Review: Suicide Squad

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it on this blog, but I can’t help myself. I have to say it again: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was a nightmare. So much so, I had to temper my expectations for future films, including the next installment of the DC Entertainment Universe.

Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer, features an all-star ensemble cast including Will Smith, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Scott Eastwood, Adam Beach and a surprise cameo or two from the cast of the upcoming Justice League.

In Suicide Squad, Viola Davis is Amanda Waller, an operative of A.R.G.U.S. who receives permission to assemble a task force of criminals and supervillains to carry out operations for the national security of the United States and she keeps this cadre of bad guys under thumb by the certainty of death at the push of a button and in line under the command of the loyal Rick Flag.

suicide-squad-2016

Image by Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment

The specialized task force consists of expert assassin Deadshot, the sewer-dwelling Killer Croc, pyrokinetic gang-banger El Diablo, the kookly kleptomaniac from down under Captain Boomerang, Flagg’s #2 and master swordsman Katana, Slipknot, who only gets < 10 minutes of total screentime, and last but not least Harley Quinn, the significant other to Gotham’s resident Clown Prince of Crime who is just as crazy as she is. Their mission in this picture involves a woman named June Moon, who unknowingly awakens an ancient evil who plots to enforce her new world order by utilizing mystic forces beyond anyone’s understanding.

I’ve heard the whispers going into Suicide Squad and the controversies surrounding it; heck I’ve been following this movie for years. I’ve heard the stories about what was going on on set while the film was in production, I’ve heard about the reshoots, which coincidentally were announced shortly after Batman v. Superman arrived and crashed in theaters and I’ve heard about the film’s reception from critics. So after seeing the film for myself, and making up my own mind about it, here is where I stand on Suicide Squad: it is not as bad as critics make it out to be, but there is a lot of bad that comes with this film.

Fury movie premiere at the Newseum in Washington D.C.

Image By DoD News Features (141015-D-FW736-080), via Wikimedia Commons

If you don’t understand what I’m saying, I’ll do my utmost to simplify: I want to say that David Ayer laid out a good framework for what he wanted this movie to be. I could tell that he wrote this movie with the intent to introduce the audience to these characters, and entertain them with their interactions and truly give them a place in this DC Universe that is struggling to get off the ground. In fact, I will say that the plot for Suicide Squad was easier to digest than the plot for Batman v. Superman and in that, the film is successful.

There are flaws. A lot of flaws and a lot of those flaws stem from the technical aspects of the film starting with the camerawork and cinematography courtesy of Roman Vasyanov. Maybe it was the seat I picked to watch the movie but the camerawork and camera motions used felt so uncomfortable to watch. For instance, the final battle sequence used too many close-ups, it felt as though it took away from the action and most certainly, the editing surely didn’t help.

John Gilroy’s post-production was fine when he kept it simple, but again, I go to the final battle sequence where everything just felt completely discombobulated. The slow-motion used in the film just felt cheesy and my interest just slipped, but it was not lost. Speaking of production, I felt as though this theatrical cut felt way too tame; I felt as though this movie held out on audiences and there was said to be many deleted scenes, I for one would like to see what this movie truly intended to be rather than what audiences were given because it felt like it was something of a cheat.

Another flaw: the soundtrack. There was too much syndicated music throughout this movie. It made the film feel heavy and exhausting. I’m not sure who was responsible for that, perhaps it was Steven Price, but it was a little overkill. Look at when Waller and Flag are recruiting the squad and bringing them together, just one song after another; it’s excessive and unnecessary!

This was a great cast but I had the impression that certain actors were favored over others. Aside from Slipknot, who everyone must have known what was going to happen to him, I thought characters like Katana, Killer Croc, Boomerang and El Diablo weren’t given as much a chance to shine like Deadshot, Harley, Waller, Joker Flag and Enchantress were. Maybe it had something to do with billing but I just felt disappointed that audiences didn’t get to see more of what they could do and contribute to this movie.

Also, Suicide Squad is a classic example that the Motion Picture Association of America needs a serious overhaul. This movie could have been rated R for using language and content not conducive to younger audiences but instead it was PG-13. So if any readers are considering taking their children to see Suicide Squad, be advised that you may get more than what you bargained for.

What more is there to say? I liked the costumes by Kate Hawley, the production design by Oliver Scholl was striking, the art direction and set direction was solid, the make-up and the visual effects were worthwhile. I just felt that there was more working against Suicide Squad more than what was working for it.

I want this made clear: I did not hate this movie! If Ayer had handled some aspects of the film more effectively, if it was more refined than crude, than maybe it would have been received better but I cannot deny that Suicide Squad was messy. It’s better than Batman v. Superman (that’s not really saying much), it has appealing characteristics for a comic book movie-in fact it is a little familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy with a touch of Deadpool thrown in-but it sabotages itself with rough technical ability and the fact that what audiences saw was not entirely what Ayer wanted to showcase.

Suicide Squad is not the total disaster critics make it out to be. It’s just shoddy and messy to look at.

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