The Last Suicide Squad Movie Review (part 2)

In my last Suicide Squad blog I talked about the history of the Squad and a synopsis of the plot.

Let’s dig deeper:

I think most critics were put off by the fumbling opening of the film. It soured them to the rest of the movie.

Our heroes – er – villains were introduced in a very comic-booky sequence. Amanda Waller sat in a restaurant with men who may or may not have been her superiors. She plunked down a dossier of each of her recruits.

Deadshot! The screen fills with his stats. Then the movie flashed back to show the character and a bit of his background (in this case, his relationship with his daughter and eventual capture by Batman).

Harley Quinn! The screen fills with her stats!

Et cetera and so on…

Works for a comic book, not for a movie. It was as bad as an obvious info dump in a science fiction novel. “As you know Bob, we are on the first manned mission to Mars!” “Yes, I know, why are you telling me this?”

***

            You know what would have worked? They could have taken this entire twenty-minute introduction and put it online two weeks before the movie opened, either as a free download or on Youtube. Wherever.

Then they could open the movie twenty minutes in: with the bad guy doing his thing in Midway City and then showing the Special Forces dragging the Squad from their cells and on to their mission.

Of course if you missed the preview you might be a little lost at first. “How can we introduce all these characters in one movie and get to know all their personalities without the previews?!” “Aaa-chooguardiansofthegalaxy …!”

Then again, if you wanted to go see the movie, you probably would have found the preview online. In this day and age do people still wander into a theater not knowing what they want to see? “Oo, this looks interesting Margaret; let’s take a chance and spend a week’s income to see THIS movie!”

It could have started a trend: Watch this mega-preview first!

And they then could have added in all these scenes rumored to be on the cutting room floor that made the movie darker or funnier depending on who you believe.

***

            There are hundreds of reviews of “Suicide Squad”. Most of them were published on my Facebook wall by frenzied fans. I agree with parts of them and disagree with parts of them. Some random thoughts:

***

            Harley Quinn was fun and not as eye-rolling as the previews led me to believe she would be. A psychopath? Sure, but at least it was toned down from her comic book-y levels. And there was one moment that was wonderful. She slipped out of character for a few seconds. When the rest of the Squad caught up to her, she held up her head, pasted on the smile and was back to her psychotic self. That’s about as close as she came to three dimensions.

And she did steal every scene she was in. It helped that she was usually near the center of every the shot…

***

            Much as been made of Jared Leto’s Joker. He was on-screen for less than ten minutes total and got second billing. Unlike what some have writ, I do not think he stole every scene he was in. But is WAS a unique interpretation of the Joker. Crazy? I suppose, but no more so than villains we have seen on TV’s “Daredevil” or “Constantine”.

The actor is purportedly miffed that his best lines remain on the cutting room floor. I believe it: his Joker is a homicidal drug-dealing gangster running a nightclub. Will Smith’s wife also did that on “Gotham” with about the same body count. Leto’s Joker leans more towards Nicholson’s crazy than Ledger’s Lord of Chaos. In fact, in the few lines he had I thought “What if Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow played Al Pacino’s role in “Scarface”? Relax, Leto fans, I’m comparing him favorably to Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp and Al Pacino fer crissake!

Leto may or may not be back in the DC Movie Universe as the Joker, depending on the articles you read. He will have to be replaced by a DC villain who is psychotic and runs Gotham’s Underworld. Maybe the Penguin? A shame, but frankly the Joker is overused anyway.

And you don’t keep an actor who doesn’t WANT to play the character anymore! It would be like hiring someone who actively dislikes Superman to direct another … movie … Oh, yeah. I guess we WILL see Leto’s Joker soon…

***

            Will Smith was kept on a short leash and did very well with Deadshot. Granted, that of all of the Squad, he had the most characterization to sink his teeth into; but he avoided the “too cool to fool” hipness (dare I say, being Fresh?) of, for example, “Independence Day”.  Of course, a list of the things wrong with “Independence Day” would fill up a flashdrive…

He was given star billing, although Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Leto got most of the press. He did a good job.

***

            Amanda Waller – more evil than even the bad guys – and Captain Boomerang – sowing seeds of rebellion and approaching Waller’s boundaries without ever crossing them – were the characters most like the comic book. The second series, of course.

 

SPOILER

            Slipknot? He was never given a preview at the beginning of the movie and introduced about a half-hour into the film. When they DID introduce him to the team, all but the most non-savvy movie-goers knew what was going to happen to him.  He might as well have been wearing a red shirt from the original “Star Trek”. His fate was so telegraphed it made the first “Jurassic Park” seem taut and suspenseful. Little things like this are why movies get bad reviews. They should have given him a preview and put him in the lineup of the movie posters, something…

END OF SPOILER

 

“Suicide Squad” wasn’t as dark as I thought. Even when Amanda Waller showed her VERY dark side, I wasn’t shocked by it.

It is relative: “Superman, The Man of Steel” being dark is shocking; “Suicide Squad” being dark is expected.

***

            So I liked it, I didn’t love it; I may or may not see the inevitable sequel. I will see “The Magnificent Seven” again. The original, not the remake. Dun dun-dundun, dundundun-dundun-dun; dun dun-dundun…

 

 

Original Material Copyright Michael Curry 2016

 

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