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Cinematic Releases: Suicide Squad (2016) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1194 days ago on Movies - Suicide Squad is finally in theaters. Read our review, ya joker. As the summer movie season comes to close, the last major summer blockbuster, the highly anticipated Suicide Squad, is finally upon us. Suicide Squad is not only meant as a capper to the summer movie season. It is also expected to continue the DC Extended Universe after the critical and audience polarizing film Batman V Superman.  It seems like it is being positioned to win back those viewers and fans that were alienated by the dark and grim tone of the last installments of this hopeful cinematic universe.  Suicide Squad is being offered as the fun, offbeat course correction from the dour and gritty super heroics of its predecessors. I'm pretending to eat a banana right now. In spite of this, Suicide Squad seems to be almost as polarizing as Batman V Superman. Is it as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes score says it is or its bad reviews an indicator that the film is a victim of the brewing backlash toward superhero films? The answer to all of these questions is no.  In all honesty, this is yet another fun yet flawed superhero movie that could have been so much more.  As not a major fan of the DCEU, I felt like this movie was a step in the right direction and nowhere near as bad as folks say it is. As a movie, there is a lot to like about Suicide Squad. The idea of a team of crazy ultraviolent super criminals working together sounds like a fun new take on the superhero movie that we haven’t really seen during the superhero craze that has dominated the summer movie business.  After years of watching the heroes get their time in the sun, it’s nice for the villains to get their chance.  The script offers some fun scenes for the squad and we get a great sense of who they are as characters. I really liked the background and character beats in this film.  It’s nice to know who these people are and why they are the way they are. The titular Suicide Squad themselves are both interesting and fun to watch as characters. I wish the movie around them were as good as their performances. The actors in the squad really do shine in this movie and make up for some of the weaknesses and issues I had with the movie itself. Will Smith as Deadshot reminded me of why audience members like myself initially liked Will Smith in the first place. This isn’t that dull and dreary I just took ten Ambien’s before shooting this scene Will Smith that audiences have had to sit through in films like After Earth or Concussion. This is the fun and charismatic Will Smith who is finally back doing what he does best. He has some emotional beats regarding the character’s daughter but for the most part the film allows him to be a character and also be the Will Smith we know and love.Okay. Who wants to lick my bat?Margot Robbie is also a lot of fun as the Joker’s love interest Harley Quinn. She does a great job of capturing the fun and sexiness of the character. There is a fine line with Harley’s character when it comes to portraying her and Margot Robbie does a good job of not making the character the Token Sex Object who only exists for the horny members of the audience. Harley Quinn is in charge of herself and she knows it. Robbie steals scenes as the wisecracking psychopath who is in love with the Clown Prince of Crime.  There are some moments where she tries a little too much and does come off as a little cringe worthy and a little hokey but then again I think that sums up Harley as a character.The rest of the Suicide Squad themselves are fun too. Jai Courtney is better than he has been in most movies I've seen him (this sounds like faint praise) as the delightfully crazy Aussie criminal known as Captain Boomerang.  I was impressed by how much I ended up liking his character.  He was a lot of fun to watch and his introduction in the film might just be my favorite scene in the whole film.  I also liked the characters of Katana and El Diablo.  Katana was a cool character that I really wanted to know more about. She was interesting to me as someone who looks characters with awesome samurai swords. But out of all the characters, I was surprised by how much I liked El Diablo. Jay Hernandez brought a real humanity to the El Diablo character. He wasn’t just badass fire dude. He has a character arc that I really enjoyed and felt added a lot more to the proceedings. Had he not been there, I don’t think I would have nearly enjoyed the movie as much as I did.  And finally, Viola Davis does a damn fine job as Amanda Waller. She plays it with the badass nature that we as an audience have come to expect from her. I’d say more but at this point we should all know how wonderful an actress Viola is. To say more would just be pointless pontificating about a brilliant actress. What isn’t pointless is talking about what weighed the movie down and there is a lot of stuff that did bring this movie down.  The supporting cast outside of Viola Davis is nowhere near as good as the core squad themselves.  