Suicide Squad — Not Deadly Boring

Lj and I saw Suicide Squad last night.
Mild spoilers and personal opinions below.
A note on my biases. I was entirely turned off by Man of Steel, and only saw Batman v Superman when it was free on the headrest of the airline seat in front of me… and it was so dull and stupid I nodded off a time or two.
OTOH, the trailers for Suicide Squad looked like fun to me, so I want and saw it.
I enjoyed it a lot. Lj enjoyed it, but not by as much.
It is far from a perfect film. It wants to be the villain version of Avengers, but has even more main characters AND has to introduce them all. It assumes we know who the major DC heroes are, and even some villains, but most of the main characters need enough explanation for us to understand them, and the filmmakers obviously also want us to care about them. That eats into time to actually develop them, and while the more-than-2-hour run time went by quickly, a lot of things felt rushed.
I DID enjoy the arc presented,a nd I thought the actors did great jobs. They were hampered by a script that was uneven in its characterization (more than once characters do something that seems entirely out of character, and while I can tell the movie *thinks* we should know why, any explanation is at best a guess), and motivations and power levels are also inconsistent. Characters prove they are extremely competent, then aren’t, then are again. Threats are stated “If X, then Y!” but logic doesn’t support that claim… and it becomes crucial to the plot.
There are efforts at twists, and about half of them don’t work.
However, there is a lot of good stuff too. I felt the use of modern music to help set the tone and make it feel different from a hero movie with sweeping orchestral scores was brilliant. A few characters came off very well. I can’t help but think if this was the second Suicide Squad movie, a lot of issues with background and characterization would have been solved. As it is, I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Things don’t always go the most obvious direction, which is good (even though the direction they do go is sometimes unsupported). OTOH the movie doesn’t feel like it has to stop and explain every development, and sometimes that works.
It also very much leans on being part of the DCinematic Universe… which I mostly feel works against it instead of for it, though that might be less true in rerun viewing after things like Justice League are out.
There are some problematic elements, the most noteworthy of which is Harley Quinn. She’s a polarizing character, and this portrayal of her tries to walk a tightrope. To me it’s clear there’s a message the movie *wanted* to tell about the abusive relationship she’s in… but that takes a back seat to enjoying sexualizing her and jumping to the action. That’s better than not addressing the issues at all, and it’s not universal in the movie (Amanda Waller, for example, is much more no-nonsense badass than the pin-up version of her we got in both Arrow and the New 52), but I think it’s a fair criticism that the message, if indeed the movie made it, got lost.
On a binary opposable-digit based rating system I give it a thumb’s up, while acknowledging it has issues, and some folks will hate it, and I think a lot of them will hate it for entirely fair and reasonable issues.
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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a developer for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, the project manager for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on August 5, 2016, in Geek Movie Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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