Man, DC Comics movies, I am rooting for you, but you are not making it easy. But even back then I thought, "Hey, at least 'Suicide Squad' is coming. That looks pretty cool." Well, here we are. And I guess I'm already looking forward to next year.
Man, DC Comics movies, I am rooting for you, but you are not making it easy.
The convoluted and generally joy-free "Batman v. Superman" was lambasted by critics - myself included (if more gently) - even as it went on to make a ton of money in its opening weekend.
Fanboys then lambasted critics for not knowing a good movie, until the movie-going public realized "Batman v. Superman" was, in fact, not a good movie. Its subsequent box office take set records for its sharp drop-off.
But even back then I thought, "Hey, at least 'Suicide Squad' is coming. That looks pretty cool." Well, here we are. And I guess I'm already looking forward to next year.
"Suicide Squad" spins off from a DC comic about a secret kind of "work release" program for DC baddies. Government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, looking like she's wondering what the hell she signed up for) launches a plan to gather the incarcerated supervillains and put them to work for the good (?) guys.
"In a world of flying men and monsters, this is the only way to protect our country," Waller says, sending a Trump-ian shiver down my spine.
We are introduced to the cast of villains in a rapid-fire backstory method. The main players include Deadshot (Will Smith), an inhumanly good sniper-for-hire who also used to be a family man in his previous life.
Fan favorite Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) makes her big-screen debut. She was a former psychiatrist whose work with the Joker (Jared Leto) led her to fall in love with him and eventually join him in both crime and madness.
There are several more baddies turned antihero here - Killer Croc, Boomerang, Diablo et al. - and they are soon asked to gather together to battle a grave threat, under the strict, watchful eye of the government, of course.
OK, there are a lot of moving parts here, but that's also kind of the problem. Writer-director David Ayer (who wrote "Training Day" and "The Fast and the Furious") seems more concerned with setting up his action set pieces than his characters.
The results are manic, dark and, again, generally joyless. Reports that there were reshoots to inject more humor after the success of "Deadpool" seem pretty apt. The vibe is pretty much grimy crime show. The action is almost as unmoving as the characters.
Robbie's Quinn is the obvious standout, as she's the only one who seems to be having any fun and emerges as the only reason to see the movie. Reports of Leto's method-acting Joker shenanigans don't translate to the screen. This one is pretty thoroughly skippable, but "Wonder Woman" looks cool …