Sunday, 28 August 2016

Suicide Squad (4 Stars)

Best. Film Poster. Ever.

Yes, I do love this poster. It's so cool, The mixture of psychedelic art and photography is just perfect. Having said that, I have to admit that the quality of the film itself doesn't live up to the artwork.

When I compare Marvel and DC on the screen, I have a fixed opinion. Marvel makes the best films, DC makes the best TV series. Usually when I say that to my friends it starts an argument. They're quick to name good and bad examples to contradict me. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general I consider myself right. Look at the absolutely brilliant films Marvel has made in recent years: for instance, the Iron Man trilogy, the Captain America films and "Guardians of the Galaxy". What has DC done that even comes close? The Superman films were poor. The Dark Knight trilogy was good, I admit, but it didn't reach the level of the Marvel films.

Then look at DC's recent TV series: to take just three examples, "Smallville", "Arrow" and "Gotham". They are all perfect in their own ways. "Daredevil" is very good, but it doesn't reach the level of "Arrow". "Jessica Jones" is disappointing, while "Agents of SHIELD" has a lot of promise but is uneven, some episodes succeeding better than others.

It's difficult for me to write about "Suicide Squad" without giving away spoilers, but I'll try to do my best. It's about a team of super villains assembled by a government agent, Amanda Waller, to tackle extreme threats to America and the rest of mankind. It's called a suicide squad because the members are expendable; they're criminals that nobody would miss if they died.

As in all team films, the problem is to introduce all the characters and still leave time for the rest of the film. "Suicide Squad" is less successful than "The Avengers" in introducing the characters before the action starts. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are presented in great detail, whereas Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang are merely background characters who seem to be tagging along for the ride. When they finally did something my reaction was, "Oh, they're still here?" Colonel Rick Flag, the army man who leads the Suicide Squad into battle, seems like a superfluous babysitter. It's not until late in the film that he starts to reveal some of his personality, but by then the audience already wishes he were dead.

An irony in the film is that the first threat that the Suicide Squad has to deal with is caused by a supernatural being, the Enchantress, that Amanda Waller wanted to use in the team. The question is, would the squad have been needed if she hadn't caused problems by creating the squad? This irony would have strengthened the film if it had been developed, but by ignoring it it seems more like a plot hole.

The film's greatest strength is Harley Quinn, as most critics have been quick to point out. Her brand of insanity makes her immediately likeable. There are already talks of a second Suicide Squad film, but rather than do that there should just be a Harley Quinn spin off. Preferably without the Joker, because this film's incarnation of the Joker, as played by Jared Leto, is the weakest on-screen version ever. He pales in comparison to Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger.

I watched the film dubbed into German, as is typical for foreign films shown in Germany. I was greatly impressed by Harley Quinn's German voice, which completely expressed the character's madness, maybe even more perfectly than the original actress, Margot Robbie. The German voice was provided by the politician Anne Helm, pictured above, who is best known from providing Anna Kendrick's voice in German films. She did an excellent job, proving that German dubbing is the best in the world.

This is a much better film than this year's "Batman vs Superman", but DC still has a long way to go to catch up with Marvel. Even the computer generated special effects in the final scenes weren't up to Marvel's standards. DC should consider giving up films and sticking to what it does best: television series.


  1. You're a charitable man Mike.

    1. Yes. I must admit that it was one of those films that I read a lot about and the whole stupidity of the plot ruined the whole film. I was hoping for an amazing character or two to turn things around but I feel as though everyone was dealing with an appalling screenplay. I'm amazed that it's made so much at the box office since the critics and word of mouth audiences have pretty much guillotined it.

    2. I felt that Deadshot and Harley Quinn saved the film from being an absolute disaster. I've never liked Will Smith, but this was one of his better performances. The rest of the characters, good or bad, were people we (the audience) didn't care about.

    3. Is it true that word of mouth audiences hated it? Most of the people I've spoken to loved it. One friend of mine has even been to see it three times so far. There's something about the film that pleases the fans.

      The plot isn't bad at all. Bad guys saving the world is very good as an idea. Not completely original, it's a variation of "Assault on Precinct 13", but an idea doesn't have to be original to be good. The screenplay was reasonable, but didn't do the plot justice. My main criticism of the film is the lack of character development. Diabalo the fire guy should have been better built up. Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang needed a lot more work to let the audience get inside their heads. That ninja chick Katana was totally unnecessary. The most pointless character was the Joker. It seemed like he was just thrown in because DC fans expected to see him. He should have been left out altogether, apart from maybe a cameo at the end when he freed her from jail.

    4. The bad guys being released to roam is just stupid, are they supposed to police themselves into not killing innocent people or going rogue? Also the quote overused in the trailers, about who would stop Superman if he chose to rip off the roof of the white house, is a stupid premise to setting up the squad. The group would not touch superman as they are all quite weak.

    5. I thought the repeated reminder that 'we're the bad guys' is such poor writing that it's downright insulting to the audience. It is a very stupid film.


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