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.