“Suicide Squad” Review

*Talking to myself before going to the theatre*  Alright, so we have gotten a faithful R rated superhero movie [Deadpool], a complete misfire [Batman v Superman], a more-than-worthy successor to The Avengers [Captain America: Civil War], and a fun but flawed X-Men flick [X-Men: Apocalypse] all before summer is over!  Let’s see if Suicide Squad can’t spice this year up a bit more.  *Talking to myself after leaving the theatre*  Dam*it!

Suicide Squad is written and directed by David Ayer.  Stars-Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, and Jai Courtney.  Premise- A government agent creates a team of deadly supervillains for the use of unofficial black ops missions.

It is not going to be easy to approach this one.  Suicide Squad is one of the most positively anticipated comic book movies ever made.  Not to mention that the Rotten Tomatoes rating is only one percent higher than Fifty Shades of Grey.  Hey, at this point in 2016, I’m not surprised at the ludicrous ratings anymore.  Needlesss to say, I’m worried.  Enough stalling, let’s get down to business!

Obviously, the first thing anyone is going to talk about is the ensemble cast.   Since I don’t care about offending people with my opinion, let us go over them in detail.  Will Smith is the best actor in the movie because of his amazing switches between dramatic, intense, cynical, and emotional.  He plays Deadshot, who I’m sure many will call a rip-off of Deadpool, but in his defense, Smith has more acting skills than Ryan Reynolds ever will.  Margot Robbie is near-perfect as Harley Quinn.  Some of her jokes are forced, but she pulls it off.  Viola Davis is intense as Amanda Walker, mostly because she never shows signs of fear or backing down.  As for Jared Leto, let me put it this way, this is the kind of Joker performance that I’d expect Jim Carrey to do.  I am fully aware that we are never ever going to get another Heath Ledger Joker, but I was not expecting Leto to be so over-the-top; he even sounds like Jim Carrey!  It’s not entirely his fault, his design is ridiculous and his dialogue is simple.  He looks and acts like a pimped-out gang boss rather than the freaking Joker!  What’s worse is that his entire role in this movie is completely pointless, which I can barely accept.

David Ayer is a pretty good director in my opinion.  Every one of his movies is heavily special forces-focused, and his directing style is brutal and relentless.  He directed Harsh Times, Street Kings, End of Watch, Sabotage, and FuryEnd of Watch is my favorite cop movie (and one of the best of its genre) because it has likeable leads and a completely realistic setting.   Due to his background (which involves living in LA as a youth and serving in the U.S. Navy), his films have a gritty tone to them which is hard to find in other modern films.  You can imagine my shock when I found out that Suicide Squad is PG-13.  Apparently this was Ayer’s decision, but if you ask me, the film could do with a few more risks being taken.  This movie isn’t nearly as violent as it should be, nor is it gripping.

The technical aspects of this movie are pretty top notch, the soundtrack is a great mix of Steven Price’s score and existing songs, the editing (literally) ads a bit of color and energy to the film, the sets and (most) of the costumes look cool, and the battle scenes are fun and entertaining.  The best thing about this movie is the comedic tone.  There are more jokes than necessary, but when one hits its mark, you’ll be uncontrollably laughing.  Smith’s character alone could carry this movie.

The absolute worst thing about this movie is the fast-paced, underdeveloped, incomplete, bloated script.  Remember how Captain America: Civil War had a nearly 3 hour run time and over 10 main characters?  That movie balanced out its incredible cast and complicated story extremely well, Suicide Squad does the exact opposite.  The whole movie feels rushed, none of the characters get enough time to shine (or be fully developed) and because of that, you can’t get emotionally connected to them, especially the ones that you obviously know are going to die.  Oh yeah, this movie tries really hard to do drama, but it just comes off as forced or clichéd.  What really irks me is that both the Joker and Harley Quinn are completely useless in this movie (thank you Colin Covert for pointing this out).  Yep, the most advertised aspects of the trailers (which don’t tell you what the movie is really about) don’t even need to be in the movie.  I can’t go into too much detail, for the fear of spoiling anything, but just know that the Joker’s role is completely tied to Harley Quinn, and her role is miniscule.  Yes, she looks great in the outfit, but “eye-candy” is not equal to “useful character.”

The villain is pathetic.  Underdeveloped and very unintimidating.  I barely remember their plan in the first place.  Don’t even get me started on the ending of the final battle, which I can only describe as cheap.  You know what else is cheap?  Fake-out deaths, incredibly obvious, incredibly annoying, incredibly stupid fake-out-deaths, of which this movie has at least 2.

David Ayer has said multiple times that this movie is for the fans, not the critics.  You will either see that as sincere, or as a lazy excuse for making a subpar superhero movie.  I see it as both.  He loves his fans, but his movies don’t typically please critics.  All I ask for is a movie that can please both audiences through clever fan service and smart writing.  We sadly didn’t get that.  I’m left baffled that there are now two 2016 superhero movies whose straight-to-video animated counterparts are better written than the big budget live-action versions (Batman v Superman/Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 and Suicide Squad/Batman: Assault on Arkham).  Should you see it?  Yes, but not in the theatre.  There is little “theatre value” to this movie, and you’d probably have more fun watching it with you friends on a comfy couch.  Suicide Squad gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B-.

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