Friday, August 26, 2016

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

Despite major failures on the part of Warner Bros. and the D.C. Comics movie division, I actually went to watch the Suicide Squad. Here's the thing, I'm a DC comics fan. I like the stories they tell, even if I don't always agree with HOW they tell those stories. And when I heard that a Suicide Squad movie was being made, I was excited. In this era, where they are taking comic book movies seriously, this movie would be nothing short of AMAZING! Then I watched Batman vs Superman, and my faith in the studio died. But, I still had a glimmer of hope. Suicide Squad could still be the intense, tour de force film that brings DC to the top of comic book movies! I'm sorry to say, it wasn't.

Overall, the movie was okay. It was a nice bit of escapist fluff, which is the problem. The key thing to a lot of DC story telling is that they are rooted in philosophical questions. In the Suicide Squad comics, there were always several fundamental questions asked of the reader:

-- Are the members of the Suicide Squad really villains?
-- What does it really mean to be a villain?
-- Is there a difference between being Bad & being Evil?
-- When good guys fail, does it make sense to send bad guys to fight Evil?

Those questions, along with the action and personal issues of the individual characters, make the Suicide Squad comics really intense reading. And while I wasn't expecting all of these questions to be tackled in the movie, I was expecting SOME of them to be handled. No such luck. There was maybe 60 seconds of screen time to the issue and then nothing.

This is not to say that the characters didn't develop throughout the movie. But the development was done in the COMPLETELY WRONG direction. After the pre-requisite "this is why they are bad ass bad guys" montage, they spent the rest of the movie trying to make them heroes, which doesn't make sense and makes the movie fall flat. The whole premise of the film is that we're watching VILLAINS take on the big bad. So why are you trying to make them heroes?

As for the individual members of the team:

Harley Quinn - I loved Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley. Despite what many, many reviews of this movie has said, she was NOT overly sexualized or trivialized at all. There have been comic panels of Harley that qualify as straight up PORN. In this movie, her portrayal was tame. And that scene where the Joker hands her off to another criminal as a prize, if you actually pay attention to the scene, she was the bait in a trap! The Joker had every intention of KILLING that man from the moment he sat down. Joker has never, and will never, EVER willingly give up Harley. It's actually one of Harley's major problems in the future. While we're on the subject...

Joker - I loved Jared Leto's Joker. There were some homages to past portrayals which was nice to see. But I liked this charismatic criminal messiah that Leto interpreted him as. For huge portion of his run in the comics, the Joker was "the Clown Prince of Crime". With that, he was able to sway people to work for him and do his bidding. That charisma is what pulled Dr. Harleen Quinzel, PhD into his orbit. They displayed that charisma exceedingly well which is a refreshing change from the intense focus on Joker's insanity. Eventually, the Joker/Harley relationship becomes abusive as hell. But this movie was about the beginning of that relationship, it's "golden era" as it were. We got to see what it was that made Harley love the Joker and the degradation of that relationship will be all the more powerful because now we've seen where it comes from.

Captain Boomerang - As the comic relief, Capt Boomerang was simply fantastic. From his ill-advised advances towards Katana to his general behavior on the squad, he brought a lot of the fun to this movie. ( I would love to see him in a buddy cop movie with Resident Evil's Barry Burton!)

Killer Croc - He didn't have much to do in the film, which is a shame, since he is a much underrated character. But for what his part was, he was awesome. Creepy as hell, and unapologetically vicious.

Diablo - He was great. His story arc was the best of all in the Squad. He was believably funny, understandably damaged and reluctant to use his powers.

Deadshot - I really wish they had gotten Deadshot right. He was the single biggest disappointment of the whole movie. Will Smith is a fantastic actor, but despite my initial elation at his casting, he was the wrong choice for the role. Deadshot is someone who is cold, calculating, and professional. Someone good enough to be receiving one million per hit should not have the mannerisms of a common street thug. The DC TV universe version (on Arrow) was a MUCH truer portrayal of the character.

Rick Flag - There's not much to say about Flag. He was basically a typical by-the-book soldier placed in what was should have been a huge moral grey area, but since the movie tried to turn the Suicide Squad into heroes, Flag's character fell flat.

Katana - She also didn't have much to do in the film. And again, it was a crying shame because she could have been an EPIC player in the movie. Still she had her bad ass moments, but her backstory was lacking. The little bit that was there was very compelling and I would have liked to see more.

Enchantress - Her story-line was intriguing. I genuinely felt bad for the lady being possessed, it added a slightly different touch of tragedy than Diablo's story arc. This gave the movie some much needed nuance, but nowhere near enough.

Amanda Waller - She was PITCH PERFECT! Viola Davis played her absolutely fantastically. Cold hearted, vicious, unapologetic and RUTHLESS TO THE NINES! There were a couple of scenes where she even took ME by surprise and I've seen comics and tv shows where she's best buddies with Lex Luthor!

As I said earlier in this post, the movie was a fun time. If you have a couple of hours to kill and nothing better to do, watch this movie and you'll have a good time. But if you're looking for a DEFINITIVE version of the Suicide Squad, either read the comics or watch the animated feature: Batman: Assault On Arkham. The Squad's line up is slightly different, but it's a much truer portrayal of the group's dynamic.

Final Rating: 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment