In (Somewhat of A) Defense of Suicide Squad

  • Written and Directed by David Ayer
  • August 1, 2016 (Beacon Theatre) / August 5, 2016 (United States)

Superman is dead and a defense against superpowered threats is needed. Now the newly formed Task Force X must stop a supernatural threat in Midway City before it destroys the world.

Suicide Squad gets in my opinion an excessive amount of hate. People treat it as if it is the worst film ever and I am just not sure why. There are far worse movies out there and far worse treatments of properties available. It is not perfect, but it is enjoyable.

I only have two serious gripes when it comes to this movie. The first is the casting of Cara Delevingne as Dr. June Moone/Enchantress. Her acting is not that good. At least here anyway. The level of effort she put in as Moone appeared to be minimal. She came off as an unskilled actress as Moone. However when she was Enchantress she improved. Not by leaps and bounds. She seemed to be enjoying herself. It reminded me of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Not a groundbreaking performance in either case but both looked like they were all in on the part.

The second was the character of Slipknot (Adam Beach). It was clear the character was up on the chopping block first to show how dangerous being in Task Force X was. If you notice Slipknot does not get his own introduction featurette like all the other characters do. When I realized that it took me out of the story because I was slapped in the face with his fate. And it is unfortunate because Adam Beach is a good actor. He was given a generic costume and an unexplained character just to do an obligatory kill.

Task Force X (Suicide Squad) is a group of super criminals forced to worked together by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) as part of a plan to defend against emerging super threats. She manipulates her team in one way or another and ensures the obedience of the baddies with a small explosive implanted in their head. Davis is perfectly cold as the character. The movie sets her up and she delivers. Waller is tough and devoid of a conscience. Waller is a cockroach and Davis makes her an entertaining cockroach.

Joel Kinnaman is Col. Rick Flag who heads the team. He does not necessarily agree with her but follows because he is in love with Moone and Waller controls the heart that keeps Moone’s Enchantress aspect in check. Waller set the relationship up and he knows it but is willing to sell his soul to be with his love.

Karen Fukuhara is Katana who is essentially Flag’s backup should the team turn. After her husband was killed by the yakuza, she began to hunt those involved and kill them with a magical sword that trapped their souls. Yikes! She is not a criminal and is the only powered individual on the team without a bomb in their neck.

Will Smith plays Floyd Lawton/Deadshot who is the world’s greatest marksman. There is no shot he cannot make. He is an assassin with a daughter. There is a conflict with him being the father his daughter deserves and doing what he does.

Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang was my biggest concern in the casting. In my opinion Courtney is the film equivalent of Ted McGinley. He tends to kill things but surprisingly Courtney was not a lethal bullet for this film. He was entertainingly crazy as the character and one of the highlights of the film. He needs to find whatever he drew on here more often. He brought the goods.

Jay Hernandez plays former gang member Chato Santana/El Diablo. He is able to summon fire and the total extent of his abilities are unknown. He wishes to avoid conflict or death having accidentally killed his family in a moment of rage. Hernandez did a great job in what he had but unfortunately his character did not get nearly enough screen time.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Killer Croc who is probably the coolest looking of the characters. He suffers from regressive atavism which makes him look reptilian and gives him superstrength and allows him to function underwater. A former foe of Batman, he escaped Gotham and was eventually captured by the government. For a guy that looks like a monster and eats raw meat, he is very complicated and far from simplistic.

Margot Robbie was a good choice for Harley Quinn. I had my doubts about her casting but was pleasantly surprised. She goes too hard sometimes on the accent but otherwise does justice to the fan favorite. Harley Quinn was once known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist at the infamous Arkham Asylum. After falling for the Joker (Jared Leto) when she should have been treating him, she became his girlfriend and partner in crime. It is a toxic and addictive relationship between the two.

I have heard a lot of bitching about Jared Leto as the Joker. Who hasn’t? He is not my favorite Joker, but he is a much more interesting Joker than Heath Ledger was. There! I said it. I am not calling Ledger a bad Joker, but Leto’s performance was much more interesting and I had high hopes for what he might do in a solo Affleck Batman movie. Leto’s Joker was a very creepy gangster here. He was an underworld figure rather than just a psychotic killer. A different take on the character to be sure.

For my minor gripe on Suicide Squad, I need to discuss the plot. I think they should have avoided a story that became about saving the world. Not every superhero movie plot needs to involve that. DC animation has done two Suicide Squad-centric films (though one features Batman in the title) and neither one had a world threatening villain. The mission was dangerous for the characters and the stakes were high for them, but they were not high for the world. You can do a story that puts all the characters in danger without doing the same to the planet.

I also think the characters should have been more opportunistic. These are after all hardened super criminals that have their own body count and have committed a wide range of crimes, but they seemed willing to go along with the mission and work together. They had the team spirit a little too easily in the film.

Despite any flaws I still enjoy this movie. The characters were entertaining and the subplot of the Joker trying to rescue Harley Quinn was good. And despite being unnecessarily about saving the world it was still a good story. We got a good look at the characters and their motivations along with plenty of action.

The visuals are good. Enchantress and her brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine)-cannot recall him being addressed by name-are creating a world devastating magical machine. Its purpose is to wipe out humanity but how is fuzzy. It looks cool and they turn people into weird looking creatures to act as foot soldiers and protect the device until she can get her heart back.

The music choices fit. They click with the scenes they are used in. Captain Marvel, which comes from the more successful Marvel brand, used as much music as Suicide Squad did but was not nearly as effective as they were here. The songs in this film highlighted the scene or worked in an ironic way and were not just random choices.

Suicide Squad is an enjoyable film. It is an entertaining story with good characters and great superhero action. It is not perfect, but it is still worth a watch.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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