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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Suicide Squad (2016)


Always be nice to those weird kids from high school. You never know how they’re going to turn out.

In the world in which even Superman himself can be considered a “terrorist”, it’s time for some action. That’s when intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated super-villains for a top-secret mission. While it’s risky as all hell to trust a bunch of evil, armed and dangerous villains to help save the world, the U.S. government still feels as if there’s nothing to lose if the plan goes South, so they decide to give it the green-light. Meaning that certain baddies like Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Slipknot (Adam Beach) are all given plenty guns and ammunition at their disposal. And together, along with Captain Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) watching their every move, they have to stop an evil and powerful witch named Enchantress (Cara Delevigne) to stop from destroying the world. Meanwhile, an underground and heinous criminal by the name of the Joker (Jared Leto) is trying to get back the love of his life, all while taking down every person who gets in his way.

She's too good for the Joker.

She’s too good for the Joker.

There’s commonly a negative connotation when a movie is called “a mess”. Some of the times, the movie’s can be “messes”, because there was no idea put-in to how it was going to work, so instead of actually thinking things out, the film maker just cobbles up whatever they can find, hoping for some sort of a cohesive product to come out of the madness. Unfortunately, these movies mostly end up just being dull and, often times, boring.

Then, there’s the “messes” that are so wild, so crazy, and so chaotically put-together, that you can tell someone tried really, really hard to make it all work, however, knew that whatever they had left, they had to work with. Do that make the movie’s “good”? Not really. But does it make them, at the very least, “interesting”? Yes.

And honestly, that’s what Suicide Squad is: An interesting mess, that also happens to be pretty fun.

Sure, you have to get past all of the snap and chopping of the plot, the numerous characters, subplots, special-effects, musical-numbers, twists, turns, plug-ins, product placement, and god knows what else I left out, but honestly, Suicide Squad isn’t all that bad of a flick. It’s got plenty of issues, for sure, but it’s also the kind of movie that writer/director David Ayer had very near and dear to his heart, gave it all he had, and came up a little short. But he doesn’t focus on any of the character’s screwed-up, sad childhoods like Dawn of Justice did; he doesn’t muddle himself in all of the misery of these character’s lives, like Dawn of Justice did; he doesn’t forget that he’s got a solid cast to work with, like Dawn of Justice did; and yeah, he doesn’t forget that the most compelling characters to watch, no matter how thinly-written they may be, are sometimes the ones who morals are in grey areas, like Dawn of Justice did.

Now, this isn’t me saying that Dawn of Justice was some awful and terrible wreck of a flick, like so many others have stated; it’s a movie that tries to be more than your normal superhero flick and yes, is a little gloomy, but still delivers some good moments. That said, the movie forgot that watching a superhero movie, in which, people who are essentially cartoon characters, fly around and kick each other’s asses, which is something that Suicide Squad doesn’t forget. Ayer himself knows that some of the most fun had in comic-book flicks is the action itself, where over-the-top characters engage in some of the bloodiest and most violent of brawls, without caring about who’s feelings are being hurt in the process.

Of course, Suicide Squad has to worry about a PG-13 rating, but it still gets by on that.

Where Ayer really loses points with Suicide Squad is that his plot doesn’t always work. In fact, I’d wager that there hardly is one in the first place; it isn’t until after the first hour, in which we’re introduced to every character in loud rock-montages, where we get an inkling of a plot. Apparently, the Squad has to go in and stop an evil force from taking over the world. Why is it happening? Better yet, why should any of them care? Ayer never really asks these questions, nor does he ever seem to make sense of what drives the plot to begin with – he’s sort of just relying on these characters and these actors to save the day.

Yeah. I miss Heath.

Yeah. I miss Heath.

And yes, that sort of happens, but it sort of doesn’t. Ayer is usually very good at giving these kinds of rough, tough and ragged characters some semblance of humanity and personality that makes them compelling to watch. Here, Ayer has so many characters to work with, that he gives a lot of attention to one or two characters, while totally forgetting about others. Adam Beach’s Slipknot is in and out of the plot so quick, that it’s almost a wonder why he was in the movie in the first place; Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang really has nothing to him, except that he likes to steal money, or something; Cara Delevigne’s character pulls double duty as both a super evil witch and a super scientist, none of which are well-written; and Karen Fukuhara’s Katana wields a cool, deadly sword and that’s about it.

