Monday, August 8, 2016

Suicide Squad

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Turns out every person in this movie has a mother named Martha.



Suicide Squad – 4 out of 5

The Suicide Squad is a pretty cool comic book idea.  While it took some time to really take off and catch on with the readers, the idea of taking D-list super-villains and turning them into anti-heroes is a pretty intriguing concept.  Sure, they didn’t really have much of a choice and the missions they were sent on were usually the kind that your odds of walking away from them are slim but it did offer up something unseen at the time and it would later be a platform for some of the more obscure characters from various heroes’ rogues gallery to get their own spotlight.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see that after Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice, the next film in the DC Cinematic Universe would be Suicide Squad; however, after the dashed hopes I had because of BvS I was a tad on the skeptical side. Did Suicide Squad correct what the last film failed at?

                                                                                                   Warner Bros. Pictures
There they are.  A group of people sent on missions of a suicidal nature.
They're called The Group Who Will Probably Die.


Even though Superman “died” at the end of Dawn of Justice, the rise of metahumans has the US government sweating.  Intelligence operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) convinces her bosses to initiate her proposal of Task Force X; a group of violent and dangerous criminals forced to perform the missions and tasks that the military can’t handle.  After the metahuman witch Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) reunites with her brother and takes over Midway City, Waller enlists Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to lead the team that consists of the hitman who never misses; Deadshot (Will Smith), the insane lover to Batman’s most famous villain; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the Aussie thief with a love of boomerangs; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the monstrous Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach) and the mystic sword-fighter Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and together they set out to save the day or die trying—but it’s not like they’ll be missed if they fail.  However, while this is going on, the Joker (Jared Leto) is diving headfirst into the mess in order to rescue his beloved Quinn.

                                                                                                    Warner Bros. Pictures
Viola Davis perfectly captures Amanda Waller but, I'll be honest, I definitely
would have liked to see Oprah in the role had that rumor proved true.

The critics’ responses to the film haven’t been the most positive.  This has caused the fanboys to react in the truly predictable way by claiming that there’s a DC bias against their products and that Marvel is paying off the critics to bash the film.  Even more idiotic are the fans who don’t understand that Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t actually employ any critics and they’ve started an online petition (because those always work) and they want the website to be shut down (did they know that WB actually owns some of RT?).  I see myself as a wannabe critic and while I do like to read other reviews for films I’ve seen or am going to see and I like to check the Tomato-meter reading to see which way a film is trending, I’m also not afraid to form my own thoughts and opinions when I review something—nor will I get mad because critics or other people don’t agree with me (I don’t understand that reaction in people).  So, that being said, I completely understand the complaints and criticisms about this product but, despite it, I really did enjoy Suicide Squad.

                                                                                                     Warner Bros. Pictures
This seems like the perfect picture to do one of those "Squad Goals" thing but
I won't.  Instead, I'll talk about how jet fuel can't melt steel beams...

On the negative side, the film does suffer from some really sloppy development.  The story focuses entirely on Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo and the relationship between Rick Flag and Enchantress while leaving characters like Killer Croc, Katana and Captain Boomerang with only hints of development or completely in the dust (I won't even get into how they handled Slipknot).  You’ll get enough of who they are so it’s not completely confusing to non-comic book readers but I definitely desired more—especially since Jai Courtney steals the spotlight more than a few times as Boomerang.   Finally, the development is sometimes handled poorly within the context of the story and not the most eloquently feathered into the plot.  It basically stops short of blatantly telling you that it’s time for some development; it’s that so obviously thrown in.

                                                                                                   Warner Bros. Pictures
This film desperately needed more Captain Boomerang because Jai Courtney
was just that fun in the role.

The film also suffers from some messy tonal shifts throughout its running length.  At times, the film is slick in its presentation and brings in some humor that fits its darker tone but, other times, the film tries very hard to be a heavy drama or tries to be a special effects spectacular action film.  Sometimes the change in tone feels fluid and works but, other times, they are jarring and can completely shut down the momentum the film has going for it.  As far as the CG-extravaganza action moments, this shift in tone is only harmful because some of the CG isn’t the best.

