Well…Suicide Squad is in theaters and you have two choices: A: See it fast, or B: Just embrace extreme depression. Equally valid choices and, with the second, you’ll save yourself the fifteen to twenty dollars. DC’s latest effort to challenge Marvel’s movie mastery falls way short, both in entertainment value and just pure fun.
Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead. There is danger coming. There’s also a shortage of meta-humans to protect the Earth. Go ahead, take a handful of the worst B-list super villains, threaten them with certain death if they don’t obey and then create a group to replace him. Can you see the flaw?
Hell, Helen Keller could see the flaw. Sure enough, about three seconds after the mission begins, one bad guy has escaped and another has died. Another small problem…the reason they have a mission at all is because of the escaped one. The brilliant idea of creating and directing this catastrophe is Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and she is pissed. Like she should be surprised. Movies tend to be predictable, but this one comes with a road map.
Imagine for a moment that you have the Joker’s (Jared Leto) best girl, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), a pay for play assassin, Deadshot (Will Smith), a fiery mass murdering gang leader, Diablo (Jay Hernandez) add several other homicidal maniacs and you can see the problem. Give them an arsenal and all their equipment and It’s rather like giving an arsonist a flame thrower. Some shit is going to burn down.
They are tasked with catching the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and to do that they need to kill a whole lot of her followers and stop her godlike brother. To do that Waller assigns Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). He is to shepherd them, encourage them and kill them if they stray. Not surprisingly they balk, and it’s his job to bring them back to the path. He does and the battle is joined with some of the best special effects around!
Director David Ayers made a valiant effort, but with such a flawed plot it was too little. The story elements too were underwhelming. Nothing seemed new, original or creative except Harley Quinn. Whether It was direction, Margot Robbie or writing, she turned out to be just darned fun.
Will Smith had the most screen time and was adequate, but it seemed rather a drive thru performance. There was little of his sparkling wit, great one liners or personality. Jay Hernandez, as Diablo was great, and his character was allowed to develop through the film and he ran with it. By the end it was hard not to identify with him.
The secondary characters, were just that, secondary. Jai Courtenay was fine as Boomerang, but nothing to brag about. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje or Killer Croc, was too much like a cartoon character. The comparison to Dave Bautista as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy is obvious. Drax was a great character and Killer Croc just was not. The same could be said for the Enchantress. This one appears to be Ayer’s fault. Cara Delevingne just wasn’t given enough to work with.
Unfortunately, one of the great comic book villains suffered the most in this film-the Joker. This was one of the worst jokers, ever. The character was frenetic, silly, rather than creepy, and just did not play on the emotions. He could have been absent in this movie for all he added.
Then there is Rick Flag and Amanda Waller. Viola Davis always brings a good performance, but again, she just didn’t seem to have a lot to work with. She was tepidly interesting, and her behaviors were right on, but was not engaging.
Kinnaman as Rick Flag was excellent, if understated. He was the Boy Scout in the piece. There was no doubt, from the beginning, he would be the hero. Yes, it was telegraphed but rightly so. His performance was engaging. His character’s actions were flawless, if predictable, and he was easy to applaud at the end. There was nothing wanting at the end of the movie. He would be a character to see in other films.
That brings us to Margot Robbie. Harley Quinn was an amazingly visual character and as much fun during character interactions as during action scenes. She was just damn fun, something that was missing elsewhere in the film.
Whether it’s the studio or director, this film was nowhere as good as its potential. The characters should all have had some early redeeming quality and none did except Deadshot. Even the relationship with his daughter was not done well. There was some small connection by the very end of the film, but too little too late. Check out John Wick (Keanu Reeves) and his relationship with his dog. It humanized an otherwise inhuman killer and made the film. Spoiler, the dog was killed in the first few minutes and Wick came out of retirement, with a vengeance.
Suicide Squad is a feeble attempt at capturing part of the market cornered by Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. With marginal direction, underwhelming dialogue and characters that could have been written by a fifth grader with a crayon, the film plods where it should race. There is great potential, should the franchise survive, with Harley Quinn as a brilliant centerpiece, but needs a humor transplant and a better director.