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Suicide Squad does more right than wrong...
A lot was seemingly riding on Warner Bros Suicide Squad (2016). When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) didn’t hit the way the studio wanted it seemed all hope for a DC Universe movie centered on fun and excitement. Suicide Squad mostly delivers on that.
For those who don’t know, Suicide Squad in the comics is a team of Supervillains pressed into service for the U.S. Government by Amanda Waller. The movie does not deviate from this concept. Some of the most popular characters from across the team’s 30 year history make up the movie team’s roster for the superhero version of The Dirty Dozen
There are several characters here who I thought we would never see in a big screen movie, from Captain Boomerang to Killer Croc. I’m glad to see that like Marvel’s use of The Falcon or Howard the Duck, I’m glad these characters aren’t being turned away simply because they may not be the biggest marquee names. Chosen for the movie team are Deadshot (master marksman, Batman villain), Captain Boomerang (master of throwing weapons, Flash villain), Harley Quinn (The Joker’s girlfriend, Batman villain), Killer Croc (crocodile man, Batman villain), El Diablo (fire controller), Slipknot (master of ropes), and Enchantress (a sorceress). The team is lead by Rick Flagg (US Army specialist) and Katana (mystic modern samurai, former member of Batman’s Outsiders team).
Right of the bat I’ll say the cast suffers the same problems as any typical Star Trek movie. Some characters have a lot to do and some do not.
Deadshot seems to be the lead character if there is one. He steers the story for most of the movie. Will Smith plays a very accurate version of the character’s comic book version with the occasional urban addition. Deadshot’s main concern is not only for his daughter’s welfare but how she sees him. He becomes the conscious of the bad guys throughout the story.
Deadshot may be the lead but it’s Harley’s world. Margot Robbie brings a near pitch perfect version of the popular Batman: The Animated Series character to life. Manic, playful, and devoted to her Mister J, everything you could want from a movie version of Harley is here. Her story, and The Joker’s as well, centers around The Joker trying to find out what happened to her after her last arrest and Joker generally mucking with The Squad’s mission while trying to get her back.
Flag has ample screen time but is generally a generic army guy who the movie struggled to give a proper motivation to.
Captain Boomerang is funny, he might get the biggest laughs, and El Diablo has the most expanded on back story throughout the plot.
Both Killer Croc and Katana are great in everything they do, which is sadly very little.
And Amanda Waller is just pure evil, but in the interest of our nation’s security.
All hell breaks loose and the Squad is put into action. We get a fun, if not overly ambitious, romp of the bad guys trying to take on this massive threat in Midway City. Discussions are had about the nature of villainy, honor among thieves, who is the real bad guy. All the tropes are covered. Everything is what you expect and that is the film's biggest problem. Not enough WOW moments. No real pushing the envelope. A few surprises, some funny moments, and lots of fan service, but seemingly always played safe. The movie is never bad. It gives you plenty to look at and some great characters to like. But it could have been more.
Special mention goes to Jared Leto’s Joker. He stepped into some big shoes and he did fine. Again, not amazing, but a solid performance as the Clown Prince of Crime centered mostly on him being creepy. He greatly benefits from this being an established Joker with a reputation that precedes him and he plays that for all it’s worth. And he’s got a heck of a laugh.