So, I just returned from seeing Suicide Squad, the critical ugly stepchild of movies this year. This movie showed just how much contempt and internalized rage that audiences have for critics. On the popular reviewing website, Rotten Tomatoes, Suicide Squad received very poor reviews and critical reaction, with a current 26% Rotten rating from critics. Audiences, however, have received the movie more favorably. Right now as of August 9th, 2016, Suicide Squad sits at a 71% Fresh rating from audiences.The thing that interests me the most about this though is the absolute vitriol being flung from fans of DC movies or whoever the hell has beef with Rotten Tomatoes over their ratings of the DC Cinematic Universe. And please note that all of this was BEFORE the movie was released to the public. It got so bad and so ridiculous that someone actually made a petition to take down Rotten Tomatoes for the poor response from critics.
I’m seriously not kidding.
Yeah. Utterly ridiculous. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Alright, so what did I think of the movie? Was it as awful as the critics say? Is it truly a gem like the whiners crying foul and conspiracy say it really is?
Well my answer for to that question is this:
Suicide Squad is average.
Yup. Just average. Now to get into the meat and potatoes.
For the most part, I liked the movie. Each actor portrayed their character with enough depth and personality that they kept my interest throughout it all, which is a pretty difficult task since there is a plethora of characters in this movie. The main standouts in this movie to me are Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Diablo (Jay Hernandez) (thought I’d say Harley Quinn or The Joker, did’ja?)
Courtney as Boomerang was absolutely hilarious in this movie. He was definitely the comic relief and he was just a joy to watch. And this is something I never thought I would say about a performance from Jai Courtney. I used to think he sucks as an actor, being pushed as a lead role that is cookie-cutter and that nobody at all wants (a-la Sam Worthington). However, his performance as Captain Boomerang shattered that notion from me. Now, I just think he needs to be cast in the right part and one where he can experiment and have fun. And it seemed he really had that in this movie. Jay Hernandez reinvigorated his career with the character of Diablo, a man wielding extraordinary power that completely destroys his entire life and family. Hernandez really brings out the feels acting as the former gangbanger with powers of pyrokinesis, showcasing his exploitation of that power and how it led him to lose everything, including him killing his own family from his rage. It was really touching and pretty sad. I very much empathized with the man because he literally had nothing left and he did not want to cause any more pain from his power. Stellar performance in my view.
Everybody else did what they needed to do. Will Smith was Will Smith as always, playing the dad with the troubled past just doing what he needed to do for his family. Yeah, yeah we have all seen that shit before nothing new to see. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was what we came to expect anyone who was trying to play the deranged girlfriend of the Clown Prince of Crime. Fun performance with a lot of dynamics going on, but it wasn’t anything shocking. Killer Croc was there and he did stuff. Rick Flag served to drive the plot. And there was a ninja, a guy who got his head blown up when he tried to escape, and Scott Eastwood. Yeah, and those people did stuff. Another standout performance was from Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. She played a cold, hard bitch who didn’t take no for an answer and would kick your ass if you crossed her the wrong way. She was such a badass and she is someone that I would not want to fuck with. Overall, most of the characters served their purpose and nothing more. Nothing wrong with it at all and they were enjoyable to watch.
Their were two performances in particular thought that really irked me. And yes, one of them is Leto’s Joker. I don’t know what it is about his portrayal. I just didn’t like it. A lot of the things he did seemed way too forced. For instance, a lot of the growling noises he made like he was some kind of marmot was just bizarre and rather uninteresting. I think it was a way for him to seem cool or something but it just fell flat and was just weird. He also seemed to be a bit too much like a godfather of a mafia family rather than an insane psychopath who has zero regard for human life. I know that is a quality to his character to an extent but it just didn’t feel right to me. Luckily, he was in the movie for only about 15 minutes (with half of it in flashbacks) so it wasn’t too much of a distraction. But his performance wasn’t that great. Was it horrible? Nah. Was it good? Nah.
The worst portrayal though was the Enchantress. Most of it because the character is the main plot point and main villain. But with a character with such an intriguing aspect such as being a witch (an ancient Mayan or Aztec one…I think?), it boggles my mind as to how you make that character as boring and one-dimensional as possible. I felt like there was literally a golden opportunity here for the movie to have a really cool villain and possibly bring them into future DC movies. But nope, let’s just have bad guy (or lady in this case) do bad stuff cuz they bad! Cross off about 50 tropes right there.
