So getting right into it. The movie has flow and direction without any consistency. The film picks up after the events of Batman vs Superman where the topic of Superman, now his death, is still a topic for controversy. Amanda Waller, everyone’s favorite HBIC, offers the US government the Task Force X initiative. Bring together a group of bad people and use them to do some good. Pretty cool idea right?
When we think Suicide Squad, we think Deadshot and Harley Quinn. The two characters among the most iconic and most frequently chosen members of the team. The team is further bolstered with the additions of Rick Flag, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Diablo, Killer Croc and The Enchantress.
Its obvious from the get go that the goal of the story is to have this bunch of murderous misfits come together, save the day and bond as a team. Mission accomplished. The movie also takes the time to take a glimpse into the relationship between Harley and The Joker as well as Deadshot’s relationship with his daughter. Both of which become powerful great tools in moving the story along, thus making up for the time taken to tell their stories. The movie flows well to its inevitable and quite predictable climax of the bad guys uniting to take down an even bigger badder guy. At no point do we have to question how we got to where we are as the scenes transition smoothly. Sounds great right? Yeah, the flow and story would have been a fantastic selling point IF there was a wow moment.
The end goal was predictable but how we got there was always up in the air. From Enchantress turning on A.R.G.U.S. to Joker’s failed rescue attempt, moments that should have been wow, jaw dropping or have viewers on the edge of their seat felt like just another thing that’s happening. Yeah you could still enjoy the moment but when its over you’re just left asking “was that it?”.
What made things worse with the story telling is, there are at least stories being told at the same time throughout the movie. While all the stories get told, they don’t all get told well. While the transition between the scenes and different stories were smooth enough that it all feels like one big tale being told, none of the stories get told to a point of satisfaction. So much is put into telling Joker and Harley’s reunion story but when they’re finally reunited is that it?
The thing that I loved about the movie is that all of the characters we so on target. From the stoic monstrosity that is Killer Croc to the exuberant, hyperactive and quirky Harley Quinn, these actors knew what they were doing. In particular, Jared Leto‘s Joker really impresses. He’s not the Joker we’re used to. He’s not in your face crazy or manically manacle but he is the Joker. Every incarnation of the Joker is different because he is such a complex character. Where as the all time stand out Heath Ledger perfectly embodied the Joker’s madness and the extremities. Leto played a less intense but equally mad Joker, demonstrating more of his mob boss persona and perfectly portraying the Joker’s obsession with Harley Quinn as something that is his and his alone
Great acting though there was, an actor can only do so much with a poor script. There were a lot of great one liners and moments which could have easily felt dull or unwanted and truthfully the blame cannot be placed on the actors, maybe not even the writers. The real problem here is that we don’t know these characters. This is their first time showing up in the DC Extended Universe but the movie treats it as if we’ve seen them dozens of times before.
Here’s the thing about the Suicide Squad, the members are all bad guys with conflicting, antagonistic personalities, each with their own goals due to their personal backgrounds. One of the most fun things about the squad assembling for the first time is the internal conflicts as, despite the bombs in their necks, everyone does what they want, however they want to accomplish the mission and fight over who’s way is better and who’s in charge. Where was that?
A virtual group of strangers gets thrown together and sent on a mission and somehow work together perfectly? The only conflict being Deadshot’s occasion challenges to Flag’s authority and even those aren’t powerful moments. The movie obviously assumes that everyone is intimately familiar with the DC Universe but that is miles from the truth. We don’t know these people and sadly the entire movie comes and goes without us getting to. A lot of time is spent building on the characters of Harley Quinn and Deadshot and damn do Margot Robbie and Will Smith own this show. We get a couple hints into who the other’s are, getting to know Diablo was a treat, but don’t what do we know about Croc? We find out a bit about Katana but her lack of presence for the duration of the movie makes it feel irrelevant. Lets not even pretend that we could genuinely feel for the relationship between Rick Flag and June Munroe aka Enchantress. Its not that its not all played beautifully, its more that we weren’t given enough to feel like the chemistry between the Squad members was real let alone feel like they were all bad guys with a human side. Harley and Deadshot aside.
If you want to see this movie go for it but consider having a couple drinks before hand or going with really good company. Something that will give you an edge to feel like the movie is worth it. Otherwise I would wait a while.
I really wish DC would learn from their mistakes and focus less on the competition on more on making the most of what they have. This movie would have been brilliant if some of it was told in a prequel movie (who among us would say no to a Joker and Harley Quinn movie?). The movie tries really hard to do a lot big things at the same time but comes up short on more than enough of them to crush the expectations of everyone who was actually excited to see it. The movie is enjoyable and you can have a good time but I honestly can’t say that its winning any awards or going down as anyone’s favorite. If you have 2 hours to kill in a couple months when the DVD is out you won’t regret it. Right now however it could go either way.
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