Saturday, August 6, 2016

Film Review - Suicide Squad

The D.C. universe has taken a hard turn to port and into a dark and dreary corner. The shift stems  from this Spring's Batman vs. Superman featuring rain and darkness in just about every frame. Its as if Batman was given the rebranding job so he remade the D.C. Universe in his image. It's from this background that Suicide Squad emerges. A world where Superman has taken a pause leading the shady government types to crunch the numbers and analyze. Their stats tell them that the world was lucky that Superman was a friendly and not a hostile. If he were a hostile or a terrorist they would have no means to oppose. Therefore the next Meta-Human might fall on the other side.  To prepare for this government heavy Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a group of desperate skilled villains beholden to her answer the call should it arise.

The narrative shifts to its weakest section as the next half an hour is spent in exposition on too many of the group, true fans already know them while newbies could figure them out with a few hints as the action progressed. The three main baddies are Harley Quinn, Deadshot and the Joker. The are also the most fully fleshed out participants. Margot Robbie's Quinn former Arkham Asylum Psychiatrist turned Joker Gal pal after shock therapy and an acid bath has the most to do in the piece. Will Smith's want to be good dad wile working as a hired assassin Deadshot pairs well with Robbie on screen. Jerad Leto puts his own stamp on the Joker building on the rumors that he sent disgusting gifts to his castmates and never broke character while on set.

A crisis develops where the Squad's services are needed so they assemble to head into Midway City to battle a 4000-year-old supernatural brother and sister duo that are building a weapon to destroy the earth. Beside the three headliners the other supporting characters are only given a couple of distinguishing features if they're lucky. Jai Courtnery's Boomerang is obliged to enter every scene swigging a beer then making a wisecrack in is Aussie accident. Mexican gang-banger Diablo (Jay Hernandez) attempts to walk a path of non-violence owner of the only with is backstory that flows with the pacing of the film.

The other main irritant is the overuse of pop songs to introduce and underpin just about every scene. We get House of the Rising Sun alongside the opening credits and Eminem's superhero spoof Without Me as the team gears up to go out on their mission. The production feels the need to club you with top 40 instead of employing a score that could have resulted in more impact from a few selected songs.

Suicide Squad has several good elements that get bogged down with uneven writing and an overbearing soundtrack. The top of the credit cast members help to drive the action but the supporting members are left two dimensional at best. If the viewer considers this a test run a second outing void of the rambling exposition might focus on a couple of the below the fold characters in the rhythm of the story. If that's the case the sequel could easily be better that the original.

** 1/2 Out of 4.

Suicide Squad | David Ayers | U.S.A. | 2016 | 123 Minutes.

Tags: D.C. Comics, Prisoners, Enchantress, Shock Therapy, Maximum Security, Special Ops, Joint Chiefs, Father-Daughter, Brother-Sister.

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