Suicide Squad clearly wasn’t the home-run the DCEU needed as demonstrated by both critics and some audiences but although it is very flawed, particularly with the screenplay, I still found it enjoyable if only to see some iconic characters sharing wonderful chemistry.
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy
Warner Bros. | PG13/Unrated – 123 min. / 134 min. – $44.95 | December 13, 2016
Date Published: 12/06/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Note: This review contains some MAJOR SPOILERS so readers beware!
Suicide Squad marks the third movie in the much maligned DC Extended Universe series and while there were certainly issues, on my second viewing (first being in theaters), I have to admit, I enjoyed it, though primarily for a few of the characters more so than the plot or dialogue.
The story focuses on a government project named “Task Force X” developed by uber-spook Amanda Waller (VIOLA DAVIS) who plans to using the worst of the worst in order to combat other evil meta-humans in case they ever encounter a Superman who wasn’t so friendly.
This task force is comprised of:
Each one is implanted with an explosive device in their necks with a trigger at the hands of special ops GI Joe man Rick Flagg (JOEL KINNAMAN); with the push of a button, with nice pictures to boot, their heads will be blown off, as demonstrated by one member, but I won’t reveal who… In the mix, is archeologist Dr. June Moon (CARA DELEVINGE) who, during an expedition, falls into the wrong cave at the wrong time, opening some kind of sacred doll, it unleashes a spirit which possesses Moon’s body and becomes Enchantress. Waller, though, thinks she has Enchantress under control finding her heart and holding it hostage. An extra layer of control, she manipulates Flagg to fall for Moon and thus Waller now has Flagg under her thumb. Also included in this circus Katana (KAREN FUKUHARA) who is there to protect Flagg from the others. Oh, and she has a sword that captures the souls of those she kills as explained in one of the more awkward pieces of exposition, though we do get a flashback for her at least.
We don’t even get a training/bonding montage before Task Force X is called into action when some kind of spiritual entity attacks a subway in Midway City. But unbeknownst to anyone, this entity was conjured by Enchantress and is in fact her brother. No idea what his name is because he’s only referred to as “brother,” one of the bigger fallacies of this film: weak, underdeveloped villains.
Soon enough, the Squad is dropped, well crashes, and encounter monster globs, called EAS (Eyes of the Adversary) created by Enchantress as her army (not to mention eyes) while an ultimate weapon is created, I guess out of thin air, to wipe out our defenses worldwide. But the crew has another goal and that’s to rescue a high-level VIP, namely Amanda Waller herself, trapped in a building near where Enchantress and company are stationed.
We do get some interaction with the Task Force, some butting of heads especially between Deadshot and Flagg, Harley does her thing manipulating people oh and her Puddin’, aka The Joker, desperately wants her back and will do anything to rescue her going so far as get the codes to deactivate her neck bomb. Intercut with this main plot, there are flashbacks showing us how The Joker and Harley’s messed up relationship came to be including a dive of faith into a vat of chemicals.
Suicide Squad was written and directed by David Ayer and while generally his writing has been solid, even in the frenetic Sabotage, it wasn’t so sharp this go around where dialogue ranged from stilted to overly cheesy even by comic book adaptation standards. The plot itself was fine, if not a bit X-Men-y with a villain wanting meta-humans (mutants) to reclaim their rightful place but the villains themselves were weak that even a short 5-minute prologue scene, taking place in the distant past, showing them being worshiped would’ve been beneficial to the story. Another drawback, with such a colorful ensemble, some characters get left by the wayside (Killer Croc the biggest casualty) while others shine bright. On the plus side, the Caped Crusader (BEN AFFLECK) does make a few appearances as does a certain speedster.
