Suicide Squad: Movie Man Jackson

suicidestub

I’ll just stick to mixing sodas together. To be better prepared for extraterrestrial threats such as Superman who might not be as friendly as the Man of Steel, the government, led by intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), decides to put together a group of talented, yet unstable, individuals.

Call them a Suicide Squad, if you will, comprised of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Slipknot (Adam Beach). Along with de facto special forces leader Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and appointed bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara), the ragtag group is asked to take down not The Joker (Jared Leto), but a threat that could destroy the world. If they succeed, wonderful. And if they fail? Well, there’s a reason the baddest of the bad drew this straw and got called a suicide squad.

joker

Some popular memes going around the Internet concern Marvel vs DC Comics, and how much the latter lags behind the former. One of my personal favorites is this one here, taken from Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Sam Wilson aka Falcon talks about how he does everything Captain America does but much slower. This is, in a way, a perfect image that defines the struggles the DC Extended Universe has had in getting off the ground since BvS and now with Suicide Squad. The irony is, however, that by hotshotting a multitude of characters in the hopes of creating a big comic book universe fast in two movies has actually had the opposite effect.

The talented David Ayer (End of Watch, writer of Training Day), was tagged to not only direct this next entry in the DCEU. Ayer is one of the grittiest directors, and writers, of today, and with the supposedly dark material that Suicide Squad houses in the comics, that would seem to be up his alley, right? Not exactly. There’s a part of me that understands that with the criticism of Dawn of Justice, there was no way that a following DC movie could be as somber.

But, Suicide Squad does unfortunately feel a little neutered, fragmented, and duller than could be imagined. Perhaps it isn’t Ayer’s fault, but the fault of what appears to be a meddling studio yet again. Perhaps we’ll see an extended cut on Blu-Ray akin to Batman V Superman, though a second time with subsequent films gives off the wrong idea. On a bright note, a pretty good score is found by Steven Price, but the soundtrack drives the scenes more, for good and for bad.

quinn

Ayer does present a nice setup. Though exposition-heavy in a scene that seems to last forever in a restaurant, there likely was no other feasible way to introduce the characters that make up the squad. It does its job. The problem is that after that, the story is pretty rinse-and-repeat. I actually didn’t find it that hard to follow, but there very much is a bait-and-switch element to the proceedings. Pretty much a whole act is devoted to getting through two waves of literal faceless enemies to get to a building to extract someone. There are some cool visual moments, mainly of Deadshot being an expert marksman, but it all adds up to a meh trek to the finale, which is hampered by middling to bad CGI and the cheesiness of slow-motion.

The main reason why Suicide Squad isn’t a complete waste is because it is easy to see that the cast is fully committed to these characters and the movie, even if some do not get the requisite attention or backstory. Will Smith is always gonna be Will Smith to me, never fully bleeding into a character. That is not to say he isn’t entertaining, though, and his Deadshot possesses the most humane storyline of any character. Margot Robbie is the true star, and rightfully so. WB has promoted her crazy person act as the franchise player, and it isn’t hyperbolic to say she may one day rival or surpass Batman’s popularity on the silver screen in the DCEU. More of her, please.

In a film of nuts and psychos, Viola Davis’ role is important, if only just to give some sense to the proceedings. Finally, Jared Leto’s Joker is something I was down on after the conclusion of this film, but after thinking about it more, one has to respect his efforts to do something different. Maybe the real reason I was down was the simple fact that he’s not the real opposition this feature deserves, but it’s the one we needed.

The rest of the squad has a clear hierarchy after Deadshot and Quinn. Jay Hernandez and Joel Kinnaman get some development, the former’s actually a little emotional while the latter’s only serves to propel the movie’s baddie. Jai Courtney gets a few funny lines here and there, and barely edges above worthless. Sadly, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Karen Fukuhara are basically that as Killer Croc and Katana, respectively. Nothing against them as actors, just have no care if their characters somehow turned up dead before the sequel. This really needed a stronger villain than the one given to us played by Cara Delevingne. By film’s end, it’s pretty brutal and not in a good way. 

deadshotflagg

Suicide Squad contains a good-to-great foundation for future DC film property in its own universe, but its present is a little bit mucky. Squad goals? Not exactly yet.

C

Photo credits go to cinemablend.com, ew.com, and screenrant.com

Follow the Movie Man @MovieManJackson

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13 thoughts on “Suicide Squad: Movie Man Jackson

  1. This movie was lame. So utterly completely lame and I don’t even think that is harsh bc the end result here has got the fingerprints of meddling studio execs all over it. I don’t want to say this movie is as “big” or the end result as disappointing, but this whole situation has the same feel as David Fincher’s experience dealing with getting his vision across (or, rather, having it butchered) with studio execs who saw differently. There’s stuff to like about SS but boy did I find it hit-and-miss. Nice review Mark

    • Thanks Tom. Yours hit all points, as it often does.
      I cannot remember a summer so sad with its big tentpoles. Went to crap right after Civil War, and aside from Star Trek Beyond which I did enjoy a good deal, this has been a depressing summer.
      Maybe 2017 will bring better fortune to the DCEU, but 2016 is more rocky of a start than anyone could ever imagine for those properties.

  2. I did like this better than you, but clearly the 3rd act is where the biggest problems lie. Strange that a movie about villains doesn’t have a good villain.

  3. It was confusing, but I don’t think Katana was a member of the Suicide Squad. I mean she wasn’t a criminal like the rest. She was the bodyguard of Col. Rick Flag – the man they report to – but also not technically part of the Squad. She kind of helped them out though.

    As fragmented as Suicide Squad is, I wonder what it was like before Warner Bros tinkered with it. Perhaps it was even worse. We probably will never know unless an alternate director’s cut is released.

    You really hhit the nail on the head with this: “Margot Robbie is the true star…” I loved her.

    • She wasn’t. I got lazy there, but you have to admit the trailer did paint her as a member.
      Robbie may be the true franchise player of this universe when all is said and done, and for rightful reason. She’s already surpassed Superman to me. Wonder Woman will be up there, and Batman is Batman, but Harley Quinn is a fundamental block to build around.

  4. Great post 🙂 I saw this film yesterday and I actually thought it was great as shocking as it is to say. Then again, I also loved Batman Vs. Superman so my view on these are bound to come off as idiosyncratic to say the least. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Hey John, thanks for your thoughts. No shame in liking these two movies. I’ve found things to enjoy within them, just have found them to be more average than good, but maybe DC’s 2017 will change that!

  5. Terrible movie. “But, Suicide Squad does unfortunately feel a little neutered, fragmented, and duller than could be imagined” Completely agree with this, and I dislike the notion that superhero movies are “supposed” to be fun. Dark and gritty–what Ayer is known for and what the comics are known for, as you said–is what would work for this, whereas “fun” works for The Avengers. Just because bad movies have been made that have the completely opposite tone of The Avengers doesn’t make that tone automatically bad. Here, the desire to force “fun” clearly weakened the movie and its creative process.

    • Good point. I think violence and darkness sake for violence’s and darkness’ sake is dumb, but if the source materials lends itself to it, why not embrace it? Especially when you have a director like Ayer who has made his calling in gritty productions.

      I think what is most disappointing about this is that Suicide Squad looked to possess the potential to break all the rules, go inventive, not give a f*** really but instead is awfully forgettable.

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