Suicide Squad is the second film in the DC Comics universe to be released this year, the other being Batman v Superman, which was released a few months ago theatrically. This new film looks to set-up a rag-tag team of “meta-humans” and to turn their killing ways into weapons for the U.S. government. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is the head of a secret organization within the U.S. government and develops a plan to assemble a team of gifted criminals. These criminals are killers and thieves – in her words – “the worst of the worst.”
Roll call: Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). The group is led by Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), military and tactics expert, who answers to Amanda Waller. As you can see it’s a crowded cast. Oh, and let’s not forget that Joker (Jared Leto) also makes an appearance as does Batman (Ben Affleck).
A sinister evil has spawned out of Enchantress’ realm and seeks to destroy the world. The “Suicide Squad” is on the case and must reluctantly work together in order to have their prison sentences eliminated. I mentioned that the Joker is also involved but his journey is a truncated one that involves him trying to locate and rescue Harley Quinn. The overall gist of the film – is that it’s a team mission that must be completed, which turns into a rescue mission, and everyone must come together to win over extraordinary odds.
It has been a turbulent year for Suicide Squad. Last year the trailer that was shown at Comic-Con promised a film that would be dark and nihilistic — something quite appropriate for a film featuring killers as the so-called good guys. A few months after that first trailer was released a newer debuted to more buzz that featured more humor and more action. Folks were in a froth and then the third and final trailer was released and at that point folks sort of turned on it, because it seemed to have dropped that dark edge in favor of humor and wackiness.
Yes, the film is rather wacky, but it’s on so much overload that I was able to shut off my brain and just get absorbed in this colorful and garish world. The film was loud and unapologetic. It was what it was and everyone did their thing to the max. The one clear thing about the film is that the editing is wildly inconsistent and several scenes featuring some of the characters were completely cut out – scenes that were previously seen in the trailers. We have not had a Joker incarnation since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, so having Jared Leto fill in this new version of the “Clown Prince of Crime” was something I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, his role is nothing more than an extended cameo. It runs maybe 5-7 minutes, if that. I think folks will feel as if they’ve been cheated. Rumor had it that some of the earlier private screenings bashed the films and the studio went ahead and ordered new footage along with reshoots. Yeah, that sounds about right. Jared Leto has been doing the promotion circuit and has been very bitter towards having most of his scenes cut out.
Suicide Squad was written and directed by David Ayer (Harsh Times, End of Watch, Sabotage, Fury), so I at least knew that the film would be gritty. It definitely is but the obvious studio meddling really drops everything down a couple of notches. I know there’s a good film in there somewhere and I hope that it sees the light of day – maybe on an Ultimate Blu-ray Edition.
Now as far as this version goes, should you see at the movie theater? Sure. Taper your expectations, have a drink or two, and enjoy yourself. It’s mindless fun and if you pick at it then I am sure you will find things to like. I think that Margot Robbie steals the show, because she embodies Harley Quinn perfectly. Will Smith scales it back a bit and gives Deadshot some serious depth, and shockingly, Diablo has the deepest of all of their origins. Here’s hoping that the film does well in theaters, because I would welcome future installments and possible different cuts on home video.
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