad to be in the position they are in. The exception is Harley Quinn, whose role is literally the wild card. When going to a party a “wild card” can be fun. When creating a group to save the world, the “wild card” is a stupid idea. At one point we find out Captain Boomerang has three consecutive life sentences- for what!? He robbed a diamond exchange and killed his partner. Harley even has her nano-machines disabled at one point and still chooses to remain with the team to fight the big evil. Deadshot is motivated by wanting to not appear bad to his daughter so it is not as if the team consisted of Adolph Hilter, Osama Bin Laden, and the Hamburglar.

Superhero movies lately have spoiled audiences.  It seems that people expect something profound from these comic films. Taken at face value, Suicide Squad is mind candy, which is entertaining at the very least but adds no nutritional sustenance. It is flawed but tries to add flavor that is sorely needed to a bleak cinematic universe. It is worth renting if you are a fan of the series or comics. I just wouldn’t recommend shelling out money to see in the theater. Suicide Squad is fun, but not the must-see hit of the summer.

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