Review - 'Suicide Squad'
This is the biggest, most beautiful mess of a film I've seen this year. There is so much right and also so much wrong with 'Suicide Squad' that I don't even know where to start. That being said, it is undeniably fun from start-to-finish. Right from the get-go I knew I had a predicament on my hands. Do I decide to be a stick in the mud and start deducting points for its numerous flaws? Or do I give into the madness of this film and accept it as the zany, colorful carnival ride that it is?
'Suicide Squad' has the most clumsily cobbled together plot that could have been so simple. The story follows a bunch of incarcerated "bad guys" who are assembled into a task force and are sent on a mission to, well, I don't know, but hey look! Action, jokes and explosions! Also, those that thought the joker was going to be the villain here, well, you were wrong. I won't give anything away, but I found the villain(s) to be visually stunning but not particularly compelling. Much better than doomsday though, I'll give 'em that.
We're introduced to all of the main characters through a bunch of scenes that are great by themselves but are spliced together in weird ways. For example; we get two intros for both Deadshot and Harley Quinn. The movie basically pressed the reset button after five minutes and started over a little differently. Unfortunately these questionable scene arrangements seem to be a trend for these DC flicks, but I'll get into the editing later.
The characters each have distinctive looks and personalities. Some get a lot more screen time than others, but I'm okay with that seeing as how it would have taken way too much time to fully establish every single one of them equally. Will Smith's Deadshot and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn get the meatiest roles here and they're both pretty fantastic. Will Smith is in top-form and has some perfectly-timed comedic moments. Margot Robbie is also spot-on as Harley Quinn despite her questionable outfit.
Other characters that get some solid moments are Rick Flagg played convincingly by Joel Kinnaman, and El Diablo played by newcomer Jay Hernandez. Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc also have a few moments, but are mostly sidelined throughout the film. I was pleasantly surprised that every character had their own unique motivations that set them apart from the others. Amanda Waller played by Viola Davis gets some of the cheesiest lines but boy does she sell them well. You're probably wondering why I didn't mention Jared Leto's Joker. Let's just say, well, the jury is still out on him. He has some cool moments to be sure but I need to see more.
The biggest and most obvious flaw with this film was the editing. It's seriously bad. There are so many scenes that just happen without natural transitions or cuts. All of these scenes that pop up in random areas break up the pace, even if they are still good scenes that deserve to be seen. In addition to that, there is so much licensed music in this film. It got kind of ridiculous because there were moments where it was just dialogue and you could hear the music start to creep in where it obviously didn't belong. It felt so out of place and it took away from a number of the scenes. Don't get me wrong, there are moments where they play great songs at the right times, but they really should have eased up a bit in these other areas where all I wanted to do was hear what the characters were saying.
Despite everything wrong with this film it's still a delight to watch. The characters are colorful and bounce off of each other perfectly. The tone is actually pretty consistent throughout even though there's some forced drama at the end that's a bit cringe-worthy. The film also looks great, everything is grimy yet candy-coated in different shades of neon. It's a very unique and appealing look.
I enjoyed the action sequences where the squad gets to show off all of their various lethal circus acts. They're not the best superhero action sequences this year, but they certainly hold their own. The Batman cameo that was teased in the trailer also made me really happy. That whole sequence where he's chasing down the joker in the batmobile, though short, was a joy to take in and didn't feel shoe-horned into the plot like all of the cameos in 'Batman V. Superman' did. I even liked the final action set-piece at the end, despite how many relentlessly stupid decisions are made.
I also appreciated that the humor in this was edgier and a little more darkly comic. There were some really funny moments that had me giggling in my seat that I was surprised they got away with. Yeah, it's still PG-13, but it's not Disney's version of PG-13 if you know what I mean. This isn't a family film. Another thing that I liked was that they embraced these characters as the bad people they were or used to be. They definitely didn't seem like heroes yet, but I still felt sympathetic towards some of them. That takes a certain kind of skill to accomplish.
I could go on about the many pros and cons of this movie, but I won't. I feel like the opinions on this film are going to be all over the place. There's really a ton of things wrong with this film, even to the point where someone might think it's one of the worst films ever. I honestly wouldn't fight them on that, either. 'Suicide Squad' will NOT be everyone's cup of tea. What I got out of it though was a sugary-sweet mess that's probably bad for me, but hey! That's the kind of tea I like.
Written by Rhys Paine on 8/5/2016