Maybe, it’s the lack of strong material for these characters or the various scenes that were cut out of the film but there is a serious discrepancy between the two groups. Cara Delevigne plays the dual roles of the Enchantress and June Moore and I never really got a sense of who they were as a character for either of them. Outside of the surface level basic character background and role in driving the story forward, I didn’t get their motivation. What toll would it have on a person sharing a body with a crazy 6000-year-old witch? Why does the Enchantress want to rule the world besides the need for the story to progress? We never get a clear sense of either characters and this is a bad thing considering how crucial these two are to the story. Also adding some major disappointment to the film is Jared Leto as the Joker. Given my like for Jared as an actor and the hype around his “shocking” and “game changing” performance as the Joker, I was extremely disappointed.  I don’t know if we can chock it up to poor directing, bad dialogue, or what, but his Joker is absolutely cringe worthy. It is even unintentionally hilarious at points.  Jared Leto is no Heath Ledger or Mark Hamill. Shit, he isn’t even a Cesar Romero. Every time he came on, I was hoping that the film would cut away from him. He sucks the soul out of every scene he's in.  His portrayal of the Joker is like something out of a bad fan film.  Seriously, it was that bad. The Joker contributes so little to the plot of this movie that the character is essentially a glorified cameo.  You could cut him out of the movie and the movie would probably work a lot better as a whole. But of all the actors in this film, the worst is Joel Kinnaman in what is arguably the worst performance I have seen in a major blockbuster in a long time as Rick Flagg. His line delivery is atrocious and he seems to be changing his gruff accent every other scene. There’s a scene in this movie where Kinnamen introduces the Katana character. This scene is bad, I laughed out loud in the theater. It’s the worst line delivery I have heard in some time.  His character has a relationship with a character that is the dullest and cliché romance I have seen in a while. I didn’t believe for one second that this character could have fallen in love with this other character. Every minute of it was just dull and dry and sucked the life right out of the movie. His performance is so bland and forgettable that you just want him to leave the screen so that you can get back to the cool fun characters that you actually give a shit about. Unfortunately for us, he is a major part of this movie and brings it down several notches. What hurt Suicide Squad the most are the script and the creative choices surrounding it. A lot of the scenes in this film feel like window dressing or artificial flavoring meant to add to the movie. Why is this song there? Because it’s awesome, that’s why! Why do we need to have this shot be in slow motion? Because it’s awesome!   Why is Joker here? Our market research indicated that people really like the Joker and would like to have him around more. Does it add to the movie? Eh, but it adds to our pocketbook so let’s throw it in there.  Don’t ask questions; look at Margot Robbie’s ass!!!Everything feels deliberately and cynically chosen to be the cool choice. None of these choices impact the story, they are just there so we can have cool shots for the trailer and get butts in seats.  Why have a story when the premise alone sells people on what we are doing? It’s a shame because what works about Suicide Squad are the premise and the actors. I really wanted to love this movie. I love the works of David Ayer and I think the cast is awesome. I even liked the story but I am willing to admit that it is not the original and bold film that I think audiences wanted to see and that David Ayer was capable.  I have heard that this was not originally the film David Ayer intended it to be and I think that shows in some of the roughness around the edges in relation to the editing and obvious reshoots that appear throughout the film.That being said, I didn’t hate it. In a summer of dull and dreary blockbusters, I think it's not the worst of them. I definitely rate it above X-Men Apocalypse. I was mostly entertained by it. It might even be my favorite of the DCEU so far. Which way to the orgy?You can really tell that DC and Warner Brothers want to do something different but just doesn’t seem to know how to do it in a way that positively works for fans, critics, and regular audience members. The problem is that their own ambition for their cinematic universe gets in the way of making great movies. There is so much that could have gone better that it can’t help but feel like a disappointment. I want to live in a world where my two favorite comic universes can co-exist and have awesome comic book movies.  I don’t want to see DC be considered the lesser company because the truth is there are some DC comics that are a million times better than the stories Marvel is currently making. The problem is that DC seems to not be able or willing to try and tell these stories without alienating people. As for Suicide Squad, I think they're getting closer to making a film that really works. I enjoyed the world of Suicide Squad. I would love to see these characters again except for The Joker and Rick Flagg again. Who knows, maybe with a more developed script I can grow to even like those characters? I hope that the DC Extended Universe gets out of its growing pains and manages to right the course because I think there is a potential for a great alternative to what Marvel offers and there’s nothing wrong with having two great cinematic universes going at the same time. Score-Liam S. O'Connor

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