Sunday, August 07, 2016

Suicide Squad

Year: 2016
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara

Plot: Shady government officer Amanda Waller assembles a team of supervillains and persuades them to work together to protect the public from superhuman threats.

Review: With the mixed reactions to Batman vs Superman earlier this year, which was slightly repaired by the release of the ultimate edition of the film, DC studios needed a win with Suicide Squad in order to keep up with rivals Marvel. Sadly, the much needed win will have to wait.

One wonders if DC had a knee-jerk reaction to BVS' bad fan response and started editing this film to what they think audiences want to see, or the film itself was doomed from the beginning. But judging from rumours and some confirmed reports (one from Jared Leto himself), it is quite clear it is the former. Leto had claimed many of his scenes had been cut out, and it is true considering how brief his appearance is here. But more on that later.

Suicide Squad is basically like the Dirty Dozen, where we take a bunch of convicts, all hardened prisoners and bad hats, and force them to do some good. Under the command of Colonel Rick Flag, the squad is made up of sharpshooter Deadshot, the Joker's crazy girlfriend Harley Quinn, bank robber Boomerang, pyrokinetic El Diablo, hideous cannibal Killer Croc and Japanese swordswoman Katana. Their first mission involves stopping Enchantress aka June Moone, Flag's girlfriend, who suffers from a Jekyll and Hyde affliction due to being possessed by an ancient spirit. Enchantress was under Amanda Waller's control, but she escapes and wreaks havoc on the city.

The film works very well for the first third, then spirals out of control in the middle before nearly redeeming itself at the end. The key word here is 'nearly' because the overall result is barely decent. Assembling the team was the best part as the cast is clearly having fun getting to know each other, but when their first mission starts, it just sinks. The plot starts to make little sense as the team go about trying to stop Enchantress and her minions from destroying the city, and the poorly lit and poorly choreographed fight scenes don't help either. The subplot involving Joker trying to rescue Harley from the team is also senseless and unnecessary, and if you think about it, leaving this part out would make little to no difference to the overall story.

Will Smith and Margot Robbie made the most impact here, especially Smith, who shines as Deadshot, the assassin who just wants to see his daughter again. Robbie is quite good as Harley, but isn't as endearing as she should be, flip flopping between being crazy and caring about the team like a normal person. Jai Courtney effectively brings the laughs as Boomerang while Jay Hernandez gets the audience's sympathy as Diablo, who refuses to use his powers thanks to a past tragedy. Joel Kinnaman isn't too convincing as Flag though. Cara Delevingne fares better as Enchantress, though her scenes in the film's climax are way too similar to The Last Witch Hunter. Viola Davis is probably the best supporting cast member here, giving Amanda Waller the right amount of ballsyness to stand up to the squad.

And then there's Jared Leto's Joker, that has been hyped from the beginning. Is he good? Yes, certainly. But it's a real shame that most of his scenes were left on the editing room floor. I wonder if they added it back in, would we get a Joker that is motivated by something else other than Harley Quinn? Because that motivation makes him the weakest of all the Jokers that have come before him.

In the end, Suicide Squad somewhat fails to redeem DC after the lukewarm BVS. The film definitely has potential, but like BVS, it was wasted thanks to studio interference. Still, it's not bad enough to be unwatchable, but not good enough to be memorable. (6/10) 

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