Director: David Ayers
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Cara Delvigne, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney
To be honest, I went into this with rather low expectations, having seen all the prior reviews as to how it was average, or even bad. Too bad for the critics, it made its money back.
DC movies have gotten a bad rap lately. Batman vs Superman got a lot of criticism for bad writing, but I think it's down to a lot of audiences having a higher expectation of super hero movies, given how good the Captain America/Avengers line of movies have been (and will continue to do so until 2019). Then you get into the spits and spats about the sexism regarding the portrayal of Harley Quinn, because apparently Margot Robbie gets a lot of flak for just about anything and everything these days. And of all the things that gets people up and going- it's bike shorts, for crying out loud.
That aside, I finally got a chance to catch it a few days after all the critics had slammed it down. Firstly- it's worth giving the critical criticism brain component a little rest and enjoy the explosions and the gung ho action for this one.
In the DC universe, the Suicide Squad is an unofficial government black ops unit composed of supervillains who are given leniency in their sentences in return for doing the dirty, secret and more often than not, dangerous, work- which is the case here. In-universe it is a way to explain why supervillains keep getting released Batman and the likes have worked hard to release them.
The film oozes old-fashioned masculinity, even by the standards of superhero films. It starts off with the introduction of our supervillains/heroes-for-this-one-occasion, and are recruited for the task- Deadshot (Will Smith), a hitman that never misses, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, the psychotic girlfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto), and joining them is stereotypically Australian Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) an- To stop the Enchantress (Cara Delvigne) (The DC version has got nothing on the Marvel character of the same name), who has released an ancient, malevolent spirit that has possessed her and seeks to dominate the world under her rule.
And that's pretty much about it. Characters are pretty underdone (or rather, not enough time could be devoted- but there are other movies for that sort of stuff), and some are just there to fill the screen and be badass (or in the case of one, briefly introduced and swiftly terminated), which is the whole point of the thing. But where it matters, the action set pieces work, if not all the time, and each non-action scene just feels like an excuse to jump back into the action again.
So plonk down on the cushion-y mainstream cinema chairs, relax and enjoy the adrenaline-charged romp. Overall it's pretty meh.
Movie criticism seems to have degraded by massive degrees ever since Roger Ebert passed away. When Roger Ebert was around to review movies (and let's not forget our own Margaret Pomeranz), the profession of the movie critic was held with a lot of respect- there was something about Ebert's reviews that was well written, clear, and respectful, unless the movie was terrible in which well-worded, and almost poetic insults towards the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the film makers. Roger Ebert's words determined the success and failure of hundreds upon hundreds of movies.
This day and age, a lot of movie criticism is often tying itself up with the politics of the times- particularly with the Ghostbusters saga (which turned out to not the cause the fall of the sky, but just as forgettable as Suicide Squad was), where criticism of it was largely drowned out by nerds from one end howling about the remake and ragging on all the critics that gave decent reviews as paid Sony shills (a film critic friend wishes that he got remunerated in such a manner), and on the other end of the pond shutting down honest criticism with cries of sexism and what not. Of all the things that gets people (did I say people? By people I mean Americans) worked up, it's a silly blockbuster- a good sign that the West has it too good, and to use a certain parlance, and only in this instance- check their (material) privilege.