In short, the characters are what make this movie, but a couple of performances bring it down a bit.
Alright, let me try to explain this plot. There isn’t much to it but it’s rather nonsensical:
So, in order to have a contingency plan to fight against a being that is as strong or stronger than Superman and isn’t friendly, a section of the American government under Amanda Waller decides that it’s a good idea to gather a group of bad guys to fight against said being. Not sure how that would ever work out but that’s the plan. To demonstrate this plan, Waller brings with her to the Pentagon the most powerful bad guy of the group, Enchantress. Thinking that she can control Enchantress because she inhabits the body of a human being (forgot the name) and she controls her actual heart (some legend thing about controlling the heart controls the witch or whatever), Waller shows just how whole plan will work. Bad thing is: the plan didn’t work because, turns out, she couldn’t fully control Enchantress. Enchantress escapes from Flag, gets her the cremated remains of her brother (Oh yeah, and apparently Enchantress knows where everything is located in the world. She even got the plans for the Iranian weapons program.) and begins to try and take over the world because EVVVVVIILLLLL!!!!
So the Squad now has to the take out Enchantress and save the world without killing anyone that doesn’t need to be killed or escape. That’s pretty much it.
While I understand that Waller planted like a bomb in their neck and threatened to kill them, the reasons why the Squad goes through with this plan doesn’t make much sense to me. All of a sudden, they just decide that they are friends and it’s good to save the world? Yeah…not buying it. They could have made this a little more interesting other than just threatening to kill them. How about kidnapping Deadshot’s daughter? How about threatening Harley Quinn with Joker’s execution (this is for if they had imprisoned him) since that’s all she seems to care about? How about forcing Captain Boomerang to get a job and not rob banks? Reason why I say this is that Waller says that she is forcing them to act against their own self-interests. How about actually giving weight to that rather than just simple threats of death? That’s just my view of it though. Also, these villains seemed to be pretty cohesive from the start. They didn’t attack each other or try to hurt each other in some way. “But they’re bad guys! That’s what Harley Quinn said!” If I was a villain, just because my commonality with someone else is that they are a bad guy too would not make me give more of a shit. But without that, I guess there’s no plot. This along with the barebones plot is what really hinders the movie. It’s just full of shit we have already seen before. Yeah, you have interesting personalities intermingled with it, but that doesn’t make the elements of storytelling any better. The plot was just dumb and boring. Nothing more.
The Technical Aspects
The score to this movie was ab-so-lute-ly fucking terrible. I don’t care what anyone says. Sure, it’s got a lot of songs that I like but I’m getting pretty sick and fucking tired of movies nowadays just putting popular songs in their movies as the actual score and calling it a day. And, somehow, they think this makes the movie cooler.
No, no it fucking doesn’t. This obnoxious bullshit needs to stop in movies. If it makes sense to the movie, then yes go for it (Star Trek Beyond did this perfectly.) Otherwise, limit it to one or two songs or none at all. I swear this movie’s score is just someone’s mixed CD they found underneath a bunch of boxes of old CDs in their basement. But hey, the artists who made those songs aren’t complaining.
The lighting was really good. This was actually a good way for DC to do dark and gritty. The lighting worked so well with the environments and brought out a lot of colors that contrasted with the darkness. Great work there. See DC? This is the way to do it.
Cinematography was standard stuff, nothing special. Nothing more to say there.
Overall, the technical side of this movie was what you would come to expect from seeing a big-budget summer movie. Time to move along.
I give this movie 5 Joker Laughs out of 10. I think that this movie hit the ceiling of average really hard. There are some good elements to the movie and I had a good time overall watching it. But the good elements are not enough to save it from the mediocrity that the plot and the technical aspects brought to the movie. This is one of the those movies meant to draw audiences by its cast and characters rather than bringing the whole package. I would recommend it for a moderately enjoyable movie to watch. But if you are looking for a high-brow film, it ain’t here. It’s not as horrible as many critics say it is but it isn’t as amazing as a lot of mouth-foaming, raging fanboys want you to believe.