Suicide Squad (2016) (PG-13)
I hold no allegiance to the comic books. I know nothing of the DC universe; but one gets the sense immediately upon starting "Suicide Squad" that DC is trying to expand to compete and to better its superhero counterpart in "Marvel" and on all counts it fails miserably doing so. That being said, "Suicide Squad" isn't as offensively awful as everyone else has made it out to be.
The concept of the movie is really nothing new: good bad-guys, or bad good-guys or however you want to phrase it. It's like "Dirty Dozen" or "Ocean's Eleven" or even "The Dark Knight" except Nolan's movie allowed things to be complicated when it comes to the good/bad dichotomy whereas "Suicide Squad" not so subtly or surprisingly, makes it very clear that even the most reprehensible people have redeeming qualities...that is, unless they're the "good" guys.
See Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Clearly, see is a turn on what we would consider a "good" character. She works for the government and is trying to prevent World War III. If you've seen the commercial you know what happens next: she assembles a group of "meta-humans" to help in case of a bad Superman.
Already the movie is incoherent and jumbled and the result of apparent re-cutting of the film. It should be said right up front, the editing team should be fired. No amount of pop-rock songs on the soundtrack are able to salvage the beginning thirty minutes of the movie which unravels as a hot mess with no apparent end in sight.
But then we get to the villain, which the trailers actually manage to leave out of most of it, so it will not be explained here. Surprisingly enough, I bought into the villain, even though there are some major issues with how the movie accelerates.
We expect a final showdown in superhero movies. The ultimate good vs. bad moment where good will triumph and we'll be left unperturbed and we can leave the theater in peace knowing that the escapism of the moment is done. "Suicide Squad" attempts to be something greater than that, except it doesn't deliver an intelligent script.
This movie comes on the heels of two Marvel movies of note: "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Deadpool". Both are good movies and DC is attempting bravely to tackle both of them to the ground.
The trailers might make it seem that Harley Quinn is the most important character of the film, but that's definitely not the case. Deadshot (Will Smith) is the epicenter of the "Suicide Squad" mostly because he has the most 'redeemable' qualities we look for in a villain-turned hero. Deadshot is a sassy mercenary who has killed hundreds of people; but has a daughter and therefore is a good person because he loves his offspring. The way the movie handles this thread is like watching a Lifetime movie, complete will sappy music and fake tears. It's a bundle of horrid filmmaking.
But that's not the end of the movie. The film goes on to blunder through scene after scene while we wait for the plot to predictably unfold; and it does, but do you know something? It's not entirely terrible.
The main fault of the movie is the editing which jumps and clashes and tries to assemble a coherent plot without establishing full characters. The other huge fault is the script, and then the acting.
"Suicide Squad" feels like it was attempting to be the vehicle for two things: a method actor's movie, and an "event". Big actors, big money, and big source material doesn't always make a big hit. Every actor in the film is straining for something larger. You have Margot Robbie trying to ditch her Australian accent and failing, Will Smith doing a solid job of being Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman doing some sort of southern accent, and then there's Jared Leto.
The publicity around Leto's joker has been enormous and the payoff, incidental. I have too much to say here about why I think what I think and whether it's the fault of the directing or the editing I don't know; but it comes down to Leto's bit part as the Joker and he is terrible. It's a misguided idea that isn't helped by the lackluster approach the movie has towards its audience.
But even while all the collective shit is hitting the fan (although based on the trailers, you would expect a bigger explosion) it's still not a terrible movie. It has a lot of faults, but there's nothing in it that makes me roll my eyes and scream at the film.
"Suicide Squad" is not great cinema; and the saddest part is that it had that opportunity. I wonder what would have happened if there was an extra thirty minutes in it, if the budget was bigger, if it had a better script, if it had a higher rating, and if it was made by people who actually cared about the movie they are making.
I think if everything shifted hands, it will make a hell of a sequel; but Lord forgive the current team should they try to pull a slipshod mess again. For me, the mess was fun to watch; but I probably wouldn't appreciate it the second time around.
Posted by Micah Jones