Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Suicide Squad

Will Smith is Deadshot and Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn in SUICIDE
By George M. Thomas

SUICIDE SQUAD can claim one virtue.  It’s not the FANTASTIC FOUR.  The latter may still hold the title of worst comic book adaptation made in the last five years.

That, however, proves to be the equivalent of being damned by faint praise.  Actually there’s very little praise to go around in this introduction to a group of anti-heroes that inhabit the DC Comics universe.  SUICIDE SQUAD is about as fun as a visit to a proctologist.

Written and directed by David Ayer (Fury), it’s a hot mess of comic book movie clichés, a meandering plot and talented actors wasted in the process.  The latter observation is the most devastating as Will Smith – portraying Deadshot – and Margo Robbie bringing unbridled joy to her turn as Harley Quinn, The Joker’s main lady could have made this film significantly better with stronger material.

And that’s the tragedy, because in the cinematic world of goody-goody superheroes, there’s more than a bit of room for an ambiguous lot such as those that comprise the Suicide Squad. Why that moniker?  Led by a legit soldier, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Deadshot, Harley, Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Boomerang (Jai Courtney) are called on by the U.S. government for their help.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the head of a secret government agency (naturally) wants to assemble the team to basically do her bidding and in preparation for any type of conflict dealing with beings with super powers.

She has one of her own in the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), an ancient witch she keeps under her power.  Of course, in such situations control over another being is temporary.  Enchantress, with the aid of her long-bottled-up bro’, gets her freedom and decides to wreak hell on Earth.

Waller isn’t calling upon Ghostbusters for this one. She sends her team in to shut down the mayhem.  In the meantime, the audience is treated to The Joker (Jared Leto) and his insane attempts to rescue the love of his life.

Somewhere in that mess is a film, possibly a good one.   As presented, however, Suicide Squad is a wasted opportunity.  That sounds like a familiar refrain with DC Comics movies. Ayer, much like Zack Snyder in BATMAN V. SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE, doesn’t quite have a grasp on the direction he wants to take the film.  He attempts to infuse it with a balance of humor and action, only succeeding on a minimal level with respect to humor.

When that happens, Smith and Robbie get the laughs.  The other success:  he chose the perfect actress for Waller, a character who’s appeared across DC media.  She’s steely, intelligent possessing a bit of menace. 

Were anyone to look for anything to admire beyond that, disappointment would doom them.  Rumors of trouble plagued the film when the studio announced reshoots.  It would seem that were well founded.  DC continues to fall behind its rival, Marvel Comics with respect to cinematic adaptations.  Given their track record this year alone, there’s little reason to believe that will change.

Director:  David Ayer
Cast:  Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joe Kinnaman, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jai Courtney
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Rated:  PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.
Running time:  123 minutes
George’s rating: 1.5-of-4 stars

Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, ClevelandCinemas, and

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