Suicide Squad (2016)
Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: David Ayer
Starring: Adam Beach, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alex Meraz, Cara Delevingne, Common, Corina Calderon, David Harbour, Ike Barinholtz, Jai Courtney, Jared Leto, Jay Hernandez, Jim Patrick, Joel Kinnaman, Karen Fukuhara, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Viola Davis, Will Smith
What is it about?
It feels good to be bad…Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
Before I headed off to the cinema to watch DC’s new installment in their grand plan of a Cinematic Superhero universe, I re-read my Man Of Steel review from a few years back. Here was a film that looking back I thought I gave a very respected three and a half stars and I included a paragraph within the review that stated:
“you can not help but feel once the final credits roll, that maybe, just maybe this is just the benchmark of something really special. There is something in the blood of the film that suggests that we on the verge of something really great here. Its like we watching a warmer for something good, something magical and dare I say it, something super!”
Time though has not stood kindly for the film that has been largely ignored by DC and Warner themselves, but yet it plays a pivotal role in the very reason DC seem to be struggling with their hopes for the future of what they are trying to create. The film has its faults and way too many to mention here, but underneath the carnage and the victims of the dust up between Superman and General Zod, there is potential for something really special to happen afterwards. We had the ground work, the origin put to us and if there ever was a sequel required to make a film breath on its own flowing cape, then Man Of Steel 2 would have that. It also would have established a firm base, given fans another chance to Henry Cavil in full flow and could or should have, dropped enough hints that Gotham City also had a hero, a Dark Knight that Superman needed to stop, meet or for whatever the plot came up with.
In hindsight what followed from that film should have been Ben Affleck’s solo movie, a hardened and seasoned Batman, who has seen enough to be a damage soul, whose relationship with Robin is at a strain and with the added shadowy menace of the double duo team of Leto’s Joker and Robbie’s Quinn causing a ripple in Gotham. The film ends with the death of Robin, Joker escaping and Quinn locked up in Arkham Asylum where she meets Amanda Waller….and hence the Suicide Squad starting to develop.
Most DC Fans can come up with their own imaginative tales into how after Man Of Steel ended, the plot would pan out. I am no script writer and there are many better ideas floating around out there that could have been used, but for all their differences, they all share the same underlying issue……it would make this universe breath.
Ah….such a simple five letter word but let me sum up how important that term is. By Fleshing out the characters the whole storyline would breath…..it would give us fans something to breath…….it relaxes the whole franchise from Superman, to Batman and towards Haley Quinn’s hot pants. In other words, create a world without haste but of a patience in which we can all enjoy.
Man Of Steel was the launch pad but the follow up with the fight fest with Batman came across like a rushed production with another film missing in-between. The Easter Egg moments for example of Joker’s written words on the deceased Robin’s suits infuriated more than brought happiness and the rush to get the film to the masses brought just major disappointment from 80% of fans that had waited years for this team up.
If there is a film that has suffered even more from this lack of patience by Warner and DC then sadly Suicide Squad is that film. While Bat V Supes caused a ripple and tension between critics and diehard fans (with yours truly suffering a backlash for his negative review) at least the story had two famous characters as central characters that even if you are not a comic book fan, will know who they were. The gang presented here have a lot of work to do in the two hours to get the most causal viewer up to speed of whose who!
Here Suicide Squad, having been released thanks to a brilliant marketing ploy using some amazing trailers that has brought so much needed excitement for fans, was the movie that was supposed to bridge the gap between fans and those who write the reviews. The trailers suggested a fun blast to the senses, the wonderful use of Bohemian Rhapsody and Ballroom Blitz suggested a more confident tone was coming out of the vaults of DC.
Having now watched the film twice, simply because I thought I did not give it a chance the first time, with my apprehensive approach thanks to that Zack Snyder’s effort, once the credits rolled for the second time, I finally realised if Suicide Squad was any good!
Lets start by being honest and say that there are some bad Superhero films out there, Catwoman, Last Year’s Fantastic 4, Superman IV…..even X-Men Apocalypse, which bored me no end this year, are just a few that spring to my mind. You can’t classify Suicide Squad in that list! Yes it has major problems, but its not the disaster many believe it to be, but its also not the romp all fans want us to believe either. Basically its a film stuck in the middle.
Those unfamiliar with Suicide Squad (and you really should check out the cartoon Assault On Arkham) the plot follows the same jist that the TV Show ARROW offered up a few seasons back. Yes guys Oliver Queen done this very thing much to the delight of fans watching, before DC ordered them to stop, a decision that the show has never really recovered from.
