Friday, August 5, 2016

Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

     Suicide Squad follows the story of a band of supervillains: Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Slipknot (Adam Beach), recruited by CIA agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to go on a mission to defeat a mystical evil that plans to threaten human existence in exchange for their freedom.

    The biggest saving grace within this film that I could find is Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Granted, Viola Davis is good in everything that she's in. But she managed to salvage some life out of this mess of a film with her performance.

    With all due respect to Davis, though, the performance I was the most excited to see was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn because it was the first time we get to see the character up on the big screen and Robbie was my personal choice for the role. She does what she can with the material she is given because Harley Quinn unfortunately isn't given a whole lot of face time due to there being too many characters to focus on.

    Also, Jay Hernandez managed to do what he could with what he was given as El Diablo and in my opinion was the co-MVP along with Viola Davis. Despite being saddled with cheap mechanisms from the script, he did his best to make it work.

    Yeesh, where do I begin? Well, there are way too many characters. As a result, there is a good portion that are underdeveloped with only a few given more face time than others. Will Smith is given the most face time which to me was problematic. Because he has such a big personality on-screen, I felt it overshadowed the rest of the cast. Another actor given a huge chunk of face time is Joel Kinnaman, who plays Rick Flagg, a CIA operative assigned to keep watch on the Suicide Squad and I honestly didn't think his performance was very strong.

    I also wasn't a fan of how most of the female characters were given the short end of the stick with them being hypersexualized and/or unable to exist without a male influence. If Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation were real and saw how the women were portrayed in this film, she'd have an absolute heart attack. It is nice that we have more main female characters in a superhero film than usual. I just wish they were given more dignity.

    I applaud the film in general for the representation in its cast. But I felt that there was unfortunate tokenism involved. For example, you have El Diablo, a Latino gangster covered in tattoos, Rick Flagg's mostly mute henchwoman Katana who is a mystical Asian swordswoman, and Slipknot, the token Indigenous character who (*spoiler alert*) gets killed off as soon as he gets introduced. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, because I love seeing representation in film. But I just don't like seeing it in this manner.

    Next is the screenplay. One thing about it I didn't like was how manipulative it was. When we learn about the backstories about some of the villains and how they had or have families, I felt it was used as a cheap ploy to gain sympathy from its audience. I know that these main characters are villains and are said to be the "worst of the worst," but they don't have to be likable to gain our attention. All they have to be is characters. Characters with personalities, development, and dignity yet half of these characters don't have any personality and I could not have cared less what happened to them.

    Lastly, for a film marketed to be so high octane and packed with action, I did not expect it to be so. damn. BORING!! Seriously, right before the big climax, I actually said to myself "What is this, a play? Let's go fight someone." Towards the end, when things start to actually kick into high gear, I could not have cared less and it's a shame because I was really looking forward to this.

    Overall, Suicide Squad is a colossal disappointment filled with undignified, underdeveloped characters, a jumbled script with cheap mechanisms, and a sadly slow pace. This is the biggest disappointment I've seen all year.

Grade: D+