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Dan's Review: "Suicide Squad" not much fun

Aug 04, 2016 01:16PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Margot Robbie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Joel Kinnaman, Will Smith and Jai Courtney in Suicide Squad - © 2016 Warner Bros.

Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG - 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.

Starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Jim Parrack, Common, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon.

Written and directed by David Ayer.

GRADE: C

REVIEW:

The folks over at DC are having quite a year. On the one hand, they’ve taken over the superhero film world by storm, creating blockbuster films and successful TV (or Netflix) series. Their characters are brought up in nerdist discussions everywhere, from comic conventions to the Internet to the office water cooler.  On the other hand, DC brass are not getting the kind of press they’d like, especially with the disappointing reviews for Batman vs. Superman released earlier this year. DC is relevant, but often annoying, like that really successful cousin who shows up at the family reunion, prattling on about all the cool stuff he does. You wish he would shut up, but you’re glad he’s there – otherwise, the reunion would be boring. The DC train wreck of 2016 might have been avoided (or halted) with the help of Suicide Squad, a movie that’s supposed to revel in the badness of some salty villainous characters, but the situation looks like “more of the same.”

The basic premise of Suicide Squad begins where BvS left off, as the world (spoiler alert!) deals with the (apparent?) death of Superman. A ruthless government security official named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) convinces the nations’ leaders that the big battle between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (the finale of BvS) was a harbinger of things to come, and that they need a back up plan in case another nasty alien decides to make Earth its plaything. Waller assembles a team of rogues already in prison, mostly put there by Batman himself (Ben Affleck makes a few cameos in the film). Her intent is to use their powers (or nasty dispositions) as expendable weapons against powers too big for conventional warfare. They are Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton (Will Smith), a talented assassin-for-hire with a soft spot for his daughter Zoe (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon), Harley “Harley Quinn” Quinzel (Margot Robbie), a former psychologist and current girlfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto), Digger “Captain Boomerang” Harkness (Jai Courtney), another killer who uses (you guessed it) boomerangs as his weapon of choice, Chato “El Diablo” Santana (Jay Hernandez), a former gang member with the power to shoot fire from his hands, especially when he’s angry and Waylon “Killer Croc” Jones (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) a human with a skin condition that turned him into a reptilian killer. The final member of the expendable crew is June “Enchantress” Moone (Cara Delevingne), a former archeologist who’s been possessed by an evil South American goddess. Moone’s boyfriend is Col. Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), a special forces commander who is assigned to lead the squad. He’s joined by Tatsu “Katana” Yamashiro (Karen Fukuhara), a government-friendly assassin who volunteers for service (she has revenge on her mind when it comes to villains).

When the Enchantress inside Moone briefly escapes her host body, she summons her brother (another evil south American god), who takes over “Midland City” and begins to absorb its buildings and residents to create a powerful doomsday army  and device. Waller sends the “Suicide Squad” into battle, where they must learn to work together to save themselves, the ones they love (even if the ones they love are equally bad) and the entire world from utter destruction.

Suicide Squad has a few things going for it, mostly with respect to the cast and their spot-on characterizations of the DC rogues. It should be noted that while Suicide Squad has all the markings of an ensemble piece, it’s truly a Will Smith movie, as he dominates most of the story and moral dilemma. Margot Robbie’s interpretation of the insane and lovelorn Harley Quinn is also notable, but she’s more like Smith’s sidekick that the Joker’s main lady. Jai Courtney and the other squad members are less impressive in their contributions, but not annoying, either.

The problem with Suicide Squad is that it’s supposed be a movie about a group of villains who are given the chance to get out of jail and have a little fun, but it’s really not that much fun. It’s more like a not-so-super-friends weekend excursion that ends back in jail (for most of them), and no real redemption. Sure, there are interesting characters and a few good performances, but the story is conspicuously weak with a contrived, insignificant, villainous plot. Suicide Squad also comes across as an irrelevant placeholder for the next DC ensemble Justice League movie, arriving in theaters next summer.

I wish the DC folks would worry more about great story telling than expanding their weak universe. That’s where the Marvel folks started, and they could take a few cues from Kevin Feige & Co. Suicide Squad will go down as yet another miss in DC’s attempt at superhero dominance.

 

Suicide Squad Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Comic Books Superheroes
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