Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Based on: various comic characters
Cast: Will SmithMargot RobbieJay Hernandez, Jai CourtneyAdewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeCara Delevingne, Joel KinnamanKaren Fukuhara, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Jim Parrack, CommonScott Eastwood, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 23.8.2016

Plot:
With the rise of superheroes and metahumans, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is convinced that the USAmerican government needs to fight back with metahumans that they control or they will be lost. She has come up with a plan to force a team of arrested metahumans in her employ in exchange for taking years of their sentence. When she stumbles on a way to control the archaeologist June Moon (Cara Delevingne) who was possessed by the millennia old Enchantress, Waller knows that with her, soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and metahuman Katana (Karen Fukuhara), she has a weapon strong enough to keep the involuntary team together. So she gets started with Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Chato Santana aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Slipknot (Adam Beach).

I really did not expect Suicide Squad to be any good, but it did manage to surprise me in the many ways it wasn’t good. Yet, I admit that there was a kind of hypnotic “can’t look away from this train wreck” vibe about it, and every once in a while it really did strike gold. So, I guess, I’m giving this film a more positive review than I thought I would? [Which is not to be confused with me saying that it’s any good.]

suicidesquad

A lot in Suicide Squad goes wrong. The plotting is often pretty much incomprehensible (I still don’t understand how/why Enchantress could be so stupid as to leave her heart behind when she took over June; how her brother fits into all of it; or how her plan would have benefitted her. I also had to google the film’s ending after the film to read up on it, because I couldn’t remember what had happened – and I blame that only partially on my utter drunkenness after the film) and characters are randomly introduced and thrown away again (has there ever been a redder shirt than Slipknot?). We are supposed to get a sense of these people as a team, but the film spends such different amounts of effort and times with every character that this is barely possible. We don’t know anything, really, about Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang and Katana, aside from some perfunctory back story. Rick and Chato get a bit more, but really, this is Harley’s and Floyd’s film.

The way the film is set up, it is really no surprise that I started shipping Harley and Floyd pretty much immediately. What I didn’t expect was that I’d throw Chato into the mix but, oh, I did. [Despite his awful, stereotypical, fridging back story.] I left the cinema with a burning desire to write a fanfic about the three of them. [I think it’s mostly that with Chato, the fucked up power couple dynamic gets an element of hesitation and doubt – and vice versa – that I find quite intriguing, but that’s just on a sidenote.] [If I ever have time again, I will write it.] Which obviously meant that I connected with these characters, for whatever reason.

suicidesquad1A lot of this has certainly to do with the cast. Not only did I love the diversity of it [caveat, though, they are far from stereotype free and that Killer Croc was played by a black man is particularly galling – the “cannibalistic step down the evolutionary ladder”], they really were good in their roles. Particularly Margot Robbie is perfect as Harley [the film’s permanent ogling of her was annoying as fuck though]. If the script had been a little better, she even could have shown the utter creepiness of the Joker’s (Jared Leto, who was better than I thought he would be) relationship with her. It’s unfortunate that the film wasn’t all that interested in dismantling that abuse.

What’s probably most symptomatic for the film as a whole is its soundtrack. Obviously they thought that a film of its kind has to be filled to the brim with iconic music. And it is – that soundtrack is a great playlist. What it isn’t is a great soundtrack: many times the song choice is so on the nose, it made me cringe (like when Waller is introduced to “Sympathy for the Devil”), but even worse, to be able to cram all those songs into the film, they had to forego any kind of rhythm to the use. The songs start and end abruptly (much like the characters) and distractingly. They neither accompany the film very well, nor do they accentuate its emotional content. Instead of a bodyguard surreptitiously clearing your way as you walk down the street, making sure that only the right people approach you and nobody is standing in your way, it was more like being accompanied by a bad tour guide who over-explains the trivialities of your surroundings every step along the way, while leaving out the real sights, and doesn’t think to stop so you can take pictures, but interrupts themselves every once in a while to proclaim themselves the greatest guide ever.

Okay, I may have stretched that metaphor a bit. In any case: as illustrated in its soundtrack, Suicide Squad is a hot mess that misunderstands some of its most essential parts and functions. There is fun to be had, but the issues outweigh pretty much everything else.

suicidesquad2Summarizing: Make it a drinking game and you’ll probably have fun. At the very least you’ll be very drunk when you get out.

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