Suicide Squad AKA "Juggalo Justice League"
Well, now we know what the popular Halloween costumes are going to be this October.
The film certainly was a hit with the mom and about six young teen girls sitting in the row behind me. The kids were singing along to the pop music track. I got depressed just before the film started because one of the trailer previews was for the upcoming film simply titled: "Dunkirk." And the kid sitting behind me, publically educated by my tax dollars, mutters, confused: "Dunkirk!?!?! Who is THAT???" That audience LOVES Suicide Squad, or as I have heard it called: "Juggalo Justice League". Adults will be somewhat more critical.
I found it a mixed bag. Jared Leto's Joker is fresh and scary, but he's really barely in this. Robbe's Harley Quinn is excellent, Will Smith's Deadshot is competent, but pretty much every Will Smith action hero you've seen before, the surprisingly effective Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez, really stole a lot of scenes by specifically playing it "smaller" when everyone around him is going "big". Waller is effectively played by Viola Davis as the utterly ruthless and calculating Fed she is in the comics and anime. She's actually scarier than the villains in this movie.
The entire first half and a little more of the film is used just to introduce the cast and give their back-stories, while also wasting time (5 times by my count) explaining these characters have been recruited to do a dirty dozen type deal. And it's still not enough time to introduce and explain more than half of the cast, and while you're impatient for the introductions to be over and the mission to begin, you feel something's missing.
It might have been in one of the many scenes shot, re-shot, and re-edited, because there are scenes in the trailers that are no longer in the movie. The second half of the film is structured like a video game with obvious boss battles and checkpoints, and the narrative flow feels disjointed. The ultimate boss fight is actually kind of anticlimactic, except for the El Diablo scenes.
There's really nothing very surprising in the plot, almost everything feels like it's on rails, including the regularly timed throw-away one-liners that did get audience laughs, but didn't add at all to character or story.
I'd give it a "B" overall, though several of the main players gave an "A" performance.
Affleck and Viola have a bonus scene after the credit roll that is a lead-in to Justice League.
Juggalo Justice League?! You know just how to tickle my heart, Mark!
As I try to do with every comic book movie I can (since casting is more important than screenplays nowadays), here is my ranking of all the characters in Suicide Squad. If you'd like an overall opinion of 'Cide Squad from me, I thought it was about as fun as it was stupid; which is the best backhanded compliment I can possibly muster up for it.
I can understand why most movie critics didn't like it, because it would be the equivalent a food critic complimenting a beef quesalupa. But c'mon, you're telling me you've never eaten $14 worth of Taco Bell and felt really satisfied with yourself? No? Well, Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant's Florence Foster Jenkins comes out this weekend. I hope you enjoy it, Professor! [chugs entire bottle of Cotton Candy Faygo in critic's face]
On to the rankings!
1. Harley Quinn
Let's be honest here, at a certain point, everyone making the movie just realized this was going to be the Harley Quinn movie, right? She seemed like the only character the writers were actually having fun with. In addition to that, Margot Robbie seemed like one of the few people who really wanted to be there (unless you count Jared Leto's college theater department performance). True story: a friend of mine told me that his (former?) juggalo sister enjoyed this movie a lot. And I'm not surprised really, considering that Harley Quinn is basically the Juggalo Virgin Mary. ...The Born Again Virgin Mary? ...The Virgin Britney?
What's the last good role Will Smith has done? I just looked up his imdB, and I wanna say... I Am Legend? That was 2007. This is a man who actively turned down an offer from Tarantino to play Django. I think the best career choice he's made in the last decade was *not* to appear in Independence Day: Resurgence. How long can a guy stay A-list while only putting out mediocre work? And look at his family. They are a complete bunch of knobs. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, Deadshot. This was probably the best role Will Smith has taken since 2007. God, do you remember After Earth? What is with this guy?
3. Viola Davis
She played Corporate Badass Person with maximum efficiency, and led the film with good first quarter profits. I don't really know what to say about her, other than she was good at her job. Shut up! You're fired! [presses button to blow up your kidneys]
4. Rick Flag
I liked Rick Flag, because for the blandest white character in the movie, they cast a perfectly bland white actor to play him. Criticizing Joel Kinnaman for a spot on portrayal of a generic white person would be like criticizing a turkey sandwich on white bread for being anything other than it is. You didn't order a spicy buffalo on Italian with jalapeño slices (Oscar Isaac), or a dipped corn beef on marble rye (Michael Fassbender); you ordered the unseasoned chicken breast on a hamburger bun with a slice of American cheese that is Joel Kinnaman. His acting is nothing like the spice his last name almost resembles. So eat it and don't complain about ordering it. If you didn't order the Kinnaman special, you would have gotten Sam Worthington, who is basically a piece of buttered toast with a side of table grapes.
