It’s been a week now, and most of you who really wanted to watch Warner Bros.’s latest DC movie, “Suicide Squad,” have already seen the film and have formed your own opinions on it. That’s great. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, then you have undoubtedly seen the mixed reviews coming in from friends and critics alike. Well, now it’s my turn. To be fair to those folks who’ve yet to take the time to view director, David Ayers’s divisive DCEU contribution, I’ll leave the first paragraph or so spoiler free. But then after that, it’s on! Don’t worry, I won’t go crazy. I’ll just focus on some spots that really bothered me that I really haven’t heard addressed by other reviews I’ve seen thus far. Anyway, enough intro paragraph, let me tell you what you want to know about Warner Bros.’s “Suicide Squad.” 😉
Okay, what I’m about to say is important: this. movie. is. FUN. period. Yeah, yeah, there’s plot holes and editing mistakes and the pacing is off at times, blah, blah, blah. All that aside, this movie is fun. There are explosions, some laughs, great music (even if it doesn’t seem to fit the tone of the movie all the time) and some entertaining fight sequences. It’s a bit of a mix between the bright colors of “Batman Forever,” with the semi-dark tone of “Dark Knight Rises,” and the bloated cast of “X-Men Apocalypse,” with a touch of “Kick Ass” thrown in for good measure. If you liked any, or all of those movies I just mentioned, then “Suicide Squad” is up your alley. Granted, this movie won’t win any awards, but it is a great way to have fun and not take yourself too seriously.
In the wake of the destruction left behind during “Man of Steel” and “Batman V Superman,” “Suicide Squad,” the latest entry into the DCEU, is a government sanctioned monster mash of some of DC’s more tame criminals. Headlining this Hari Kari cache of characters are Will Smith as Deadshot, the man who never misses, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s psychotic main squeeze. The other main characters are Rick Flag, the all-American soldier whose sole purpose is to serve his country and save his sweetheart, dutifully played by Joel Kinnaman;
Viola Davis masterfully portrays the role of Amanda Waller, the hard-hearted mastermind behind this criminal cadre of would-be heroes, who, in a movie filled with villains, stands heads and shoulders above the rest in terms of pure cut throat nastiness. Rounding out the cast of memorable main characters is Jared Leto’s Joker. I’ll admit that when I first saw early screenshots of Leto’s Joker, I was a little bit more than underwhelmed. I was bewildered and put off, yet I understood what Leto was trying to do; after all, it isn’t easy to uniquely portray an iconic character such as the Joker, especially when you’re already under the cinematic shadow of such great Joker performances from both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. However, despite even knowing that, I was still taken aback by it. That changed in a blink recently, due to DC’s comic rebirth revival, in which within the new Batman storyline it is explained that the Joker is not one, but actually three separate people. I know, I know, that sounds crazy. Well, here’s a link in case you want to know more about it (Trying to make sense of Joker’s new origin – IGN conversation). Anyway, with that knowledge in mind, Leto’s Joker performance in “Suicide Squad” was a lot easier to swallow, and actually made him a bit more appealing in my eyes, since I was able to see him as the third version of the infamous killer clown.
FALLING SHORT OF SQUAD GOALS
In terms of the rest of the squad, err, umm, well it should come as no surprise that the other members really take a big backseat in this movie. It is a real shame, too, because Jay Hernandez’s Diablo showed a bit of potential underneath all the facial tattoos. The rest of the characters: Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Katana, Killer Croc and Slipknot (played by Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Kara Fukuhara, Adele Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Adam Beach, respectively) all played second, and even third, fiddle to Deadshot and Harley. Even Enchantress, the main antagonist in the film, who starts out as a part of the Squad but then betrays them to unleash Armageddon, is lackluster, poorly lit and almost laughable. But then again, that’s part of the fun! Even if David Ayers didn’t intend for Cara Delevingne’s character to look like a possessed Shakira impersonator, that’s honestly part of the fun of this movie.
Despite Suicide Squad’s lack of a Jesse Eisenberg or any fourth wall breaks, this movie takes itself a bit too seriously (i.e. Enchantress and her minion and the apocalyptic doom she ensues), but not too seriously that it becomes a Christopher Nolan movie. I mean, who sends a guy with a boomerang, another guy with wrist guns, and Hot Topic’s employee of the year, to go fight an ancient centuries old resurrected evil anyway?! When you start to think about it too much, “Suicide Squad” falls apart under the weight of its own ambition. But if you try not to give it a second thought and simply enjoy the action-packed extended music video that is “Suicide Squad,” then you’re going to treat yourself to one hell of a hay ride!
Okay, so that’s the spoiler-free, personal review of “Suicide Squad.” From here on out, I’m dropping spoilers… and the professional pretense. You’ve been warned.
:::SPOILERS AHEAD::: AKA the WTF zone!?
Duuuuuuude!!!1!! What’s up with Batfleck and the Flash? Like, seriously Ayers!? You have them appear for a few seconds early on in the movie, and then during this world ending glowing debris doughnut in the sky catastrophe, which apparently was happening for 3 days mind you (3 DAYS!!), there’s no mention of the caped crusader or the scarlet speedster anywhere! And thats just for starters! I mean, Batman and The Flash felt so out of place in this movie, completely forced. I wager some big wig in a comfy leather seat had some say in that, but you didn’t hear it from me. And speaking of Batman, look, I get it. Everybody who totally lowered their expectations for B. Affleck to do a good job were blown away at his stand-out performance in Batman V. Superman. But honestly, it’s not hard to stand-out when every one else in the movie just dials it in. (cough cough).
