Don’t listen to the critics, unless of course it’s me. Suicide Squad took an undeserved beating by the critics. After last night I have to report that this was a totally serviceable movie. We’ve seen this type of movie before and loved it. Remember “The Dirty Dozen” and wildly successful antihero “DeadPool”. If you are willing to though yourself into concept and suspend disbelief, which is a prerequisite for superhero films you’ll have a great time. As per my questions from yesterday’s post, it is not the new Guardians of the Galaxy. Nor does it follow the Marvel-esc formula for success. Nevertheless the squad delivers.
The idea here is a government war hawk posits that assembling a group of unscrupulous people will serve as the answer to the rise of meta-humans. Like “burning” or disavowing a spy if their mission fails the squad is blamed or dead. Thus the government is in a win-win scenario. Viola Davis plays an amazing Amanda Waller. Comic Book fans will appreciate her commitment to the tough as nails government overseer to the squad. Among the rogues’ gallery we see hit man Deadshot (Will Smith), psycho Joker love interest Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Australian Flash villain Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), fired up El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and the Batman perennial mutant Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje).
Let’s talk tone. DC is learning that they need to lighten up. The darkness and almost monastic silence of Batman V. Superman does not work. Batman can be dark and broody but Superman has to find some kind of joy. Otherwise he’s just a really powerful guy angry at the world. Suicide Squad introduces a great soundtrack immediately lightening the mood. We all approved of the use of Queen’s music in the trailer giving us high hopes. Will Smith brought some much needed comedy to the series while not being a comedic character. The problem was the first eight minutest of the film promises a more interesting movie than we ended up seeing. While serviceable it was not as advertised.
You have the worlds worst villains in a “club” together and yet there is control. Forget the threat of explosive neck implants, which I grant is a great concept. These people are not going to accept that type of control as easily as seen. The controlled chaos was less exciting than the comic book alternative. These characters all worked on screen including Killer Croc.
What didn’t work was the villain’s villain. We deal with Enchantress, which is a great character and had potential until the last twenty minutes of this film. She summoned an army of what appeared to be super acme ridden creatures. They were extremely lame with inconsistent abilities. Moreover her endgame was to create some kind of swirling vortex that was intended to destroy the world’s military. We needed a little more explanation.
The final piece of the puzzle is the trio of Gotham residents Batman, Joker, and Harley-Quinn. Ben Affleck was again wonderful. His voice was pitch perfect and the tone was just right. He continues to bring gravitas and evoke a “Batman Animated Series” as well as “The Dark Knight” comic book style. In line with the source material Joker presents an interesting conundrum. Specifically, he succeeded in appearing in several outfits in keeping with the animated and comic book material. Most recently we witnessed him in the tuxedo ensemble in “Death in the Family” reboot. His laugh was unique and interestingly creepy. We all need to reserve judgment until he has his solo film with batman. In the interim it needs better writing not better acting.
Harley was a force unto herself. Given this was her feature film debut it was sufficient. Margot was creative but needs to be a little crazier. The character suffered from the controlled chaos and should have been able to run wild. Her animated series birth left us expecting a great deal from Margot. They did a great job in making us feel for the relationship between her and Joker. Not an easy feet to feel compassion for sociopaths.
This film suffered from lackluster writing and middling temperature. Some of the Joker crime scenes were over the top in a “soap opera” style. Moreover, the tone was in between DeadPool’s “R” rated “don’t take yourself too seriously” and Gardians of the Galaxy’s “let’s have fun putting on a show” mentality. It needed to commit to one.
Worth watching and proves DC is moving in the right direction. But they still need help.
Stay Glued to the Screen