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Suicide Squad

Coming Soon

The time has finally come to see exactly how Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment handled their journey down the comic book road less traveled. In 2014 Marvel took a chance by exploring a sector of its lore that was mostly an unknown to casual fans. That gamble paid huge dividends as Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge box office success. 20th Century Fox’s decision to get in on this “secondary character” action by giving Deadpool a standalone movie proved to be a genius idea (although it was Ryan Reynolds who was the one that ultimately did all of the convincing). The X-Men spin-off obliterated the box office competition on its way to become the highest grossing rated-R movie of all time hauling in almost three quarters of a BILLION dollars. As DC looks to expand its universe with Suicide Squad, all eyes will be watching and everyone will have their opinions.

Extreme threats call for extreme measures. Ever since the emergence of metahumans on Earth, there has been an increased effort to find ways to control and contain such individuals. Since the events that have taken place in the world surrounding the likes of Superman and others, the human race has become increasingly paranoid with what MIGHT happen if the wrong metahuman were to emerge. Enter Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, (ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder). Waller is a high ranking government official seeking effect ways to neutralize the newly mounting menaces. She proposes taking the worst of the worst and using them for good. The best part is that, in her eyes, it’s a win-win scenario since neither side is one she cares for.

In order to best maintain control over this group of misguided mercenaries she will implant into them a device that can be triggered the moment that any of these people get out of hand or attempt to escape. As you might expect, this method faces scrutiny and ridicule from those above Waller but it doesn’t deter her from eventually getting her way. The unlucky group of participants are known as the Suicide Squad. In this wacky scenario, it’s the incarcerated that are key to freeing the city of a new deadly threat.

One thing that Suicide Squad isn’t short on is star power. The characters names may not instantly roll off of your tongue but the actors portraying them are very familiar. Will Smith (Concussion (2015)) is the sharp shooting assassin known as Deadshot. Margot Robbie (The Legend of Tarzan (2016)) is Harley Quinn, a hot mess with a whole lotta crazy behind it. Some of the other members of this group are Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys (2015)) as Boomerang, Jay Hernandez (Hostel (2005)) as Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (ABC’s Lost) as Killer Croc and Adam Beach (em>Cowboys & Aliens (2011)) as Slipknot. In additional to those names, a few more to throw out are Joel Kinnaman (Run All Night (2015)) as Rick Flagg, Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns (2015)) as June Moone and Karen Fukuhara (her acting debut) as Katana. I feel like I’m missing someone. Oh yeah, one of Batman’s most dangerous archenemies that is never short on laughter provides some extra mayhem. The Joker played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club (2013) is ready to step in and fill some pretty big shoes.

As you’ve just read, the acting talent in Suicide Squad is quite stout. That being said, only a select few really stand out. Will Smith and Margot Robbie, both of which recently shared the screen together in 2015’s Focus, turn in great performances by capturing the complete essence of their characters; charm, wit, humor and complete badassness when necessary. Viola Davis seems to really bring out her best when she takes on a character that is loathed, and to that extent, she deserves mentioning. The rest of group are average at best. This even goes for Jared Leto which is a letdown since I had such high hopes for him. It’s not that people turned in poor performances, it’s more that their strengths weren’t utilized as effectively as they could have been.

That brings me to the writing and direction portion of Suicide Squad. It is a very uneven feel. Some parts are spectacular while others are just extremely flat. I hate to say this but it would appear that some of what negatively affected Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the theatrical cut, which was later (mostly) rectified with the EXTENDED R-rated Ultimate Edition, has reared its ugly head again. My advice to anyone making a movie of this magnitude would be to get on the same page from day one. That means the studio, producers, writers and director. Have a game plan and don’t stray from it. If you know you need to come in at about 130 minutes don’t write something that takes 150 minutes to explain properly. The same goes for the rating system. Excessive editing can be a ratings killer.

The soundtrack is top notch. Without the musical accompaniment, Suicide Squad would have fallen flat. It was the music that set the tone throughout. It is nice to see DC loosen up just a bit and display a little more of a comedic side. I could care less if it’s “the other guy’s” shtick. The public likes it so why not cater to what fans want versus adhering to dated ideals? So, is this movie worth seeing? I give it an unequivocal yes answer. Despite some obvious shortcomings it still has a lot going in its favor.

This will definitely be one of those highly debated movies for quite some as to the quality of it goes. But it’s a Warner Bros. DC Comics movie so why would you expect anything else. It happened with Man of Steel (2013). It happened with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It will happen again. Such is life. If nothing else, you’ll get some great music ideas that you may have forgotten about. So tap your feet to the beat and root for the bad guys. Sympathy for the Devil may be a hit song by The Rolling Stones but it also has the underlying message that everything isn’t as cut and dry or as black or white as you might want it to be. The same goes for my mixed feelings about Suicide Squad. And by the way, in a very unexpected fashion, a DC Entertainment movie actually has a mid-credits scene. I guess they are open to changing with the times. First some comedy and now this. Wow.

Suicide Squad is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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