Saturday, August 6, 2016

In Theatres: Suicide Squad (2016)

"The Dirty Dozen" has nothing on the "Suicide Squad".

The one common thread between the two movies is that the teams are comprised of criminals. In the case of DC's "Suicide Squad", most of the villains have super powers or enhanced abilities.

Take, for example, psychologist-turned-villain-turned-anti-hero Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, "The Legend of Tarzan"). Having fallen in love with the Joker (Jared Leto), Quinn (nee Harleen Quinzel) takes a trust fall into the same chemical bath that gave the Clown Prince of Crime his bleached skin (though it's not quite as prominent, which we'll get to later), as shown in one of several flashbacks. Concerned for his lady, Joker dives in after her, a rare show of compassion from "Mistah J".

Compassion and a moral code seem to be the weaknesses that ultimately bond El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Deadshot (Will Smith) together. Diablo accidentally killed his family in a violent rage, and is trying to reform. Deadshot has a young daughter he wants to reconnect with who is also fully cognizant of what her father does for a living. If you wondered why Smith was cast as Deadshot, well, he has some of the more unintentionally funny moments in the movie, showing flashes of his former persona as the "Fresh Prince". It's amazing how none of his songs were on the retro-driven soundtrack, which runs the gamut from the Animals ("House of the Rising Sun") and Lesley Gore ("You Don't Own Me") to Eminem, whose "Without Me" includes a callback to a certain 1966 DC Comics TV series.

While Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) is the field leader, he in turn, along with the Squad, answers to Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder). Flag has fallen hard for another doctor, Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevigne), the human hostess of the Enchantress, who is the film's central villain. Small wonder, then, that Enchantress had broken away from the rest of the team, but that detail is called back late in the film, a result of hasty last minute edits that would explain away the critics' general distaste for the movie.

Part of the reason for that seems to be that someone at WB and/or DC, not specifically Geoff Johns or Zack Snyder, just had to insert Batman (Ben Affleck) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) into the mix at the last minute. As the movie clocks in just under 2 hours, it seems, also, that there is more that might've been left on the cutting room floor that would fill out the story. There is a set-up for the inevitable sequel and/or a spin-off centering on the leggy Harley (who will likely start sporting fishnet stockings in the comics real soon, if not already) and Joker.

The weakest link in the movie, surprisingly, is Joker. Those of you who weren't fond of the Rastafarian look given to the Clown Prince of Crime in the 2003-8 The Batman cartoon might not dig the punk rocker (i.e. tattoos) look Jared Leto is sporting. Yes, Harley has some tats on her pretty face, too, but y'think maybe the boys are not paying attention to that? Margot Robbie is given much more to do here than was the case last month in "Legend of Tarzan", and you'll see in the trailer, there is something that was left out of the final product......

Speaking of trailers, the package with this movie includes:

"Hands of Stone" (August 26): Robert DeNiro and Usher co-star in a bio of Roberto Duran. Usher plays Sugar Ray Leonard.

"War Dogs", also out later this month. Two wise guys become arms dealers in the most improbable way.

"The Magnificent Seven". The American retelling of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" is being remade.

"Dunkirk": The latest from Christopher Nolan.

"The Great Wall": Matt Damon in China.

"Wonder Woman": Gal Gadot goes solo. The trailer is already online.

"Suicide Squad" has defied the haters, despite the flaws.

Rating: B+.

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