Suicide Squad

Suicide-Squad-Poster-June-2016I’m a pretty big fan of superhero movies. I even liked Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. So I went into Suicide Squad with an open mind, despite the fact that I wasn’t familiar with the ‘Squad’ until the pop culture explosion of the past few months, and I’d never read the DC Comics that introduced this bizarre group of anti-heroes to the world. Unfortunately, an open mind wasn’t enough. I didn’t hate the movie. But I also didn’t like it. I was surprisingly bored and more than a tad confused about the motivations of the characters, and the plot. On top of that, I just don’t see the purpose of diluting an already over-saturated market of superhero movies with a flick that features characters that you’re sort of supposed to root for, even though they’ve done some really bad things, because they go into battle against people (or creatures) who’ve done much worse things. It’s like the “Axis of Evil” being called upon to fight ISIL. When you’ve got Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, or even Deadpool, why in the world would you put the fate of the world in the hands of a bunch of killers who’ve been offered clemency in exchange for their “cooperation” in covert government ops?

I could run down the whole cast of characters, but that would take… oh, about 40 minutes. That’s how long it took the movie to set up the characters and get to the plot, such as it was. It took even longer to get to the point: the missions that these dysfunctional bad guys (and gals) are roped into don’t have a particularly high likelihood of success. Basically, they are being sent on a suicide mission by a bully of a government intelligence agent (Viola Davis). Thus the name, Suicide Squad. They are like the Avengers or the Justice League – on their worst days.

The only real breakout character is Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie (The Legend of Tarzan, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; The Big Short). She is superbly kray-kray as the twisted, bat-wielding paramour of the villainest of villains, The Joker (Jared Leto). She’s a lot of fun to watch, delivering some of the best lines of the movie. Despite her all-consuming, misguided allegiance to the Joker, Harley shares some interesting on-screen chemistry with the squad’s sharpshooter, Deadshot (Will Smith), an expert sniper who will kill anyone if the price is right but has a soft spot where family is concerned. Could a killer love triangle be in the offing? That could be fun.

Anyway, the ensemble also includes a big leathery creature dude, a guy who sets thing on fire with a wave of his hands, a guy named Boomerang whose contribution I failed to grasp, and a bunch of other supporting characters who only served to muddy the waters of a really weak story. Sorry, fandom friends. It’s really not my intention to throw a (total) wet blanket on the potential experience of anyone who’s read the DC Comics and wants to see how all the ‘Squad’ villains and super-villains interact on the big screen. They (alone) should see this movie and decide for themselves if the cinema world really wants or needs another superhero/villain comic-inspired franchise. As someone who didn’t have a clue about this rag-tag band of bad asses, the answer would be ‘no’. They should stay where they belong – as worthy opponents of the real superheroes, like the Caped Crusader of Gotham, who (spoiler alert?) appears in a brief teaser scene near the end of the closing credits.

Worth noting: I liked the soundtrack.

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