Now, regarding the Dark Knight’s presence in this movie, well…
Ok, here’s the set-up for Batman’s first appearance in Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller is speaking all hush hush with a few other suits about setting up this “team” to take on “meta-human” level threats, and with Superman dead at the end of BvS, she figures now is the perfect time to get the ball rolling. This is when she gets into talking about Will Smith’s character, Deadshot: the man who never misses. One of the other suits at the table says something along the lines of “but he’s been in hiding and hard to get a hold of and impossible to capture yada yada” to which Waller says “I’ve got that taken care of. He (Deadshot) is in Gotham and I made a few calls” or something to the effect. Either way, the next scene is the Fresh Prince of Headshots in civilian clothes walking along a busy street with his daughter for an obvious Father/Daughter day. As they turn a corner to walk down a less crowded alleyway, who else would drop down from the roof top but our good old point eared, justice dealing, winged rodent, Batman. After getting the drop on Daddy Deadshot, Smith’s character instinctively pulls out a gun and aims it right at the Gotham Guardian, to which Batfleck says “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter.” wait, WHAT? Like, are you kidding me Batsy? YOU’RE the one who attacked him, FROM BEHIND NO LESS, in FRONT of his daughter in the first place!! and now, NOW, you’re getting all high and mighty (and hypocritical) and saying “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter.” Duuuuuude, shut the front door! Just, just… I can’t.
And then there’s the Flash. He makes a quick cameo, and we’re supposed to flip our lids? Ooooo, an expanded universe! Gasp! It’s a hint that they are going to make the Justice League movie! wutwutwut! #HalfLife3Confirmed!!? Seriously DC, calm your tits. Congratulations, you’ve finally gotten smart regarding your cinematic universe and decided to expand and connect and have some continuity. That’s a great idea, golf claps all around. It really worked well for you animated televised outings in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, so it was about time you took the same world building principal to the big screen. But honestly, you might want to focus on making a good universe first before you start expanding it. I’m just saying. Especially since the Flash, who’ve we’ve seen twice now (in BvS and now SS), has been basically useless every time he’s flashed on the screen. I mean, thanks for the cameo, but he would have been better served as an easter egg. To show The Flash “stopping” Captain Boomerang and the beginning of the film, and then do nothing else during a cataclysmic event unfolds is just a waste of a character and makes for another terrible plot hole in this swiss cheese movie.
Speaking of plot holes, Enchantress was an ancient, centuries old let down. Cara Delevingne did her best with the script and direction she was given, but this character was dead in the water before the bath was even filled. For instance, apparently she can teleport. In fact, when we are first shown Delevingne transform into Enchantress from June Moon, the archeologist who found the cursed artifact that transformed her in the ancient deity, (hands down one of the coolest, if not THEE coolest scene in the movie) she demonstrates her ability to teleport from one side of the world to another in the blink of an eye, retrieving secret terrorist documents in the process. However, when she turns evil and starts to attack the city, there is a scene where the whole Suicide Squad makes it way to the top floor of a high rise building in order to secure a “special package”, aka, Amanda Waller, who has been trapped inside for the past 3 days. Now, as soon as the Squad rescue her, and Waller is inside a helicopter flying to safety, THAT’s when Enchantress starts to focus her attacks on her escaping chopper and tasks her minions to capture a helpless Waller. Ok, so the question then is this: if Enchantress can teleport, why didn’t she just teleport into the room to grab Waller 3 days ago?! Like, seriously!? And then, in the final battle, instead of using her ancient evil powers to do battle against the squad, Enchantress decides to use capoeira and then swords. Are you kidding me?! You have phenomenal cosmic powers and you go with hand to hand combat as your first choice?! Le sigh… At least she still had the coolest intro in the whole movie. Cara as June Moon is standing at one end of a long business table surrounded by military and government big shots, she puts her hands on the table, whispers “Enchantress”, and then the camera zooms in as a shadow hand begins to embrace June’s own real hand, and then BOOM, transformation. I loved it. In fact, here’s that scene now. 😉 That “Go get it, girl” at the end though, I don’t know if that was intended to be funny or not, but it surely got a gut bust from me. LoL
I have a few more gripes with this movie, but the more I talk about it, the more it honestly just sounds like quibbling. And believe me, there are quite a few more things I could quibble about (why was Killer Croc so small?! and wearing velour?! Slipknot dead in two minutes!! Diablo was able to “own up” to his past mistakes just because Harley told him to get over it a few minutes ago?! sigh…), but none of it matters. Not really. Because in the end, this movie was still fun. I enjoyed the explosions, and the one sided fight scenes, and the little easter eggs peppered through-out. Despite their placement in this movie, I was still happy to see Batman and the Flash show up on screen, even though I wish they did more than just.. nothing. There is a particularly enjoyable, however brief, easter egg in which you see Harley Quinn’s original costume that was debuted in Batman: The Animated Series. It only flashed on screen for a brief moment, but it was enough for fans to see and be gleeful for.
Bottomline, this movie isn’t saving the DC franchise like they hoped it would, but its still a damn good time, IF you don’t think about it too much. Sort of like an compilation of race car accidents on youtube: entertaining to watch, definitely expensive, filled with “oo’s” and “aah’s”, and when it’s over, you just hope no one was seriously hurt. Ultimately, I’m going to buy the blu-ray, as well as probably watch it in the theater one more time. It’s a comic book movie, and that genre gets my support no matter what. No Super Hero Movie Left Behind! Except Green Lantern. AND X-Men: Apocalypse. Gaaah, please someone burn the celluloid for those films and spread the ashes in the sea, and then lets never discuss them again. 😉