“Suicide Squad” is a great time at the movies.
But director and writer David Ayers’s “Suicide Squad” makes absolutely no sense. That really doesn’t matter nor I would guess was it ever the intent.
Will Smith is all movie star swag with deceptive nuance. Margot Robbie is brilliant ‘oh snap’ irony as psycho killer Harley Quinn. Nuance is not the “Suicide Squad” strong suit. However, Smith’s assassin Deadshot salvages the movie with his paternal gravity. Robbie is a revelation in her brazen self-awareness of Harley’s curse —both comic and sad. The movie critics completely misjudged the overall appeal.
In a striking battle sequence the charismatic Smith as Deadshot, stands upon a fiery car shooting with Zen-like precision at an army of carbon headed soldiers. Yeah, you have to see the movie. Contrast this with a quiet exchange between him and Robbie’s Harley as she genuinely asks, “You ever been in love?” He says, “No. Never.” She knows that’s bulls**t.
Smith and Robbie refine a lot of Ayers’s broad narrative strokes. Ayer sporadically inserts insight amidst the high decibel noise. He could have done more. He benefits from generating strong performances throughout, especially from Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis. Having expendable criminals saving the day has been done before. “Suicide Squad” triumphs in that we end up caring about the Suicide Squad, despite being the “bad guys”.
Viola Davis is at her ruthless best as CIA Director Amanda Waller, who proposes assembling the world’s most powerful and deadly criminals as protectors in case heroes like Superman go rogue. They are called “meta-humans”. On the upside, the Government has plausible deniability, and the Suicide Squad is expendable by design.
Apparently, this reflects the aftermath of “Superman vs. Batman”.
Having capable Special Forces operatives alone like Rick Flag, played by strong and smart Joel Kinnaman, are insufficient for such a scenario. So it is up to Waller and Flag to recruit the Suicide Squad. Flag brings in guardian executioner Katana (tough Karen Fukuhara), the woman samurai grieving the death of her husband, wielding a magical sword. Fukuhara is good, but expressively handicapped by her mask. The Katana lapse illustrates that there are too many super criminals in “Suicide Squad”, and not enough back story.
Members of the Suicide Squad have heinously killed many people, mostly innocent. So transforming them into heroes is daunting.
We see the ripped Deadshot (Smith) punching a bag trying to survive in prison. His daughter is his only reason for taking on this mission. Harley Quinn (Robbie) is an uncontrollable killer, who was turned evil by Batman’s nemesis The Joker (creepy charismatic Jared Leto). Quinn is The Joker’s lover, and he is the source of her power. The side story has The Joker beholding to her and seeking to get her back. Leto is a harsher version of Heath Ledger’s Joker. There is tattooed Diablo (Jay Hernandez), who controls fire. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye- Agbaje) is a creature like his name, whose powers seem to be thrashing and eating people. There are more Squad members—way too many.
Ironically, it turns out that the Suicide Squad must stop the Enchantress (lovely and fierce Cara Delevingne), who is archaeologist June Moore. On an excavation site, a powerful ancient deity inhabits Moore. With her god-like powers, Enchantress seems omnipotent, and it seems nearly impossible for the Suicide Squad to win. But the odds matter little, much like the story. Once in motion, we are enthralled by “Matrix”-like gun battles, the slick martial arts sequences, and mind-bending explosions.
“Suicide Squad” is visually stunning.
Know what to expect with “Suicide Squad”. Admire its unpretentiousness, and enjoy the wild ride. Smith and Robbie’s star power and nuance make up for a lot.
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