Anyway a bunch of Super villains team up under the watchful eye of Government Agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to form a secret task force. With the threat of death if they try to escape, the crew consist of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), and Diablo (Jay Hernandez).
Basically then, the majority of the opening hour is a talkative fest, mixed with a good music soundtrack that passes off as entertainment. Somehow the clip of a laptop button that Batman V Superman offered to the viewer as an introduction to the Justice League now looked more easier.
The first half of the movie tries its best to introduce the gang and its one of the reasons why the film is saddled with so much weight. Trying to cram so much backstory and a bit of Batman, to give the viewer unfamiliar with these characters a reason to watch, means that the film struggles with its flashbacks. Die hard fans will reap at the rewards on offer, to finally see the likes of Harley Quinn in the flesh, but for those who don’t know their Croc from their Boomerang, may find the first half a confusing mess.
One of the examples of the film trying to do to much is in the form of Jared Leto’s Joker which I have to be honest I detested from the off. Maybe it was to do with the stupid decision to reveal him so quickly and with no shock value effect. Remember that bit in the first trailer when you see the squad out and about, then Quinn looks up and you here that iconic laugh? Now that is how to introduce the most iconic of characters! While Heath Ledger was brought to our senses thanks to a daring bank robbery and Jack Nicholson stepped out of the shadow to shoot Jack Palance, here Leto is first seen in a flashback, across the table to Dr Harleen Quinzel, who later becomes…well you know!
No grand entrance? No threat? No aura? Even if he does not turn out to be the Joker, Jerome in Gotham had a better arrival. Why Leto is even in this movie is questionable? Nothing more than a glorified cameo, his odd take on the famous character will be of a diverse opinion for many and it says it all that Margot Robbie’s ass has more screen time than the clown prince of crime.
Talking of Robbie, well she steals the show. Her screen presence is electrifying, from the very first shot, she owns the film. Her accent may strain at times, but she is the most perfect Harley Quinn we could have and I be more on-board on the her planed solo film. Same goes to Will Smith who after a few years of cinema bombs, reminds the fans how good he can be. His Deadshot is a welcome addition to the film canon along with Davis’s Amanda who I very much guess we be seeing more of in the next few films.
The rest of the crew are pretty solid with Jai Courtney proving a more than reliable sidekick. So if the cast is good, then what’s the problem? Well if you have a line up of super villains, then you need a super…super….villain…….which the film does not have! If you still yet to see the film then I won’t tell you who the bad person is, but its such a weak aspect of the movie that the final half suffers badly from it.
By stuffing the finale with CGI overload and the use of slow-mo, will infuriate many, who are sick of big blockbusters going down this route. In fact I say that the climax is similar to the recent awful Ghostbusters remake, but don’t worry Suicide Squad does not ever reach that level of awfulness.
Basically the first half is a build up of introductions before the second half just limps along with one set piece after another. The only time the film really stops and gives the squad and the viewer a chance to bond with these characters is when they stop for a drink. A delightful scene that suggests a bit of chemistry but its quickly forgotten when the next big spectacle arrives. There is no middle ground, no moments for us to invest in what we are seeing. Once more the film feels rushed and dare I say it, edited by those reshoots to try and appease both fans and critics.
But despite the negatives, I was never once bored while watching Suicide Squad. Its a pure comic book brought to real life form. Fans will lap this up much as the critics will hate it, but as DC and Warner are quite rightly making and aiming these films for all the fans out there, then perhaps this time they have delivered in what they have promised.
For me, I am just deeply frustrated because I can see a real good film underneath the editing mess. There are plot holes galore and no clear threat of danger for the squad who are also hampered by the PG13 rating, despite a 15 certificate over here in Britain. But this is so far removed from the world that Marvel have created that dare I say, it feels a tiny bit refreshing. Its far from perfect and a mess from start to finish, but for all those who are saying its one of the worst comic book films ever, really need to watch The Green Lantern again and see how horrid this genre can become.
I am not ashamed to say that being such a fan of the Dark Knight that Batman V Superman scarred me a little. Even re-watching the steel book edition just released, I found it even worse in the comfort of my own home. While Suicide Squad is not the redemption I was hoping for, its also not the final nail in the coffin that many are suggesting.
Its a deeply flawed and at times a brainless Superhero romp that will entertain just as much as infuriate. The younger generation will be more than transfixed by the ass of Robbie, while us older folk, we will be allowed to vex a little and hope that Wonder Woman can finally deliver the long awaited goods we richly deserve. As the saying goes, the third time something is attempted is more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts….
So third time lucky then?