                                                                                                    Warner Bros. Pictures
I'll clarify that the CG isn't terrible but it's definitely not the most photo-realistic.

Finally, the film has a tendency to use popular music like a crutch.  While this isn’t completely terrible, it does sometimes feel lazy.  It’s hard to not compare this element to Guardians of the Galaxy but this piece in the Marvel film was essential to the character of Star-Lord and, in this film, it feels gratuitous.  That sounds bad but it’s ultimately not.  I love almost all the songs they used and they did fit the scenes they were used it but there are times they did feel, like I said, a crutch.

                                                                                                     Warner Bros. Pictures
The film, thankfully, stopped short of using "Crocodile Rock" when Killer
Croc enters for the first time.

Despite the problems though, I really enjoyed Suicide Squad.  I was enthralled with all the performances.  Will Smith is a badass as Deadshot, Margot Robbie was flat-out amazing as Harley Quinn (and it’s just awesome to finally see this character in live-action), Jai Courtney is hysterical as Boomerang and Viola Davis is stone-cold and a perfect representation of Amanda Waller.  There are some elements of the cast I wasn’t too thrilled with, however.  I wanted to see more of Killer Croc in the film but I was confused by some of Akinnuoye-Agbaje acting choices and, like how I felt about Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor, I’m not entirely sure about Jared Leto’s Joker.   While it’s clear that this is a new Joker that we’ve never seen before and was very much based on the New 52, Leto’s performance felt too even keel to either capture the essence of the Joker or justify his moronic actions on set in order to “get in character.”

                                                                                                   Warner Bros. Pictures
We all realize his "methods" to get into his role were just an excuse to
fuck around, right?

Additionally, I really loved the action and comedy of the film.  While Suicide Squad sticks with the darker tone that the DCCU wants, director David Ayer was able to bring in some dark comedy that worked and didn’t make the feature feel unending bleak and pessimistic—plus, there wasn’t a single point of conflict that ended with the word “Martha.”  That's a huge plus in the film's favor! 

                                                                                                    Warner Bros. Pictures
Every monster Deadshot killed, he was nice enough to welcome them
to Earth.

Finally, I really liked the new, adjusted dynamic of the relationship between Harley and Joker.  In the comics, their relationship is incredibly abusive; Harley loves Mr. J but, to him, she’s just a toy for him to use and toss aside.  I know before the film came out a ton of knee-jerk reactions articles came out about over sexualizing Harley because of her booty shorts but the final product felt anything but and these articles almost feel slut-shaming in retrospect.  Harley isn’t some harlot who is just out to get with any guy that comes her way and to dress the part; instead, she has the usual head-over-heels feelings that she is known to have for Joker but, in an interesting turn, the Joker feels the same.  They even pull inspiration from her New 52 origin and adjust it so it’s an act of a couple very much committed to each other and not a dude forcing a girl to become what he wants her to become.  It was kinda refreshing.  Although, rumors stated that this came about only because of editing out a majority of Leto's Joker scenes but having it as is, it was very cool to see.

                                                                                                    Warner Bros. Pictures
I'll be honest, I did squeal a bit when I heard Harley say "puddin'" and "Mister J."

Suicide Squad definitely has some issues that hold it back and really highlights that DC and Warner Bros. is still very new to the shared universe building thing but this film really shows that they are actively trying to fix the problems that have been seen in BvS and even seen in Man of Steel.  David Ayer, with all the outrageous antics we’ve heard about on set, was still able to make a film that didn’t feel like a collection of moments for a trailer the way Dawn of Justice felt and made something that was pretty entertaining and fun.  It still has some problems and is far from perfect but these problems never drag it down nor completely killed the potential for entertainment it contained.

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