Sunday, August 28, 2016

Suicide Squad (2016) Review:

Ever since Marvel Studios began expanding their films into more shared universes, a trend has begun to follow among other production companies. The most obvious of competitors would be Warner Bros. DC but there are others. Another franchise that is supposedly expanding its cinematic universe is Michael Bay's Transformers (2007) franchise. The concept is a common thing now among high-end money making movie properties. However this is no secret for Warner Brothers. After losing their chance to reinvigorate their universe with Green Lantern (2011), DC tried again with Man of Steel (2013) and finally brought themselves back from a long period of dormancy. So in order to catch up to Marvel's output, the next choice was making Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It certainly brought the studio up to speed but whom are they fooling? There were a lot of missteps taken to get there. Adding to that is this movie which promisingly looked like DC's Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), but with villains. Sadly this was not as great as one would hope.

Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot & Capt. Boomerang
This is actually rather shocking considering the cast and crew involved. Crediting himself as writer/director is David Ayer, the same man who headed praiseworthy projects like End of Watch (2012) and Fury (2014). The story is based on the comic about Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruiting the worst villains from Arkham Asylum to fight what the regular military would or could not defeat. That means bringing on Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Capt. Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), June Moone AKA Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Slipknot (Adam Beach) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara) under the command of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to take down a powerful force that only they can stop. Meanwhile on the side, the Joker (Jared Leto) is up to no good  looking to find a way to break his joker queen out of the iron grasp of Amanda Waller. Initially this sounds fine but the story lacks structure.

Close to the start, the conflict begins and the suicide squad is sent out to pacify it. Yet before this even happens, Amanda Waller assembled them to take care of a different reason. This different reason is completely dropped once the main struggle arises. So what was the original mission they were going to be sent on? It's never answered. Either that or editor John Gilroy put the scenes in the wrong order. And Gilroy has been the editor to a number of popular films like Salt (2010) and Pacific Rim (2013). So what gives? Along with that are some backstories that are briefly skimmed over. Why? This film has a two hour run time; Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has the exact same. Nonetheless even with these written issues, the actors perform well in their roles and are likable to a certain degree. Some of them even have more human backstories than one would expect. The costume/character designs are also commendable. For once, these characters have some color in their suits and aren't so dark and brooding like Bats or Sups.

Speaking of which, Ben Affleck as the caped crusader does have a few scenes throughout the movie. Is it worth it? Sort of from a narrative standpoint but in other ways it just feels like Batman was put in to have more people view the film. The action at least entertains for the most part as well. Deadshot’s ability to be precise in every round he shoots is awesome. Katana use of the sword is sharper than your average kitchen knife (of course). El Diablo knows how to heat up people's nights with his powers and Harley Quinn's gymnastic acrobatics certainly make her a special addition. Regrettably this does not make up for the sections that have CGI overload. Thankfully it does not get as bad as Batman V Superman with its almost PS2 gameplay like cut scenes, but there are still unnecessary moments. Whether it's the adversary the suicide squad has to fight against or even if it's digitally editing Harley Quinn to have booty shorts. It just seems like wasted amounts where this particular effect is abused for the wrong reasons.

"Get me my Task Force X"
Roman Vasyanov was chosen to provide the cinematography to this picture. Vasyanov also worked with Ayer on End of Watch (2012) and Fury (2014). This shows that Vasyanov knows how to make great or accurate looking movies. Fury (2014) had great looking camerawork and End of Watch (2012) made the viewer feel like they were in the movie. None of that's shown here. It's strange too. With all the colorful personalities and costumes, one would think that this movie would have brighter images to show. There are about 2-3 scenes that have daylight in them. Every other scene is in the dark or it's raining. All it does is remind the viewer of how gloomy looking the previous Zack Snyder DC films were presented. It's frustrating. Composing the film score to this movie was Steven Price, another David Ayer collaborator. Price's work is another disappointment. Unlike his past work in films like Fury (2014), there is no reoccurring theme for the suicide squad. And this is the perfect time to establish one for them. But that wasn't done.

Unlike what one would expect, this David Ayer film has its moments due to its cast, action and part of its writing, but that's all it can be given. The music isn't memorable, the camerawork doesn't match the colorful characters or tone and the overall plot doesn't make sense for a two-hour film.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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