Thursday, May 4, 2017

Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad (2016) written and directed by David Ayer

In response to the ever increasing threat of meta-humans like Superman, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wants to put together a team of super-villains as a potential response to take down those over-powered beings. She gets the government to sign on and develops the Suicide Squad, a group of B-list villains who are incarcerated in Bell Reve, Louisiana. How much of a villain are you if you are involuntarily in jail for one or more life sentences? The Squad has a job to do almost right away because an ancient and powerful bad guy has shown up in Midway City. After injecting their necks with explosive devices (a way to guarantee they'll behave), the Squad is sent in with a bunch of soldiers to get a key asset out of the city. Things don't go as planned, naturally.

The star characters of the film are Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Deadshot never misses with whatever gun he's using and he's spent his life killing for money. He has a kid who he doesn't see anymore because he was caught by Batman. Deadshot hopes to get stuff for his daughter (the best education possible, etc.) in return for being part of the Squad. Will Smith underplays the character, showing a surprising lack of charisma. His heart doesn't seem to be in it. Margot Robbie is more fun and more sympathetic as the deranged manic pixie dream girl Harley Quinn, a.k.a. the Joker's girlfriend. She gets the best lines and has more style than everyone else. She's not as over-the-top enough as her comic book version but perhaps they decided to dial her down for a live-action portrayal. Her backstory is a little inconsistent and incoherent which drags her down a bit too.

The other characters are fairly bland, and that weirdly includes Jared Leto's Joker. This Joker seems more like a mid-level crime boss with occasional flairs of derangement and an obsession with Harley. He isn't funny or scary or threatening, just infatuated with Harley. He lacks the panache found in any other depiction of the Joker.* Other characters have hints of depth but not enough to engage the audience beyond the level of a summer popcorn blockbuster.

And that's basically what this movie is--a throw-away summer action blockbuster. Plenty of actions scenes are thrown in but at least half of them don't make much sense. Twists and surprises are predictable and unexciting. The jokes aren't particularly funny though they'd probably work better in a crowded theater than by yourself at home. The production design is detailed and well-crafted but not original or distinctive.

I can't recommend this movie.

*For those keeping score, this makes a third wasted super-villain for 2016 (the others being BVS:DOJ's Lex Luthor and X-Men's Apocalypse). I guess Captain America: Civil War saved itself by not having a super-villain!

No comments:

Post a Comment