Suicide Squad (2016)

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!

Starring
Will Smith as Deadshot
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Jared Leto as The Joker
Jay Hernandez as Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc
Cara Delevingne as June Moone / Enchantress
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Karen Fukuhara as Katana
Jai Courtney as Boomerang
and
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman

Written & Directed by
David Ayers

Length 123mins


 

Review and Summary

Well the tsunami of anti-hero movies has started. On the heels of Deadpool comes Suicide Squad, DC’s entry into the waves. Let me start off with defining anti-hero movies. If you Google it, they define it as “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.” That gives us a good basis to start from.

Anti-hero movies aren’t really new, but they have been given a whole new life with Marvel realizing what a goldmine Deadpool and an R rating can get you. While Suicide Squad didn’t go for the gold of an R rating, it does try to use some of the same patterns to get the low hanging fruits of its value. Violence, guns, and shock value can go a good bit, adding in some special effects and you get there. Suicide Squad blends it all together and comes out with a fairly well done mix.

Building on Batman vs Superman, the story is basically what would we do if another alien with super powers were to come to earth, but instead of having our beliefs in justice and all, they were here to kick ass, chew gum and rule or kill us? But they expand it to include the Meta-Humans as well. A great setup for the slew of oncoming DC movies. Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) is that person who is tough enough to take that question and put an answer to it.

One can draw a direct similarity of Waller to Marvels Nick Fury. Both take it personally to protect their country, and both have some pretty strong history in what they do and how they do it. However, that’s where the line ends. After watching what Waller does when rescued, I’m pretty sure Nick Fury would never have done it. And the long identified difference between Marvel and DC hero movies can again be seen. DC has always been the darker of the two, and with Suicide Squad it continues that movement.

The squad is made up of 5 notorious bad guys, the absolute most bad ass, top of the line, hands down killers and criminals in the DC Universe. Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, is the quiet leader of the group. His marksmen skills make him the end all be all assassin. Doctor Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn, is the femme fatale of the movie. Harley takes crazy to a whole new level. Once a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, she transformed into Harley Quin when she fell in love and was converted by the Joker.

Chanto Santana, El Diablo, is a meta-human with the gift of controlling fire. A gang member who quickly moved up through the ranks due to his fire power, he soon became a big man on the streets. Only to suffer a major fall when his anger took the lives of his wife and children. Waylon Jones, aka Killer Croc, another meta-human who’s genetic makeup develops him into a dangerous and animalistic criminal, oh and he can be cannibalistic at times as well. George “Digger” Harkness, aka Capt Boomerang, rounds out the squad. Boomerang has a great capacity of skill with using boomerangs, and his penchant for robbing banks finishes off his resume for addition to the team.

Leading the team from the good guy’s side is led by Navy Seal Rick Flag. Working for Waller, Flag has a skin in the game because he is in love with June Moone, aka Enchantress. Dr Moone, an archiologist, discovered a long hidden tomb which was home of the ancient meta-human Enchantress and her brother Incubus. Moone releases Enchantress from her totem prison and is soon possessed by the 7,000 year old spirit. Waller is able to make Enchantress one of the first members of the squad because she possesses the witches’ heart, which according to ancient text is the only way to control her. Tatsu Yamashio, aka Kitana, rounds out the good guy component to the team. A martial arts expert who wields a Kitana Blade that captures the souls of those it kills.

The first 45 minutes of the movie is spent introducing the members of the team (Deadshot, Harley, Diablo, Croc, and Enchantress). Giving a little of their backgrounds and then how they were captured, its pretty interesting overall. Deadshot, Harley, and Croc were captured by Batman, with a nice set of action scenes with Ben Affleck as Batman included. Two outstanding members of the team are introduced in a very slipshotty or non-caring manner, SlipKnot and Boomerang. Interesting enough Slipknot is used as the hostage that has to die to prove to the team they are under control by Waller. Meanwhile Boomerang was captured by The Flash and sent to the squad. A nice neat DC package that sets up a link between this movie, Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman, and Justice League. It’s all good, and in fact I do appreciate the level of continuity to the overall plan. What I didn’t care for was Slipknot, I mean really he was on screen about 10mins and then killed off to make this point, which everyone pretty much already accepted.

