Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad [A Fat Jesus Film Review]

Alright you comic book and superhero nerds out there, I’m back! This time with a review of the most hyped DC film that didn’t go over well with the critics, since the last ten DC films that didn’t go over well with critics. That’s right, I’m talking about “Batman & Robin.” Just kidding, this time, it’s “Suicide Squad!” It’s my birthday today and coincidentally it’s also opening day for the superhero-villain group of self-harm. Now the critics have been really rough on DC this year, “Batman v Superman” didn’t go over so well and neither has “Suicide Squad.” I’m on the other side of the boat than most every critic out there. I thought BvS was alright, and “Suicide Squad” is a further step in the right direction, as DC has finally started to build their expanded universe.

“Suicide Squad” occurs after the events of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Government official Amanda Walker (Viola Davis) assembles a team of the world’s most dangerous criminals to undertake high-risk missions for the United States government. These criminals are; the deranged girlfriend of The Joker (Jared Leto), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), an elite hitman and assassin that has never missed a shot, Deadshot (Will Smith), an ex-gangster with pyrokinetic powers, El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a crazed Australian bank robber, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a monstrous cannibal that has the body of a crocodile, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and a spec-op mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach). Under the command of Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), as well as his bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara), the group must go into the heart of Midway City and stop Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne). She is a former recruit for the squad, who is possessed by an ancient witch called the Enchantress, who is hell bent on destroying the world. This ‘Suicide Squad’ is not keen on being used, or working together, but along the way realize that a bigger evil than all of them combined is threatening the planet’s existence.

I've been keeping up with the overall thoughts coming out from the world over the past couple of days leading to the release of the film. I can honestly say that the most accurate thing I’ve seen, from everyone, is that it feels like two different films patched together. This also comes on the heels of reports that the films, was in fact, reshot in a lot of places in the wake of BvS reviews and reception. This is a film that has the flashes of the Marvel quips and humor, but the muddled stories that DC have been putting out with their last couple of films. I liked the humor and character writing, I thought it worked well in a lot of places. Harley Quinn, The Joker (at times), Amanda Walker and even Deadshot have some great humorous moments. All of the members have their moment to shine in the film too, which is a welcome site that no one is left out. The problem comes with the plot. The only reason the squad is even needed at all, is because the squad was created in the first place. Not only that, the cliched “honor among thieves” in done so often, it’s hard to get excited because we knew the bad guys were going to be good guys and save the world. Let Harley Quinn escape near the end and make Joker more central to the story. Those would be my two biggest fixes, rather than paying Jared Leto lead money for a supporting role at best and letting the predictable happen. Other than that my biggest complaints were the length, it felt really draggy at times, the forgettable/underwhelming villain (Sorry, Cara) and the reshoots probably didn’t help things either.

The acting was pretty damn good too. Margot Robbie was a fantastic Harley Quinn, in both the current and flashback scenes, and really captured the dark, quirky, evil humor that The Joker made her brain into. Speaking of The Joker, Jared Leto was pretty good. I don’t think there was enough of him overall to truly judge him, but if he’s in the solo Batman film with Ben Affleck, oh man, that could be perfect. Will Smith is another standout as Deadshot. I was a bit worried about how he would do as Deadshot, but he was the charismatic lead they signed him for. The first scene in midway where he went berserk and killed literally everything on the frontlines by himself, was probably the most badass moment in the film. Finally, Viola Davis as Amanda Walker, the government agent, with her take no prisoners attitude and the means to control these criminals, provides the only reason the plot ever moves. Not only that, she has moments of badassery that one ups everyone. Everyone else is fine in their roles, especially Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, who gets awesome in the final act alone, and it keeps the story that is on life-support afloat. The action is fine throughout as well. There are a few scenes with Batfleck kicking ass and the second half of the film has pretty consistently good action until the credits roll. The music and score we’re alright too. It felt like they were going for a “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibe, but came off as cramming too much recognizable music, rather than a good sensible mix.

“Suicide Squad” is DC’s better film of the year. But, not by as much as people would lead you to think. If you never saw “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” the extended cut it’s worth your time, it’s marginally better than the theatrical cut. On the other hand, “Suicide Squad” is working DC’s way towards the Marvel recipe of action and humor. If DC wants to take a page from Marvel, then they need to build off of this, then they could make comparable films. The humor is there, the action is alright, the casting is great as well. They just need the coherent stories and they can keep it rolling. I liked “Suicide Squad”, the problem is the bad and meh are REALLY bad and meh. This all being said, “Suicide Squad” is worth a watch, and DC is marginally improving.