Everyone else, like Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Jared Leto’s Joker, Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo, and yes, even Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc, all get attention, courtesy of Ayer’s screenplay and direction. Ayer has so many to work with and he’s only able to really define a few, so that when the final-act of the movie comes around and we’re supposed to “buy” them as a group that can connect and care for another, it doesn’t quite connect. A few of the characters we like and can believe in, but others?

Yeah, not so much.

Which isn’t to say that the cast is bad – in fact, everyone’s quite good. They all know what sort of material they’re rolling with and because of that, seem to be having a ball. Smith, Robbie, Hernandez and Viola Davis have perhaps the best roles, whereas Jared Leto’s the Joker is, well, a disappointment. He’s so crazy and insane, that it almost becomes like a parody of sorts. Sure, Leto was a smart choice for an actor to take over the role that Heath Ledger seemed to ruin for every other actor in the world, but his material is so wacky and unnecessary, that he takes away from the rest of the movie and makes me wish that DC would just hold off on him for a short while, and give him his own time to shine with Batman.

And yes, we will get more DC movies. I have no problem with this, however, it seems as if they have to get their act together. Marvel will continue to be trouble for them, but only time will tell if they can take them down, or just raise the white flag and give up, once and for all.

It probably won’t happen, but hey, we’ll see what happens next.

Consensus: Messy, disjointed, and sometimes, incoherent, Suicide Squad is a wild ride, for better or worse, depending on who you are, but it’s action and cast is fun enough that makes it something to possibly enjoy.

7 / 10

Yeah, I'm, uh, turning down the other side of the street.

Yeah, I’m, uh, turning down the other side of the street.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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7 responses to “Suicide Squad (2016)

  1. ghostof82 August 5, 2016 at 5:44 am

    I’ve said it on my blog a few times- the problem with all these films is that the geeks have litetally inherited the Earth. The studios are trying so hard to please the geeks/score hype at Comicon, they are making ‘cool’ flicks for geeks but not making decent films (as opposed to ‘moving comics’). These films would pass for decent comics but films? Not really.

  2. darrencray August 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I just finished my review of Suicide Squad, and looking at yours, I can definitely see some of the main reasons for all the negative ratings. Don’t get me wrong, these are all plausible, good reasons to critique about. I also partially agree with you on Leto as Joker. It definitely fells a bit over the top at times, and I have to admit, I felt uncomfortable watching him. It wasn’t the feeling of fear and an intense interest I had while I was watching Ledger, but I also think it’s important not to compare the two together so much, because they’re two different interpretations. Sadly, as I’ve also stated in my review, Leto’s Joker isn’t fully developed enough so that we get a grasp on what kind of Joker he’s going for. Your consensus on it being a ‘wild ride’ is very accurate to what I felt during when I watched it.

  3. Courtney Young August 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    “An interesting mess, that also happens to be pretty fun.” Absolutely agree. I think your review is very fair and accurate, like mine. Some critics are just being harsh to be harsh, dissecting it too deeply. The hype and expectations both killed this one too. If anything, it’s a fun ride, and sometimes that alone can be okay!

  4. JustMeMike August 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Sounds like the classic WWII actioner The Dirty Dozen dipped into the comic book cauldron and updated for the Comic-Con crowd. Dirty Dozen had Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Ernest Borgnine, James Brown, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland to name a few of the stars.

    Their mission was to take out a castle containing nearly all of the Nazis top ranked military with a group of convicts. If they performed the mission and lived, their sentences would be considered served. But they got killed – so what, they’re just some prisoners doing life.

    I know that 1967 was two generations ago – so I no worries about a remake, one would think. But rather than do a remake, the makers of Suicide Squad took the basic story and saddled it up for what passes as interesting for these times.

    Not even your 7 out of 10 will induce me to see this one. Good review Dan.

  5. The Daytime Renegade August 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I’m with you Dan: The characters are what saves this film. And an enjoyable mess is better than a boring mess, after all.

    I wonder if there’s a better cut some exec quashed that might resolve some of the pacing issues the first half faced. It seems there WAS backstory filmed that we just didn’t get to see.

    Great review! 7/10 is eminently fair.

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  7. Pingback: Movie Review – Suicide Squad (Extended Edition)

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