Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad (Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)

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Suicide Squad (Amazon-Exclusive) (Harley Quinn Figurine) (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack)

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Written and directed by David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch) based on the DC comics characters, Suicide Squad as a film admittedly has its flaws, but thanks to a truly amazing cast it’s still a lot of fun to watch and brings some much-needed humor back to the DC-based film universe where it’s been missing (and sorely missed) for the last eight years.

Everyone who’s seen the trailers or read the comics knows the basic premise: realizing that the balance of power in the world is rapidly changing with the advent of Superman and other “meta-humans” (individuals with powers or abilities far beyond those of ordinary people), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a national security operative of the highest level, proposes to put together a team of meta-humans that the government will be able to use, and most importantly, control. Tactical control will be in the hands of specially recruited military handlers Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinneman) and his second-in-command, Lt. Edwards (Scott Eastwood), supported by specialists like samurai-trained Tatsu Yamashiro, aka Katana (Karen Fukuhara).

Her prize meta-human is June Moone (Cara Delevingne) an archaeologist who is possessed by a witch/goddess called The Enchantress, whom Waller keeps in check by a combination of persuasion and coercion. But most of the team will come from the ranks of “the most dangerous people on the planet” currently incarcerated in the ultra-high security prison for criminal meta-humans at Belle Reve, Louisiana. These include expert shot and professional assassin Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot (Will Smith), former psychiatrist specializing in the criminally insane and now herself criminally insane Dr. Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), professional thief and thorough low-life Digger Harkness, aka Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), former gang-member and now repentant pyrokinetic Chato Santana, aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), genetic mutant with reptilian features and cannibalistic appetite Waylon Jones, aka Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and another assassin who specializes at using special ropes for grappling and scaling, Christopher Weiss, aka Slipknot (Adam Beach).

To go beyond this set-up would be to enter spoiler territory, so I’ll refrain from doing so, except to say that the Joker (Jared Leto), whom you see a lot of in the trailers, is _not_ the Suicide Squad’s main adversary although they do end up fighting. I will instead now go into what makes Suicide Squad really, really fun: the performances of the amazing cast and the way their characters interact with each other. One thing that Suicide Squad got really right was in how the actors were able to take on the roles of these characters from the comics and make them uniquely their own, changing them in certain ways that turn out almost always for the better.

Viola Davis gives her Amanda Waller a barely concealed sociopathic ruthlessness that makes her completely believable as someone who would and could form such a team and would not let anything stand in her way. Will Smith gives his Deadshot some typical Will Smith attitude, which makes Deadshot a perfect foil for Joel Kinneman’s uber-serious Rick Flag, but at the same time he brings out the parts of Deadshot that make the character sympathetic in spite of his being a professional assassin. Margot Robbie absolutely nails Harley Quinn whose biggest asset is her utterly capricious and gleefully chaotic nature which makes her completely unpredictable.

Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo is highly complex, a man who has this pyrokinetic power literally at his fingertips but is remorseful for how he’s used it and is trying hard to be a better person. And I absolutely love what Jai Courtney has done with Captain Boomerang. I always found the comic book Captain Boomerang rather stiff and silly, but Jai Courtney’s Boomerang is a rude, crude in-your-face dude who loves to wreak havoc and boomerangs are simply his gadgets of choice. And last but absolutely not least, Jared Leto’s Joker is an amazing piece of work. Leto faced a daunting challenge, having to follow in a number of formidable footsteps in how Batman’s most iconic villain has been portrayed over the years, most recently in Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning performance in 2008’s The Dark Knight. But Leto’s Joker is mesmerizing with moody obsessive brooding one moment, then manic destructive glee the next, and always intense throughout, an absolutely fearless and totally unhinged crime-lord whose unpredictability makes Harley Quinn his perfect match (in a very Sid & Nancy sort of way).

The musical score by Steven Price (Gravity, The World’s End, Attack the Block) added a lot to the feel of the film, enhancing rather than distracting from or overpowering what’s happening on the screen, as are a number of killer songs playing in the background during various scenes. Makes for a really rocking ride when things get moving.

So what’s not quite right about Suicide Squad? Mainly that the film just doesn’t feel like it lives up to its full potential given the amazing job the actors did with their portrayals of these comic-book characters. The main adversaries are somewhat less than stellar, and the editing in the latter half feels choppy in places, which contributes to an unfocused and unbalanced feeling that seriously impairs the film’s narrative flow. It makes you wish Ayer had put a little more work on the screenplay and in the final editing of the film. The best parts of Suicide Squad are definitely the bits where the characters just interact with each other or bring their unique abilities into play.

But, all that said, Suicide Squad is still a fun film with a _lot_ going for it. I would definitely watch this movie again and seriously want to see more of these characters in a sequel where they’d be put to better use. I found it much more enjoyable than either Man of Steel or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

7 Total Score
Suicide Squad

Better than I Expected

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