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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Suicide Squad Review

Almost Squad Goals

"Suicide Squad" isn't the 26-percent on Rotten Tomatoes disaster that you have heard about but it can't help but feel that it's a bit of a letdown. Maybe it was all of the hype surrounding the film that it just couldn't meet. Perhaps, it was the hope that a group of misbegotten antiheros could save a dismal summer at the movies. Either way, greatness eludes "Suicide Squad." Sorry, puddin'.

Director David Ayer had the chance to take the worn superhero genre in a new direction and conceptually does so. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, always elevating and adding gravitas to every movie she's in) wants to temporarily release a group of imprisoned crazies to fight even crazier crazies. In exchange for a completed mission, they get time off of their sentences.

So, we meet the Squad. Deadshot (Will Smith) is a trained assassin, who never misses the target. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is a bat-wielding nutcase, who was once a psychiatrist but turned into a killer by The Joker (Jared Leto). Jay Hernandez's El Diablo can throw flames with the flick of his wrist but has grown regretful of past actions. Also in the mix are Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), whose jail cell is in the prison sewer.     

Expectedly, people are skeptical about Waller's plan to release such dangerous people and rightfully so. She assigns Rick Flah (Joel Kinnaman) to head the mission on the ground while she watches from her control center. The Squad must take down Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), who has inhabited the body of an archeologist.

Once we meet Enchantress, the film's problems become blatantly obvious. Enchantress can time travel and teleport but once the film focuses on her as the primary antagonist, she just stands in place flailing about like one of those blow-up air dancers outside of a car dealership.  The Enchantress isn't an interesting villain and that's a problem when trying to create tension in a movie.

While prowling the street with these characters, nothing really ever feels at stake and that's the major problem with the film. This movie rides on the lunacy of the characters, which is effective enough to make "Suicide Squad" fun in some large bursts. Smith has a chance to remind us why he was once a major star, even if it has faded over the past few years. He and Robbie - reteaming after "Focus" - continue to have nice chemistry and patter with each other.

Now, we pause to talk about The Joker. We heard so much build-up about Leto's method acting hijinks that his Joker would be an experience of its own. Leto certainly has fun with the role but his involvement can't help but to feel like an afterthought. His primary service to the film is to introduce Harley Quinn and then he fades to the background. I'm sure it's not the last we have seen of Leto in this world but it's only a bit of a tease.

By now, you might be mad at me for not singing this movie's praises. I'm disappointed I couldn't. I enjoyed a lot of about "Suicide Squad" but after reflection and before writing this review, I realized I liked the idea of the movie more than the movie itself.

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