Amid a thunderstorm of bad reviews, alas, here it is. The latest installment of the Dc Films franchise opened in theatres on Friday and just as before, critics have not been kind. The truth is, fellow reader, fellow fanboy and fangirl...Is NOT that bad.
The movie while retaining darkness in the right places is a departure from the grim and tormented tone from Batman V Superman where heroes are hating their lives. By contrast the anti-heroes in Suicide Squad do enjoy who they are and it takes the likes of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to realize that, and assemble a team called “Task Force X” to deal with potential threats like meta humans and hypothesised “Superman-like-threats” Thought to be honest, they would be sorely outmatched on that one.
The movie as a whole is fun, is dark and takes risks (some pay off, some not so much)
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is just as fun loving, psycho and animated as her character’s origin. Her portrayal is not as dumbed down as the trailers might make you believe, (something that scared me) but is actually a very well rounded persona within the parameters of the Dc Universe, whose choice for being the “Queen of Gotham” was never stolen from her (Again, the trailers might make you think otherwise) there is even a bar scene where she let’s us know that within, she is a much, much deep and clever character than her choice of clothing. And yes, there is a nod for us animated and Alex Ross fans.
Deadshot (Will Smith) does not steal all the screen time as most of us feared, but gives an otherwise unknown villain a life of it’s own with an actual past, and a motive for his mercenary antics, and well yes, a heart only Will Smith can show, while El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) gets the credit for being the unexpected villain on fire (no pun intended...oh well maybe a little) while also being the Latino in the mix.
Suicide Squad’s forte lies also in an overly diverse cast including Karen Fukuhara (Katana) -I loved this gal!- Jai Courtney (Boomerang) Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc) Cara Delevingne (Enchantress...that beautiful, beautiful and eerily sexy witch) and more that give the movie a je ne sais quoi quality that only adds to the fun and makes me wonder what is next for these anti-heroes.
That being said Suicide Squad has low points and that -unfortunately- lies on the Joker (Jared Leto) his portrayal of the clown Prince of Crime, falls short. Is a combination of Romero with hints of Nicholson and spots of Ledger mixed with bath salts, acid and tats. He fails to convey any sort of screen dominance or presence much like Ledger or Nicholson did on their first minutes as the Joker.
There is also a complete character fault in the fact that in the comics, Joker never cared for Harley at all. Not-one-bit. Never enough to even mount a rescue or sacrifice anything for her. His mental state also does not allow him to care for anyone at all except for himself and his maniacal plans. In the comics/animated series Harley was just a tool, and if any rescue happened it was a mere coincidence. This Joker even owned a strip club and drives sports cars. Let me tell you, having been friends of a strip club owner, it takes A TON of sanity to run such joint. This joker will not get Oscar nominations nor YouTube impersonators. It will be the things we will want to forget about Suicide Squad. Fortunately Warner is testing grounds and the fan outcry will probably make them write a more fleshed out Joker and make a better use of Jared Leto’s abilities.
The other low point might be the weird choice of villains here, which are confusing and have no real compelling argument to mess with the world other than we are a bunch of tech loving Pokémon players who stopped worshipping them. The only reason you want them to fail is the connection to one of the main characters, which thank god, they make you care on the beginning of the first act.
Also, one or two times Harley stepped out of line, that surely would have gotten her head blown off in the comic. Said scenes were there merely to give Harley some screen time and do not contribute to the plot at all. But hey...they are total eye candy!
The soundtrack is a joyous mismatch of tunes from all eras, a formula copied from Guardians of the Galaxy (even one song from the Guardians soundtrack is there!) while the score composed by Steven Price is not too ambitious but clearly sets a tone for the movie from the very beginning of the credits to the last.
In the end, Suicide Squad has enough swagger to be a hit. Formal critics will despise it cause of the all over the place mix of disparaged characters, (maybe they were expecting something ala “Dirty Dozen”?) weird narrative or even plot, but that is what a Suicide Squad comic book is in the first place. Just sit and read one before writing your reviews folks. I surely recommend it.
Batman V Superman had the burden to establish a franchise in 3 hours, they had to be the “sacrificial lamb” in the church of Dc Films, and while some might agree or not about the quality of the movie, their sacrifice is done. Thanks to that, we can now start to watch the Dc movies we all wanted to see and enjoy (WONDER WOMANNN!!!) Sure, they are not perfect, but we have to remember that this is a learning curve, one that Warner with their third movie is carefully steering through to find it’s footing and identity, much like a freshman football player in a room full of jocks...It has the potential...just give it time.
And there is where I can see the advantage of DC. They are not bound by the strict “wholesome family fun” that Disney is tied to. They are taking risks. An example of this is the underwater scene where there is a controversial piece of action perpetrated by the cape crusader. You can even see blood and the strength of the action is full of impact both in image and sound. I don’t recall a scene that has impacted me like that in any superhero movie (yet) and that takes balls to pull off. Whether it pays off or not, that is a CLEAR departure between other superhero movies.
Suicide Squad is fun, is a wild romp, is dark in the right places, is no Dark Knight Rises but is surely a great movie to watch if you are a comic book fan and want to enjoy and contribute to the birth of a franchise.
In the end, forget what I have said, forget what you have read, go and see it with an open mind.
Suicide Squad opened in theatres in August 5th and is rated PG-13
-Chris “Hunter” D.-
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