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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Sean Kelly

Review: Suicide Squad

The most dangerous villains around are brought together as part of a secret government strike force in Suicide Squad. With meta-humans becoming an increasing concern, government official Amanda Walker (Viola Davis) wants to put together a team of the worst of the worst, who will be tasked with performing seemingly impossible missions, under the supervision of field leader Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and his bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara).

Some of the villains recruited into the "Suicide Squad" include deadly hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), Australian bank robber Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), pyrotechnic gang member El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), reptilian brute Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who is the main squeeze for The Joker (Jared Leto). Another possible recruitment is the ancient sorceress Enchantress, who inhabits the body of archaeologist Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne). However, when it turns out that Enchantress has plans of her own, the Suicide Squad is dispatched to stop her.

The narrative going into Suicide Squad is that Warner Bros and DC Comics have been playing catch-up with Marvel in establishing their own cinematic universe. While Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set the framework for this universe, Suicide Squad is the first film to take place in this universe outside of the core characters, save for some brief cameos by Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Flash (Ezra Miller). While I do not think that Suicide Squad is a terrible movie, I do think that the film is a bit of a mess.

It is quite obvious that Suicide Squad is trying to be DC's answer to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Like the latter, there are are probably few non comic fans that have any idea what the Suicide Squad actually is, even though the team appeared in the comics as far back as 1959. However, chances are that people may recognize the likes of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Killer Croc for their typical roles as villains of Batman. On paper, the concept of an anti-hero team made up of super villains sounds like an interesting concept. However, it seems to be that they attempted to make a film about the Suicide Squad, without necessarily knowing how to do so.

At least the first half hour of this two hour movie is spent with Amanda Walker going through the dossiers of the various team members, which results in a highlight reel of each character's backstory. However, in the case of someone like Harley Quinn, a whole movie probably could have been made about her history as Arkham psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel, who ends up falling in love with The Joker. Speaking of which, even though Jared Leto is one of the top billed actors of the film, The Joker's presence in the film is little more than a side plot of him trying to help Harley Quinn escape. I'm going to stay relatively neutral on the way Jared Leto portrays The Joker, since the character ultimately has very little to do with the plot as a whole.

Suicide Squad is actually a very difficult film to judge, since there were things I liked about the film and other things that drove me insane. I will start off and say that I was relatively on-board with Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, with the actress obviously having a blast playing the character. I will also say that it is pretty difficult to dislike any character Will Smith plays, with him being pretty decent as defacto team leader Deadshot.

As for the elements of Suicide Squad that I didn't really like, I could probably spend ages nitpicking every little plot hole and the somewhat lackluster story. I will say that Enchantress is pretty laughable as a main antagonist, who pretty much comes off like a rip-off of Gozer from Ghostbusters. The film is also somewhat tonally inconsistent, with the film trying to be serious at one moment, before having jokes the next. In fact, with the exception of Deadshot and Harley Quinn, all the characters in Suicide Squad are pretty disposable. I'm not even going to get into the possibly racist treatment of El Diablo and Slipknot (Adam Beach).

While I will undoubtedly say that I was ultimately underwhelmed by Suicide Squad, I will not say that there were not elements of this mess of a film that I liked. In fact, I would be quite happy if Margot Robbie returned as Harley Quinn in a future Batman film.

6 / 10 stars
  WATCHABLE 

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).