However, in spite of all of those negatives, admittedly I had a fun time watching it. Yes, it’s fluff action-adventure material yet with the likes of Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney’s Boomerang and, one of the bigger surprises, Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo who probably has the only character arc of the group, they do help pass the time and mask any issues with the screenplay. Then there’s Jared Leto’s Joker. Even after two viewings, I’m still unsure what to think of his interpretation which is a cross of 1930s gangster with modern day emo (really could’ve done without the facial tats) but I give some leeway being now the fourth live action theatrical version and following Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance. So I do give some props to Leto for tackling such an iconic role and yet the design was a bit much, but at least he did have one creepy ass laugh.
In the end, the DCEU is still looking for a great feature film (though I did love the Ultimate Edition of Batman v. Superman but I’m in the minority), and certainly Suicide Squad did suffer from more studio interference in their attempts to quickly move away from the dark and gritty tone (from what I read, this went under major color correction to brighten it up), yet I still found it to be entertaining especially as a DC fan.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Also included is a Blu-ray disc containing the Extended Cut which runs about 13-minutes longer as well as a separate Blu-ray with the Theatrical Version (the 3D Blu-ray has the theatrical version only). There’s a fair amount of featurettes totaling 83 minutes.
Task Force X: One Team, One Mission (23:08; HD) — This featurette reveals the legacy behind Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg and the rest of the crew. Includes a variety of interviews with the cast (Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, etc.) and crew (David Ayer, Geoff Johns, etc) and some behind-the-scenes footage and concept artwork.
Chasing the Real (9:37; HD) showcases the sense of reality brought forth by Ayer focusing on authentic street-level grittiness and emphasizing each character’s unique style and abilities.
Joker & Harley: “It” Couple of the Underworld (14:29; HD) — Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and others discuss the complex, and popular, relationship between the pair of iconic characters.
Squad Strength and Skills (9:00; HD) looks at the sometimes intense training the Squad went through in preparation for their roles. Includes “immersive training” footage and other behind-the-scenes video of the actors training.
Armed to the Teeth (11:48; HD) examines the weaponry used in the film for each individual character (i.e. Harley’s bat and revolver, Boomerangs, well, boomerangs, etc.).
This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad (10:54; HD) is a featurette focusing on the physical techniques and CGI to create the various action scenes.
The Squad Declassified (4:16; HD) is a short, EPK-like, featurette breaking down Task Force X and their battle in Midway City and the EAS (Eyes of the Adversary).
Gag Reel (2:04; HD)
3D BD VIDEO — 4.75/5, BD VIDEO — 4.5/5
|Warner Brothers unleashes Suicide Squad onto 3D Blu-ray presented in the film’s original 2.40 theatrical aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition resolution. I tried thinking back to seeing this in 3D in theaters and based on my recollection, as with the audio covered later, pretty much matches. There are several objects that fly off the screen (such as Boomerang’s pink unicorn) and the depth is pretty good be it the general fight sequences or on the rooftop with the chopper crashes. Because the film already is bright, it lends for a vivid looking picture even in 3D.
Meanwhile, the Blu-ray disc, containing the Extended Cut, has a 1080p high-definition transfer and also 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. This one still looks good and while it’s not as sharp compared to the UHD disc, colors at least are still bright and have a nice pop even on the small big screen.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The disc comes with a robust and sometimes aggressive Dolby Atmos track (decodes to TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) that is quite impressive providing for crisp and clear dialogue levels through the center channel but the best part is with the numerous action sequences which encompasses each and every available channel. The LFE track adds some extra depth to this lossless, and excellent, track.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Suicide Squad clearly wasn’t the homerun the DCEU needed as demonstrated by both critics and some audiences but with a $745 million worldwide haul it was a moderate success for the studio though I hope with Geoff Johns in full control of DC Entertainment that the quality will increase for future endeavors. As for this one, although it is very flawed, particularly with the screenplay, I still found it enjoyable if only to see some iconic characters sharing wonderful chemistry.
The 3D BD released through Warner Home Video offers great video and excellent audio transfers and a good selection of features for fans to peruse.
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT SCREEN CAPTURES
(as always, there may be spoilers)