Friday, 5 August 2016
Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, jay hernandez, adewale akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood and Cara Delevingne. Written and directed by David Ayer. Budget $175 million. Running time 123 minutes.
Funny how this one has polarized the critic-rati. The newspapers, serious mags and movie bible, Variety hated it with a passion, bouncing up and down screaming it marks the death of super hero movies and DC in particular, declaring with glee that this much anticipated summer blockbluster is as bad as last year's Fantastic Four, or 2011's Green Lantern and even this year's BvS.
And then there's the fan sites, the film mags and the internet community who scream foul play and attack anyone who dares to criticize this, DC's latest attempt to grab a fistful of Marvel's cash pie, claiming that it's, okay, not brilliant, but you know, okay.
The plot, which in case the audience doesn't understand it fully, is explained in not one but two very lengthy sequences where Amanda Waller carefully explains to two different groups of men that she wants to put together a team of very bad people to do bad things to other bad people.
Then once all the introductions are made and nearly all the origin stories are shown, the main plot Macguffin is dumped onto the proceedings from a great height and the obligatory spinning vortex of destruction can be run up the flagpole to dominate the skyline so that buildings and stuff can be destroyed. Luckily all the civilians and innocent bystanders are removed from the scene and it can start raining, cos this stuff always look cool in the rain. Then it's a Sunday afternoon stroll through the deserted raining city while the group of killers and enhanced superbeings bond and learn how to fight together for the greater good and we learn the valuable lesson that nothing is ever black or white, that good can be evil and vice versa. All before the final showdown with the spinning vortex thingie, the bad guy and the post credit set up of DC's next big outing, the Justice League.
DC or should I say, Warner have a lot riding on this one. After the tedious, poe-faced mess of BvS they really needed something to prove they could give Marvel a run for its money and produce a fun and action-packed movie which isn't just another trudge through the Nolan universe. To do this, they took a huge chapter out of the Deadpool play-book and shoe-horned as much of that as they could into this.
The question is did it work?
In a word. No.
This starts very well and you find yourself harbouring the sad, misguided belief it might actually be good. The first introduction of the characters and build up is actually fun! Most of the cast is pretty good, although the stand outs, it's hardly surprising to discover, are Will Smith and Margot Robbie whose film this is. Will Smith gives Deadshot (the world's greatest assassin) real charisma and character and Margot just utterly frickin' powns the role of Harley Quinn (the Joker's main squeeze), by god if only this film had been those two and the Joker and we wouldn't be having this conversation, we'd be weeping tears of joy and declaring this cinematic outing to be nothing less than the second coming.
Sadly this film still has to shoe horn in the likes of Slipknot, El Diablo, Katana, Rick Flag, Killer Croc, Boomerang, the Enchantress, plus a platoon's worth of cannon fodder. As well as the baddies, their plan and a stupid subplot about someone the Squad has to rescue who just happens to be hiding out right next door to the spinning vortex of doom. Actually, isn't it time that Hollywood gave the Vortex a name, cos it stars in so many films these days it only seems fair. After that, it's the age old story of boy gets girl, loses girl, girl loses boy, boy loses girl, and girl loses boy before boy gets girl.
I'm sorry if I'm sounding a bit flat but this doesn't really elicit anything more than that. It's a film that gets a lot right, but sadly gets far more wrong. It's a film that plods along giving you flashes of brilliance and then squandering them. And the main failing is a plot that plods along not really doing anything, the threat is generic, you've seen it in the likes of Fantastic Four, Avengers 2, Thor 1 and probably 2, The Avengers and indeed in any other super hero film where the planet is threatened by a vortex. The dialogue is little better than soundbites and characters repeat themselves often in the very next scene. Characters turn up then disappear and in one case an entire subplot involving a prison officer is just abandoned. The Joker, who features heavily in the trailer and looks like he'd be amazing is an afterthought who sort of turns up during Harley's origin story then promptly disappears until much, much later, before disappearing again. Only Will Smith's character seems to have any journey but then that's so un-original it hardly seems worth it. And there's also one member of the Squad who's clearly there just as a plot point and his swift exit has zero impact on the story. And talking of zero impact, I can no longer ignore the huge elephant in the room and no it's not the uncomfortable sense of racism, it's Captain Boomerang. Is it me, or is he just a bloke who can throw a bent stick? Seriously how is he a suitable candidate for the Suicide Squad?
ALSO! Goddam it! (I keep hoping I'm done with this review but then I'm reminded of other things) If this threat is so big, then where the hell is The Flash, or Wonder Woman or even Batman? Why the hell do these heavy hitters always sit these sorts of things out? This film is just filled with bits there to help the story along to the next plot point. For example, Captain Boomerang carries a stuffed pink unicorn around with him, inside his coat above his chest. It's never explained why, he just does. Surely you think, it'll come into play later on. And so later on Boomerang is stabbed in the chest exactly where the unicorn lives but something saves him. He rips open his coat and pulls out, can you guess what?
Yes, that's right, he pulls out a large wad of cash, which saved him from being stabbed. Where did it come from? Who cares. It's never explained. He's a criminal, he carries cash with him.
It's a film that once again gets outshone by its own trailer and marketing campaign that were frankly brilliant. Actually, there was no way this film was never going to better those ads. Those ads that promised so much and gave away all the good bits, without all the tedium inbetween. Seriously in a film this bat-shit crazy you'd expect something fun wouldn't you, something to make you laugh, maybe a brilliant bit of witty dialouge. And yet all it managed to generate was two mild titters of mild snorting from the packed performance I saw this with.
So instead what we get are two whole hours of massive MEH. Slightly dull, uninvolving meh with the odd flash of brilliance. I hear rumours of studio interference and that David Ayers who wrote and directed this made the film he actually wanted to. If that's true then I think he needs to go fuck himself. Because frankly if anyone actually set out to make a film this MEH he deserves to go and fuck himself, royally. Well and truly royally.
Not as bad as Fantastic Four, nor the dreadful Green Lantern and marginally better than BvS.
However that's the best that can be said of it.