“Suicide Squad” – A Review

Suicide Squad, the sort-of-sequel to last March’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still doing well in theaters. But is it more entertaining than the previous film?  Well…

Greenwich Library carries several graphic novels featuring the Suicide Squad, a bunch of super villains (and a few superheroes) coerced into working for the US government as a covert intelligence force battling terrorists and other threats to the country.  DC Comics started the series back in 1986, and it was kind of fun to see which D-list villain (Captain Boomerang, Deadshot) and hero (Nemesis, Nightshade) would show up. Plus, you never were sure which character would survive each mission.

The movie version has the Squad set up as some kind of response team to battle super-powered threats in the wake of events in Batman v Superman.  So naturally, government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a hit man named Deadshot (Will Smith), the Joker’s partner Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) whose powers include hitting people with a baseball bat and shooting guns, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who, um, throws boomerangs, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a reptilian cannibal, and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), whose own power -controlling fire- is the most impressive talent of the bunch.  Oh, and there’s The Enchantress (Cara Delvingne), who also has impressive powers, and who easily slips out of Waller’s control setting up the film’s main conflict.

That’s the basic problem with the film.  The Squad winds up battling a foe that their own people enabled!  Bad enough most of these guys couldn’t take down Superman (or Batman or The Flash, as seen in flashbacks). But to have them fight The Enchantress, a sorceress with seemingly unlimited magical powers who plans to destroy/enslave mankind, is really stretching things!

In its own way though, the film is kind of fun. Smith, Robbie, Davis & Courtney give good performances (so does Joel Kinnaman as Col. Rick Flagg, the squad’s handler) and the film’s pace never slows down.  The subplot involving The Joker (Jared Leto, who’s really annoying) trying to get Harley back is obstructive and seems to be more of a set up for a forthcoming Batman film.

Writer/director David Ayer (Fury) reportedly had studio executives micromanage his film, ordering reshoots and other things.  I’m not sure what his actual vision was supposed to be, but Suicide Squad, while entertaining and compelling and just slightly better than the draggy, humorless Batman v Superman in its own right, is still a jumbled mess. Stick with the original comic instead.

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