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    Suicide Squad (2016): Movie Review

    "A delightful mess and so-so addition to DC cinematic world.”

    After months of wacky candy-colored campaigns, there is much to be expected from writer-director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Disappointingly, the film is slightly nonsensical, partly preposterous, mostly bleak, and largely muddled. Yet, unlike the other movies featuring the DC Universe, it is less serious, less tedious, and more fun. 

    Suicide Squad picks up after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. With Superman’s demise, and while Bruce Wayne is busy assembling his superteam, American intelligence honcho Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) comes up with an unlikely idea in fighting the next meta-human threat – that is to gather a band of elite villains and criminals. She successfully sells her idea to the higher authorities but ironically, she also awakens the biggest danger to the fictional Midway City.

    The film starts with a huge potential that it never quite able to fully harness. Its first act, actually an extended prologue, remains to be the movie’s strongest point. In fear of an evil that is vaguely described or explained, Waller organizes the manic squad. Such introductions were cool and witty. There’s precise America sniper Deadshot (Will Smith) whose estranged relationship with his wife and only daughter keeps him living, over-the-top crazy Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) whose obsessive affection for Joker (Jared Leto) is both admirable and damnable, and fire-welding Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who is hindered and haunted by a tragic past. Leading the team is Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who is married to psychologist Dr. June Moon (Cara Delevingne) whose alter-ego, thanks to a cursed ancient artifact, is an omnipotent witch goddess called as Enchantress.
    Joining this hodgepodge team of government-commissioned fighters and lawless menace-makers are leather-skinned Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), master thief Boomerang (Jai Courtney), sword expert Katana, and easy-climber Slipknot who gets an instant death. The vignettes of different characters hold out so much promise but once they are assembled, the film becomes confused and uncertain of what to do with them. Hence, it created the ultimate threat from one of its own characters so that the others have something to fight against. Such plot is reminiscent of Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron where Iron-Man has to create Ultron in order to justify their own existence.

    With the first act overloaded with preambles, the rest of the film continues to develop these back stories to a point that they become cumbersome, redundant, and cheesy. They become forced, and so does the unnecessary sacrifice of some personae. And when the mess ends, it remains just as irrational as in the beginning.

    Despite the cluttered storyline, the other elements of the film work brilliantly. Choreography is suspenseful with a dark set to match with. Scoring is clever, especially the use of olden classic hits. The cast is mostly lovable. Smith, Hernandez, and Kinnaman all bring different depth and ardor to their characters. Delevingne is captivating as always despite her ridiculous ritual dances in many parts of the movie. But it is Robbie and Leto who steal the show. They are the two liveliest figures and together, they make such an infectiously captivating couple. Sadly, Joker is underwritten and instead of being established as an iconic lead villain in the DC Universe, it feels he is just a special guest who brings occasional shower of wit and merriment.

    Suicide Squad suffers from DC’s hurried efforts to catch up with Marvel Cinematic Universe. While its first half is intriguing and overstuff, the remainder of the film is messy and directionless. It loses its initial creative touch and forces the narrative to be pertinent and moving. However, it is still fun and enjoyable. Who says chaos can’t be fun? 

    Distributor: Warner Bros.
    Production: Atlas Entertainment 
    Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Adam Beach, Common, Karen Fukuhara, David Harbour, Jim Patrick, Alex Meraz, Corina Calderon 
    Director: David Ayer
    Screenwriter: David Ayer, based on characters from DC Entertainment 
    Producers: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle 
    Executive producers: Zack Snyder, Colin Wilson, Geoff Johns, Steven Mnuchin
    Director of photography: Roman Vasyanov
    Production designer: Oliver Scholl
    Costume designer: Kate Hawley
    Editor: John Gilroy
    Music: Steven Price


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