The latest installment in the Warner Brothers DC universe was in part a departure from the genre yet somehow still the same formula. Many of the “professional” reviewers were disappointed in the super hero genre similarities but I found it a positive. Clearly this film was more aligned with the Guardians of the Galaxy than say the Avengers. In Guardians we had criminals and misfits as the protagonists and in Suicide Squad we have super villains as more or less the “good guys”.
Many reviewers have panned this film, and I went in with serious reservations about how well this movie would settle in. Rotten Tomatoes has this movie horrible at 19% fresh, but the audience scores it rather ‘fresh” at 72%. Typical, as the snotty professional reviewers once again like our national politicians, are so out of touch with mainstream America, they wouldn’t catch a fresh film it chewed a hole in their ass. These are they that still rate Remains of the Day at 97% fresh. I saw that film in the theater in 1993. Yes Sir Anthony Hopkins was brilliant and Emma Thompson Oscar worthy, but that film will put an espresso junkie to sleep faster than a physics professor opening for Chris Rock at the comedy club. No one that wants to see an epic drama with a cast of knighted actors is going to see Suicide Squad. Ever since Marvel Entertainment hit a bases clearing bottom of the ninth home run with Ironman in 2008 and followed with the epic Avengers in 2012, everyone expects every other comics movie to be the Avengers. This is not the Avengers my friends, and it’s no Guardians of the Galaxy either.
Frankly, this is not a great movie but in all fairness, it is a pretty good movie. They did a nice job setting up the characters of this motley crew of truly diabolical villains. And the director had a rather tall order trying to put all of this together. He did fairly well all things considered.
The plot is thin and predictable, but this is an action movie so it’s fine; since when is a masterpiece drama plot needed to fill an action flick? We get a whole lot of crazy, we get explosions and gun-play, we get diabolical a devious, we get a great cast of mostly A-listers, what they hell do those Movie Critics want, seriously?
Let’s not forget how important the musical score is. Guardian’s of the Galaxy was a great movie, one of the best comic book themed films ever produced and a big part of that greatness came in the form of an amazing musical soundtrack. Suicide Squad has a fabulous soundtrack that rocks the house and the songs chosen seem to fit the scenes well.
The cast is pretty solid here. Margot Robbie absolutely crushes it as Harley Quinn. She is sexy, diabolical, and absolutely squirrel bait nuts. She steals scenes with her crazy and steals more with her sexy. They blend well to create a villain/anti-hero that is truly delicious. A solid ‘A’ performance for Margot.
The Joker is a more modern twist on the aged character that has been around for almost 80 years. I have always preferred the classic Joker but the more recent Jokers played by Heath Ledger and now Jared Leto is also popular among movie goers. This new Joker, like Harley, is bat-shit crazy. I felt like Jared delivered us a nice and nasty Joker and he gets a ‘B plus’ but he was a distraction to the movie rather than a player in it. This is no fault of the actor but a fault of the script. I think DC is trying to introduce us to the Joker for the upcoming Justice League film. Unfortunately he either needed more screen time and plot involvement or less screen time, maybe a cameo of sorts. As it is he just doesn’t fit in to the story well.
Will Smith is Will Smith and for that he gets a minimum of a ‘B’ just for being Will Smith. Deadshot is an interesting character and always has been. Smith plays him well as the most introspective and least “villainous” of the ‘squad’. Deadshot is a character that despite the cold-blooded nature of what he does, is the most thoughtful and sensitive of the bunch. Smith is truly more of an Anti-Hero than a Villain. Smith gets a ‘A minus’, this wasn’t a role that needed the acting chops of guy like Smith, but Will delivers, but perhaps a little less than he could have given us.
The big surprise for me was the ethically questionable but eats nails for breakfast tough, Amanda Walker. What a fantastic character DC gives us here. Amanda Walker is the establishment character that is the ‘boss’ behind the controversial project that spawns the ‘Suicide Squad’. This role was played with absolute authority by Viola Davis and is a wonderful character that I believe we will see again in future DC based films. Viola delivers a solid performance here and gets an ‘A minus’ as well.
This movie really doesn’t have any true “good guys”. It’s like American Politics, they’re all bad but some of them are a little less bad. In this case our Suicide Squad is a bunch a deranged fiends that come together under duress, to fight an even more sinister villain that threatens the whole world.
Like Batman V. Superman, the film is a little lacking in the comic relief. The dialog is fair to good but not up to the standards of greatness we have come to expect from Warner/DC’s arch rival Marvel Entertainment. In Batman V Superman we had a mess of a movie with one shining star in Ben Affleck’s amazing Batman/Bruce Wayne and a could have been shining star had she received more screen time, Wonder Woman. This movie however was not a mess. The plot was marginal but it flowed well and the story was easy to follow. I think any movie with a huge cast of characters needs a more simple plot so we can digest the enormity of character development. Here Suicide Squad succeeds, at least a little.
Director David Ayer gives us a moody film with a lot of conspiracy undertones and characters that for the most part we can feel. He liberally applies the free-cam style for action which is increasingly more common and I feel is starting to become over-used. That said, the overall film presentation is solid. The movie doesn’t really get us, the audience fully engaged in the story. It is just not a fluid experience. Again in this genre you can get away with that to a point. Where Batman V. Superman fell apart mostly on this very issue, Suicide Squad managed to stay intact despite the rough story.
Stay for the after credits as you will see a clear tie in to future movies in a special scene.
This is a movie that was better than I expected but my expectations were not exactly high. Take a look at the super hero movie list to see how it rates. You will notice that Batman V Superman dropped several notches on my list as I now have it on Blu-Ray and watched it again with my Batman bias under control.