‘Suicide Squad:’ #SquadGoons

By now, you’ve heard how bad it is. DC fans are ready to sue Rotten Tomatoes. The director of Suicide Squad wants to “F**k Marvel.” Apparently, there’s some a conspiracy to destroy DC, a conspiracy that exists in a world in which a rivalry between comic book companies actually matters in the scheme of things.

Listen, Suicide Squad is not a good movie. It is a bad one. But it’s not the slight to humanity that the internet made it out to be. (The internet blew something out of proportion?? No way.) Yes, the marketing team behind Suicide Squad made it look like some zit-faced teenage punk kid won a shopping spree at Hot Topic, but it wasn’t as visually cringey as I thought it would be. Some of the dialogue, plot (or lack thereof), music choices, character decisions (ahem Jared Leto), etc. etc, however… Those are the things that make it a bad movie.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is a powerful badass lady with a terrible idea. In order to prevent the next big bad thing from happening — a thing, a villain, a threat that is never, not once named or explained — she wants to recruit “the worst of the worst.” She spends the first 20 minutes of the film making her case to Old White Government Man for her bonkers idea, facilitating unnecessarily long introductions of our anti-heroes: Deadshot (Will Smith), the most wanted hitman in the world and brooding daddy to a 10-year-old girl, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the world’s most psycho ex-psychiatrist and the Joker’s much more charismatic gf, Boomerang (Jai Courtney, who is trying so hard to be Tom Hardy and is decidedly not Tom Hardy), the Australian guy whose only thing is that his weapon is a boomerang, Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the gang member who can shoot flames out of his hands, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the quiet, scaly type, and June Moone, a.k.a. Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), an all-powerful witch who takes over the body of the demure archaeologist.

Once Enchantress brings Old White Government Man some top secret files he’s been after for years, the guy approves Waller’s little experiment with greedy glee, and it immediately goes to s**t when Moone loses control of Enchantress. The ancient witch causes one of them mid-city lightning bolt power center thingies and starts recruiting innocent humans for her world-domination army. Woopsie. Then it becomes the job of the Suicide Squad, led by Moone’s angsty soldier-boyfriend, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), to bring down Waller’s mistake.

I sat wide-eyed, watching the reckless American government make one decision that super backfired and destroyed its own people, and it was like watching what would happen if Donald Trump was in charge and got ahold of meta-human serial killers, or you know, nuke buttons. In that way, Suicide Squad was quite effective. Additionally, Will Smith has his moments. Margot Robbie squeezes what she can out of a poorly-conceived part, and if Viola Davis has a glass of red wine by her side and a desire to win at all costs, she is in her element. And she was.

In other ways, though, like the purely surface level at which we get to know our characters, the storylines that disappear without a trace, the unsympathetic, self-inflicted nature of the entire premise, and the lines like, “You’re saying we’re some kind of suicide squad,” the movie proves to be just not very good. While I admire the commitment the comic book visuals and the clear effort to make a distinctly DC movie, they missed the mark in too many ways with this one. Maybe next time.

But seriously, Donald Trump cannot be president.

Grade: C-

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