The rest of the movie is spent on what would seem to be a mission to save Midway City and stop some really lethal bad guys. However, what is really going on is that while Waller thinks Enchantress is under control, she isn’t (big surprise). Enchantress in short order is able to escape, release her brother Incubus, and then return. When Incubus starts to wreak havoc, Waller sends in Enchantress to stop him, not knowing that this is part of Enchantress’ plans, and it results in putting the end of the world in motion. The only solution, get the X Squad.

The Squad is assembled, and with micro explosives imbedded in their necks, off they go to recover what is called the HVT (Highly Valued Target). In short order the team starts to bond as they face several battles to get to the HVT. Only to find out the HVT is Waller, who was stuck in Midway City for the first action using Enchantress. Unfortunately it doesn’t end there as Waller is captured while escaping by Incubus and Enchantress.

The group continues the mission, after a short leave for sharing of stories and bonding. The final battle between the Squad, Incubus, and Enchantress is pretty well done. There are a few peeves to it, like the fact that a major explosive is able to defeat Incubus, when all other efforts failed. After sacrificing Diablo in taking out Incubus, the rest of the team survives and completes the mission, in the meantime also breaking Moone’s possession by Enchantress, releasing Enchantress to join her brother in the afterlife.

Now another thread going on throughout the movie is The Joker, played by Jared Leto. Building up to the release of the movie that is all that we heard about. “Leto is magnificent”, “Leto is this”, “Leto is that”. It was enough to really make me feel like it was going to be an empty build up. I am happy to say that Leto’s performance was really pretty good. Did he go out and make an effort to get himself an Oscar?? No not at all, but his version of the Joker really makes me want to see a stand-alone film with him, Harley and the Bat in the 3 way love triangle that they are. Basically the thread is that Batman captured and sent Harley to prison, so the Joker throughout the movie is trying to rescue the woman he loves. All done very tastefully and well planned out. I was actually rooting for him to succeed.

So what about the other performances??

Will Smith playing Deadshot was good. But it is the same Will Smith performance that was done for Handcock, as it was for Independence Day, as it is for all his other characters. This isn’t a terrible thing, but the role didn’t really give him anything new to take a hold of and transform into something remarkable.

Jay Hernandez’s Diablo has some meat to the role, and he does well overall, in fact I really did get to the point where I cared about the character. I was really disappointed that they killed him off in the final battle, meaning no sequels. Karen Fukuhara’s Kitana is another that could have done so much more.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje does what he can with Croc, and it wasn’t bad. Viola Davis’ Waller was fairly good, but somewhere along the way the performance lost luster and just ended up being blah. Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress started off with so much potential, and then quickly went down the drain, as did Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag. Jai Courtney (Boomerang) and Adam Beach (Slipknot) were just additional weight as far as I was concerned.

Margot Robbie is the real star in this whole thing. It’s the consummate conflagration of her beauty, craziness, insanity, wit, charm, and all around everything that make Harley so awesome. Adding to her performance is the insane chemistry between her and Jared Leto’s Joker.

The real fight here is it a super anti-hero movie or a psycho love story?? After watching it, Im going with the psycho love story. In all honesty David Ayer should have really thought this out and wrote it that way to begin with. All the action going on pales in comparison to the underlying insane romance that is Harley and Joker.

Lastly, Ben Affleck appearing as Batman/Bruce Wayne was fairly good, it sets up the upcoming Justice League overall, not sure it’s a major supporting effort to do so, but it was a good bit of continuity, something that Marvel has turned into gold over the years.

All and all, Suicide Squad is a good popcorn movie and an interesting piece of the pie that DC is building in its new efforts to gain ground on the super hero genre. Unfortunately it could have been so much more if there were a few tweaks here, there, and oh well, a lot of tweaks that is.


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