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Suicide Squad [Celluloid Hero]

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Suicide Squad  (2016)

Last week [Celluloid Hero] looked at Batman v Superman. Suicide Squad follows the events of Man of Steel and BvS, trying to show how the real world would react to an invincible alien claiming he’s here to help us. People are obviously worried that another super-powered being could come with malicious intent, so a shadowy government organization assembles a group of criminals that could take on such an enemy. A motley crew is assembled, friends become enemies, enemies become friends, a convoluted twist lands in the middle, and a big explosiony climax wraps things up.

Similar to BvS, I had low expectations going into this. I hate to just pile on, but nothing about this movie worked. Since this is an ensemble cast, I’ll take each part individually:

– Deadshot (Will Smith) – the de facto leader of the Suicide Squad. Ably acted by Smith, but the character was boring. He’s supposed to be an expert marksman, but outside of his character’s introductory scene, nothing he does shows evidence of that.

– Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) – I give credit to Robbie for trying, but this character comes off more annoying than quirky/psychotic. Her accent is also all over the place, never quite landing on the “Mistah Jay” tone she was aiming for.

– Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) – I get that not all the villains can be household names…but, who? This guy brought nothing to the movie, no real skills, and not much more than a couple of jokes that weren’t memorable.

– Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – A potentially badass villain, wasted. Over-modulated vocal effects made him hard to understand, and what you could understand felt caricature-ish at best, racist at worst.

– Diablo (Jay Hernandez) – Another one with strong potential, the bad guy who wants to stay in jail. He believes he needs to be punished, wants to give up the street life, but they keep pulling him back in. Could’ve carried more weight with a larger role, but he was relegated to the background until the last minute.

– Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) -***SPOILER ALERT sorta*** This is the villain that the villains need to beat. The Enchantress is an ancient goddess who inhabits the body of a modern woman, and begins to enslave the citizens of Midway City. Not the worst decision, except that they set up this all-powerful deity who basically stands still in one room the whole time.

– Katana (Karen Fukuhara) – Hey, a quasi-hero! Katana isn’t a member of the Squad, instead working with the government. Her backstory is introduced, her mystical powers referenced, then they pretty much forget about her until it’s sword-time. I really can’t figure out what purpose she has in this movie.

– The Joker (Jared Leto) – Oh boy. Here it is. I know that everyone hated this from the beginning, but I genuinely wanted to give him a chance. Everyone hated the casting of Heath Ledger and that turned out amazing, so I really hoped for something good. I thought the tattoos were lame but not something I couldn’t get past – what really ruined it was the grill. Not only did it simply look stupid, it also changed the shape of Leto’s mouth and affected his speech. I get that Ledger put on a crazy voice to be the Joker, Mark Hamill does the same for the animated version, so maybe Leto just wanted to stand out. Instead, that stupid grill and the stupid mouth and the stupid laugh just ruined it, even though the Joker had around 10 minutes of screen time.

I feel like DC was trying to ride the wave of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” success, syncing the trailer with a classic rock tune, assembling a cast of misfits in a colorful world, mixing humor and violence together. In the end, though, just about every aspect fell flat. I think the look of the characters worked, but outside of visuals, nothing about the storyline gripped me or made me look forward to the next movie in this universe.

 

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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Suicide Squad” gets a 4 out of 10.

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