Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies: Suicide Squad (2016)

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The length of time it’s taken me to catch this one at the cinema belies my lukewarm interest in the material: I’m not a ‘fan boy’ for either Marvel or DC properties. As it turns out, writer/director David “Fury” Ayer’s Suicide Squad is just plain frustrating in cinematic terms.

The story concerns the efforts of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to assemble – for reasons that make almost zero sense! – the ‘worse of the worst’ out of US prisons to form a fighting force to combat the perceived threat of an “anti-Superman” villain that *might* appear in the future.

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Viola Davis wondering Why? Just Why?

Among these super-villains are Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Harley is the girlfriend of The Joker (Jared Leto) and they would be a great match on Match.com since both are several sandwiches short of a picnic.

Waller assembles her motley crew. Unfortunately, another of the super-villains is June Moon aka “The Enchantress” (Cara Delevingne, her of the scary eyebrows) – an ancient God-like being that has possessed June and who has her/its own agenda that threatens the whole world.

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A model of pure evil. The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) cashing in on the low price of crude. (It’s good for the skin I’m sure).

So why is this movie so frustrating?  Because for all its inane silliness the film does have its fair share of scenes that stick in the mind. I’ve seen comment that Jared Leto’s much-vaunted Joker is peripheral: a cameo only on screen for a few minutes. But I didn’t find that… or at least his scenes were sufficiently memorable to seem much more substantial. The madness portrayed here is truly quite disturbing and threatening.  Many of Leto’s scenes – such as the one with The Joker lying on the floor surrounded by weapons – are artfully done.

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A memorable pull back – Jared Leto’s Joker, laying the table for dinner.

Margot Robbie’s Quinn although extremely sexualized – which will not be to the liking of some, but appeal to many male viewers – adds enormous charisma to her role. Will Smith also does his best with the material he has to inject some emotional heft into the father/daughter sub-plot.

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Will Smith and Margot Robbie. “What’s a nice girl like you…”

Unfortunately this is all done against a fractured and frankly nonsensical story with inconsistencies and loose ends too numerous to list.  (Oh, OK, I’ll do a few):

  • A super-being dispatches armies and nukes from hundred of miles away, yet can’t swat a couple of inconvenient humans at 10 paces?
  • A large early part of the film is filled with backstories (which I don’t necessarily object to for context) but here they are done in an extremely patchy manner:  a number of the characters are sketched out so lightly that they might as well be wearing the red Star Trek shirts!
  • Waller’s motivations (and certainly her sociopathic actions at some points in the plot) are nebulous and don’t bear scrutiny. Why exactly does she thing a ‘bloke who can shoot well’ can do diddly-squat against a super-being spewing gravity defying electrical displays on the other side of the city? 
  • Is this really a ‘Dirty Dozen’? Many of the super-villains seem to be not so bad after all… you know… with consciences and everything…. (I’m sure you could find ten times worse down behind Southampton docks on a Friday night).
  • And while some of the cinematography (Roman Vasyanov, “Fury”) and lighting is memorable, there are some cinema basics (like dark subtitles on a dark background) that seem just plain careless.
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Let’s play “spot the spare parts”. More of the Suicide Squad team primed for action.

With a huge BvS quotient of 0.7 this should really have been much better. To put it another way, you could have made ten of last week’s 4-Fad film “The Shallows” for the cost of this (and stuck a better ending on it with the change).

Memorable visuals, but not a memorable film.

Fad Rating:  FFf.

Do you agree?  Please comment below and share your thoughts!

 

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