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Suicide Squad
Reviewed by Alan J. Porter, @alanjporter, © 2016

Format: Movie
By:   David Ayer (director)
Review Date:   August 06, 2016
RevSF Rating:   5/10 (What Is This?)

I wanted to enjoy the Suicide Squad movie. I really did. The trailers with the mix of bright colors, snappy dialog, and cool music seemed to promise a comedic adventure caper set in a lighter corner of the gloomy DC Comics Cinematic world, a place I haven't really enjoyed hanging out in since the convoluted mess that was Dark Knight Rises.

It's a shame that we didn't get that movie, as DC apparently continue to deliver mess after mess in their attempt to match the might of Marvel's success on the silver screen. Suicide Squad was a definite casualty of such corporate desperation. The much publicized reshoots and “injection of humor” resulted in an incoherent movie that didn't seem to be able to make up its mind what it wanted to be. It was a mash-up between the director's vision and last minute corporate demands where the sum of the parts never added up.

The actors, on the whole, did a fine job with what they had to work with. The relationship between the main Squad members was well developed and overall the dialog exchanges fun and snappy. When the main characters were on screen I enjoyed watching and listening to them. Will Smith (as Deadshot), and Margot Robbie (as Harley Quinn) did a good job in carrying the movie, while Viola Davis delivered an excellent performance of the Squad\'s instigator Amanda Waller. But the Squad could have been trimmed down, the movie simply had too many characters; with seven members of the Suicide Squad itself, two handlers, a bunch of supporting special forces, the Joker and his henchmen, and the bad guys, plus cameo appearances from two Justice League characters – that was a lot to juggle and inevitably character motivation and development took a back seat.

Talking of The Joker, I had been worried about Jared Leto\'s performance of the Crown Prince of Clown, but it turned out to an understated and effective portrayal. But it was totally unnecessary, The Joker's presence added nothing to the plot, it just added confusion, and undermined the final scenes. I read that a lot of The Joker footage ended up on the cutting room floor, he could have been left out entirely.


What also should have been left out was the main villain. The Suicide Squad is made of a group of street level, or in Killer Croc's case under the street, villains. So why pit them against a magical alien bent of smashing up the planet? That's a Justice League level threat. The main villain was also laughably clichéd, with no real motivation and came over as a bad pastiche of the original Ghostbusters nemesis, Zuul. I half expected to see a giant Marshmallow Man walk around a corner at one point. And when the whole cinema groans at the predictability of the post-defeat villain's redemption moment, you know you've lost the plot – literally.

The cool music that informed the trailers and seemed to add to the promise of a hip rocking tone for the movie ended up being an annoyance, as the music cues were overused and even on occasion played over the dialog which was very distracting. They may not have helped the movie, but they will make for one heck of a soundtrack album.

The real shame of this movie is that it had the potential to be what the DC Comics movie universe needs. It had the potential to be a Guardians of the Galaxy type breakout moment. It failed. The fun dynamic of the central team was lost in a plodding, predictable mediocre plot that pitted the Squad against an unsuitable third rate villain.

Now I'm starting to get worried about the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, because I'm liking what that trailer promises, too…

For all of your Alan J. Porter needs, follow @AlanJPorter.

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