Suicide Squad (2016) Movie Review
What Suicide Squad will most be remembered for when all is said and done is that it’s possibly (?) better than last March’s underwhelming Batman V Superman, a movie I liked (more or less) when it came out but does not hold up upon a second viewing.
BVS’ “Martha” scene ranks as one of the worst scenes of the past 2016 years.
“Possibly” better than BVS isn’t really saying much.
Then again, Suicide Squad really isn’t much.
In the age of Deadpool, don’t have your movie filled with purported “villains” and then be rated PG-13. Or cast Will Smith as a bad guy. Few things can vanilla a project up like having Jaden’s dad try and play a badass. You saw my blinker, bitch.
Suicide opens sometime after the events of BVS. The world thinks Superman is dead. Batman still only works at night. White government officials are afraid that “metahumans” might not be as benign as Superman, and there’s nothing that could be done if a being as powerful as Supes wanted to cause us harm.
Government person Amanda Waller (Viola Davis- playing the Sam Jackson role, except that she‘s black, but with two working eyes) begs to differ, and thus begins one of the longest introduction montages in recent film history. She proposes to use bad guys to work for the good guys as some of them have metahuman (I’m guessing they legally can’t say “mutant”) powers. If they try to run, the govt. can…you’ve seen all this in the first trailer. Let’s introduce all of them in 1/5th of the time the movie does
- Deadshot (Will Smith)- He’s a hitman who can’t miss, man. In that way, he’s kind of like Hawkeye except he doesn’t use stupid bow-and-arrow and is not useless. He’s killed hundreds of people but he’s played by Will Smith, which dulls any edge the character might have had. And, Deadshot has a daughter that he really, really loves. Awwwwwwww. That makes it okay he’s a killer.
- Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)- She was the Joker’s psychiatrist. Now she’s the Joker’s girlfriend because she dumped herself in a vat of whitening fluid (or whatever it was).
- Diablo (Jay Hernandez)- He’s of Hispanic descent and is fiery. Just to highlight the Hispanic thing a character actually says, “Put down your burrito”. Spoiler- He doesn’t have a burrito.
- Boomerang (Jai Courtney)- He’s of Australian descent and is boomerangy. His character really isn’t that important or relevant to the plot.
- Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) Who cares? His character really isn’t that imp--- see above.
- Katana (Karen Fukuhara) See above.
- Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman)- He’s a one-dimensional military a-hole whose only relevance to the plot is that he leads the Suicide Squad and is in love with…
- June Moone/Enchantress (Cara Delevigne)- She’s a doctor who got taken over by a witch called Enchantress while on some kind of excavation. Enchantress is super old and super powerful.
Since the first act is pretty much introduction, the movie actually begins when Enchantress finds her long-lost brother, and they’re both upset that the world no longer worships them, no longer fears them.
They plan to remedy that, and in a sequence almost directly lifted from last month’s Ghostbusters reboot, they wreak special effects havoc with the New York City, um, Midland City subway system.
That’s just the beginning of their computer generated mayhem.
Thus Nick Fury/Waller gets a call to set loose the Aveng-icide Squad. Not just to fight the bad guy, but to get some of that Marvel money.
Oh yeah, and the Joker really wants to get back with his girlfriend.
What Works With Suicide Squad
- Jared Leto’s Joker is pretty much the only thing that gives Squad a pulse. After the credits roll, you realize plot-wise, the Joker wasn’t needed at all and that he’s barely given more than a cameo. But when he’s not onscreen, you realize how much of Suicide is just a generic milquetoast action movie. Leto is a mixture of Jack Nicholson’s hamminess and Heath Ledger’s barely hinged psychosis. He’s just not onscreen enough for you judge how his Joker ranks.
- The scenes between Joker and Harley Quinn are the best in the movie. In retrospect, you wish the entire movie was about them, rather than what you just watched. When you get home you and your lady/man/ladyman can put on your Joker/Harley Quinn Cosplay. Judging from Comic Con, you know you have them #originality.
- Viola Davis out Sam Jackson’s Sam Jackson. There were parts in this movie in which even I thought “That’s f*cked up” after her character did something ruthless. Not sure if it’s good that the movie’s best written character is more intimidating than the villains she‘s recruited.
What Doesn’t Work With Suicide Squad
- The other Suicide squad members not played by Will Smith or Margot Robbie- I know you’re going to give bigger weight to the characters played by bigger stars, but everybody not Smith/Robbie is pretty much a waste of screen time.
- The more I think about it, the more the Enchantress’ plan matches the one the weak villain in Ghostbusters had. That’s not a good thing because the villain in Ghostbusters was horrible. The Enchantress is pretty cool to look at, but you’d hope writer/director David Ayer (Fury) gave her something less basic to do.
- If you based strictly on Cara Delevigne’s “performance” you’d agree with the stereotype that models can’t act. Watching her onscreen is the most wince-worthy part of the movie. The air dancers she imitates would be more compelling villains. There’s a good Delevigne performance somewhere (Paper Towns for example), it’s just not in this movie.
Suicide Squad is a movie. That is a neutral thing to say about such mediocre mediocrity.