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Suicide Squad

“Suicide Squad,” is oozing with ambition yet fails to really land any of the things it’s trying to pull off.  But let’s give it points for trying. Really, it wants to do so many things, it’s kind of endearing to watch it fail. Writer/Director David Ayers wants to include each character’s origin story – and there are a lot of them – not at the beginning of the film, but embedded as we go along.  That’s a cool idea that doesn’t work, because it creates a whiplash-inducing pace to the movie.  He wants to tell a story that takes place in the space of a few hours all (more or less) in one place. Another cool idea (see “Die Hard,” or “The Raid: Redemption”) but again, major pacing issues. And he wants to help us see this motley crew of villains as heroes.  That’s probably the least ambitious, and the most successful.

For all the talk about Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s Joker, this movie firmly belongs to Will Smith, playing Deadshot, an assassin who never misses.  Smith used to be an actor we rooted for, but somewhere over the last decade, his charisma just up and vanished, and so did all that good will.  Credit either Smith or Ayers for finding his lost charisma; he’s a lot of fun to watch here, and we’re reminded again why we like him, even when playing a character that takes out mob informants before getting ice cream with his daughter.

Ayers takes a pretty standard approach to these anti-heroes; they’re mostly good people who’ve been dealt crummy lots in life, or at best have been given more lucrative opportunities to be bad than to be good.  Deadshot wants to be a good dad; Harley wants to be a model housewife (straight out of Leave it to Beaver, according to a dream sequence) and the others, well, we don’t have time to learn much about them, but they’re probably good people too, deep down.

Aside from Deadshot’s journey towards redemption (and his daughter) and Harley’s craziness/hotness, there’s not a lot to “Suicide Squad.” Hardly any of the other characters are given much to do, most notably Adam Beach.  (Jay Hernandez, playing Diablo, does the best at making a lot out of a little.) The villainess, some sort of god-type being, mostly cackles wildly and waits for the bad/good guys to come stop her from taking over/destroying the world, because that’s what bad guys do.

By the end, we’re supposed to believe that this makeshift crew of seriously messed up (but good-hearted) people have become a family unit, not unlike the Star Trek crew, though it only took them a few hours instead of a few years.  It’s a stretch, but what isn’t in the DC cinematic universe? If I’m going to believe that Harley Quinn’s baseball bat packs more of a punch that a police officer’s service weapon, I guess I can buy the whole family thing.  Besides, that makes it good, wholesome, family entertainment, in spite of the violence and the language and the fact that everyone gets to wear pants except the girl.  Right?

 

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Posted in All Reviews, by Will Krischke.

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