5. Ike Barinholtz
He's ranked high because he already told some funny stories about shooting this movie the last time he was on Stern. Plus, he's one of the only five or six funny people to come out of MADtv. It takes courage to rebound from MADtv.
I liked the character design, and I liked how stupid she was dancing at the end of the movie while she shot special effects out of her hips . I didn't like how she was building a portal to destroy Earth like every other comic book villain of the 2010s, though.
7. Hopper from Stranger Things
He's only in the movie for three minutes, and doesn't even do anything. But did you guys watch Stranger Things? That was a pretty good show.
8. Captain Boomerang
Is his superpower is comic relief...? Listen, I didn't necessarily hate this character, but I did for a brief moment when he threw a high-tech boomerang that had a camera in it feeding visuals back to his iPhone. Why does this drunken lowlife have this technology? Is he a scientist? Did he commission a scientist to build it for him? Why wouldn't the camera spin if it was a boomerang? I just... I just don't know...?
9. Enchantress' Brother
He was certainly there, and he was big, and he had magic tentacles. You can't deny any of that. (admittedly, I loved the shot when he tore apart the subway train)
I feel almost 100% indifferent about this dude.
11. Killer Croc
I'm sure his hilarious jokes were probably part of the "we wanna be more like Deadpool" rewrites. Aside from that, they probably could have made him even more menacing or Hulk like. Felt like kind of a low hanging fruit character. My favorite thing about him was that he was played by the guy who played Adebisi on Oz.
Oh great, here's batman to remind us of how not fun the other DC movies are.
13. Slipknot (the Native American guy)
I didn't know his name until five seconds ago. Neither did you. I only remembered he was in this movie when I double-checked IMDb to see if I missed anyone major for this list.
14. The Joker
I think the worst thing about The Joker (outside of how stupid he looked, because that was the obvious worst), was that I didn't even enjoy the months of hype leading up to the character that I didn't end up liking. And does anyone else wanna call BS on the fact that Jared Leto got second billing in the cast? Even above Margot Robbie. The only thing that makes this character worthwhile is literally imagining the night when Joker goes into a tattoo parlor, and asks the tattoo artist "Ummm, I'd like 'Damaged' written on my forehead, in perfect cursive. Yeah, that would be really cool. People say I'm really crazy, you know. Did you see my hair? And my teeth? I went to a really expensive Miami Beach orthodontist and had him install chrome teeth in my mouth. Hey. Hey. Hey! Why aren't you acknowledging how crazy I am?" "Sir, your wallet chain is caught in the tattoo chair. Please untangle it so I can give you your regrettable tattoo."
Here's a random ninja. She has barely any backstory, she isn't even a bad guy, and she doesn't even fight all that cool. Here's a stupid pointless ninja.
P.S. That Dunkirk trailer was awesome.
Well, what's Harley's super power, other than being psychotic? And providing a lot of Fan Service? Anyway, she nails this.
I liked Will Smith okay in that con-man movie he made, one of the first one cut on FCPx. But while not exactly "phoning it in", he HAS been just playing the very same character in every action movie, it's a formula: 40 percent wry pessimist, 20 percent tortured parental issues, 30 percent imitation bad-assedness, 10 percent Fresh Prince. This is the guy that played Ali. This is the guy from Concussion. I don't know why with his star power he doesn't demand better-written characters to pay.
I'm gonna disagree a bit about Leto's Joker. He has a hard job to do, creating a fresh take that nods towards the Oscar winner's versions before him, without just being a pale imitation. I've heard him called "Hot Topic Joker". That's apt. If you think about the behavior of modern-day gangsters/drug lords, and cross that with the standard Joker origin of bullet to face and acid vat dive, it may very well come out like this; barely-contained chaotic rage coupled with sadistic clown, wrapped up in evil genius with a side of charismatic leadership quality. And I like how they built the chemistry of the relationship between him and Harley, the sense of hostage possession combined with corrupted devoted lover. They're co-dependent as much as they are in whatever their analog of "love" is. You have to (and the audience with me did) applaud a performance where Joker comes off the Romantic Hero and Batman is just a fun-stomping killjoy. That's really nailing a modern, contemporary Joker, if you choose not to go in the same direction as the last actor. I couldn't picture THAT guy creating and "loving" Quinn.
As bad as it sounds, I think I would have enjoyed the Joker more if they went full Tony Montana and literally just showed him doing a mountain of cocaine. Probably wouldn't fly in a PG-13 superhero movie, but I think it would be the tipping point to make me appreciate the character that I didn't otherwise enjoy. That would have been a different take, for sure!
I do like your point about applauding the Joker for being a romantic hero, but then I look at another picture of Jared Leto in his Joker makeup and I lose all interest again.