Monday, 8 August 2016

'Suicide Squad' (2016) Review: Please Don't Watch This

DO NOT DOWNLOAD: A movie so bad you shouldn't even seek it illegally. 
Movie fans will know, August is a horrible month to be in. It's the time when popcorn flicks come out that are undeniably the worst of the summer. If summer is the slip n slide of movie seasons, where we dive headfirst with childish abandon into movies that succeed based on fun; August is the end of the slip n slide where the water has run out, yet the slide continues, leaving us afflicted with friction and wondering why we slid in the first place. Sometimes though that slide has an extra burst of slip, and you get movies like 'Rise of The Planet of the Apes', that buck the trend of August movies being unadulterated trash.

'Suicide Squad' does not buck that trend. At all. Set sometime after the events of 'Batman v Superman', 'Suicide Squad' is a movie that tries to shift the focus away from heroes, putting the spotlight on the villains. The idea is, in a world where super people are showing up, and cities are being destroyed, the world needs a way to fight back. Enter the suicide squad, or 'Task Force X' as the movie calls them. A team of super-villains, forced to either comply with the mission at hand, or die from the bomb in their neck.

A simple salary wouldn't do?
Right there that's an interesting premise for a superhero movie. It takes the best part of a superhero movie, the villain, and puts their colorful, larger than life characters centre stage. 'Suicide Squad' takes that premise and shoots it in the foot almost immediately. It does this by taking its team of mostly brawlers and hit men and pitting them against yet another pillar of blue light in the sky in a world ending plot by a seemingly all powerful villain.

Why are they there? What purpose does a man whose skill is throwing really sharp boomerangs have against a witch with powers that are essentially whatever the script wants her to have. Even the more impressive of the team like Will Smith's Deadshot seem pointless. Yes the movie pits the squad against an army of mindless zombies so that there's some action before the big finale, but even that seems a touch above what someone like Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn should be capable of handling.

Army of magic zombies vs...a baseball bat?
There's just a distinct lack of cohesion to the movie. The first half bombards you with information overload as it tries to give you the basic rundown of each character and their abilities. It's the type of thing most ensemble movies struggle with that really makes the pacing feel off. It's a full hour until you get into the actual mission of the movie. By then you'd think the ball would be rolling, and everyone could have a good time, but instead, all the information you were fed at the beginning, now has to be re revealed to the characters left in the dark.

For all that you learn about the characters though, the less you actually know. Every revelation only leads to more questions. Questions that go unanswered. Then there are the characters you learn nothing at all about, except through vague statements about them. Example: This movie features a man with skin and teeth like a crocodile and a tendency to eat people. That's all you'll ever learn about him. Except of course that he's apparently black, since his demand for a job well done is access to BET. Not cable. Not TV. BET. Specifically.

Raised as a subterranean animal so you make
There are of course stand outs, and those are the characters played by the biggest stars. Will Smith's Deadshot and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn are the most developed and most entertaining parts of the film. Harley's brand of chaos refrains from being a nuisance as her character could very well be, and Deadshot's above it all professionalism is so massively cool, it elevates the movie when he's on screen. My personal favourite though is Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang just for the sheer fact that he's the least qualified to be there and the guy who seems to be enjoying it the most.

As far as the action goes, it's actually not bad. David Ayer has shown his capability with directing an action scene in the past, and although there's moments when they're incomprehensible, I thought they were a nice distraction from the movie's character and plot flaws. It's also a movie that tries to have a distinct comedic tone, the type that is casual with violence and criminal activity. It mostly succeeds at this, but would've been all the better if it had more character to go off of.

One thing I did like about this movie is the way it expands this universe. The way it presents these characters as having existed without being known to the audience yet is great. I enjoyed casual mention of the different cities and events, as they made the world feel lived in. The best example of this is probably the inclusion of Batman as the Joker as largely background characters. There's not much to say about Leto's Joker, because I feel as though I'm still waiting for him to show some character to comment on. Then again I said the same thing for Superman after 'Man of Steel' and... yup still waiting.

It's not bad, just kind of there.
Of course, expanding a universe means nothing if the movie isn't worth watching.

'Suicide Squad' is a movie that has a lot that it has to do. It has to provide levity to the overly serious DC extended universe, it has to introduce a group of characters general audiences are completely unaware of. It has to be an action movie. Of course, it also has to be good. A lot of this, Suicide Squad fails at. Its problems are blatant and it's extremely flawed. I'd say it's so bad it's good, except a lot of the times I was bored by it. It did make me laugh at times, and I did enjoy parts of it. Largely though, I can't see myself recommending anyone see this movie, which is why recommend that this is a movie you do not download.