‘Suicide Squad’ earns more confusion than congratulations

Since the start of the comic book movie sibling rivalry, Marvel has always been the big brother beating up on little brother DC. The DC universe is constantly hoping its next movie will be the one that finally punches back.

Unfortunately, for DC and comic book movie fans alike, they’re still swinging in the dark.

While it has some redeeming comic book movie qualities, Suicide Squad is overwhelmingly disorganized in a way that makes it confusing and difficult to enjoy for the movie fan.

When I say disorganized I’m talking Harley Quinn schizophrenia disorganized. I felt like I was watching a season of cable TV, only I was skipping episodes along the way.

It also felt like I was dropped into the middle of Game of Thrones season 4 with all the characters Suicide Squad asks me to follow. The Avengers works so well for Marvel because it has multiple stand-alone origin films leading up to the bigger production. Suicide Squad has at least two, probably three, characters who earn the stand-alone movie. All I got was a 10-second flash bio before I’m expected to jump in and love a character.

I want to be clear here — I think the film has a writing problem (David Ayer) more than an actor problem. Still a problem, nonetheless. Also, as a comic book movie lover, there are parts of Suicide Squad I truly enjoy. I just don’t think the non-superhero junkie would think the same.

Boomerang (Jai Courtney) is lost in the film. Diablo (Jay Hernandez) seems like an awesome character, but his story isn’t told until 90 minutes into the movie. He does have a pretty big battle scene toward the end of the movie, which is fun to watch. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) is noticeably overacted, especially during the end battle scene.

Then there’s Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Killer Croc is so poorly done he gets his own paragraph. Suicide Squad, as a whole, has a bunch of one-liners that simply don’t land. Killer Croc is the main culprit of that. The biggest laugh he got in the theater was after a one-liner intended to be cool, not funny. Other than that a lot of the reaction was “oh my god.” The look of the character is unique and well done, but he can be hard to understand at times.

Unfortunately, the character confusion wasn’t limited to our beloved super-villains. I think there were 3 1/2-ish antagonists in the film, but Suicide Squad jumps back and forth on its stories and again makes it difficult to follow. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) plays a bit of a Nick Fury role, but she seems to be against the Suicide Squad. I don’t want that.

Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and Incubus (Alain Chanoine) clearly become the main villain, so credit where credit is due. Delevingne also plays Rick Flag’s love interest as June Moone, and plays the split personality well. Incubus is a worthy villain, though he wasn’t really in the film as much as I would have liked.

Now for the most disheartening part of my review. I was really underwhelmed by Jared Leto‘s Joker. Both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger are phenomenal as the character, by making it their own and bringing a unique personality. Leto’s rendition is closer to a watered-down version of Ledger’s take. The Joker isn’t in the film enough for me, and when he is he’s not making an impact.

Suicide Squad redeeming qualities!

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far in the review. Your reward is redeeming qualities about the movie. I’ll start exactly where you expect me to — with Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie is twisted, funny, and cute all rolled into one. You can tell right from her first scene she nails the role. Harley grabs the audience every time she’s on screen and overshadows her co-stars in the best way possible. She actually sets a really good tone for the film out of the gate.

Now where you might not have expected me to go — Will Smith does a really nice job as Deadshot. His humor is dry, which is what I like, and he generates the most hits with the one-liners. Deadshot also has the most backstory told in the film, so he’s easy to follow and get behind. It’s clear Deadshot is the leader of the Suicide Squad, and he does a good job carrying that torch for me.

Now I’ve said some not-so-great things about Suicide Squad here. I should also mention, if you’re tapped into the DC comic book world you will probably enjoy the film more. You must have gotten more of a backstory than I did. Admittedly, I’m not part of that crowd, so my reaction is what it is.  If you’re in the same boat as me, I can only wish you good luck.

(Image courtesy of ibtimes.com)

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About Steve Richards

First and foremost, I love anything Philly sports; that includes the Phillies, Sixers, Eagles, Flyers and Union (that’s a soccer team). I’m also a fan of the English Premier League squad Manchester City. In the college ranks, I follow the football, basketball, and baseball teams of both Penn State and the University of Texas. I work for SportsNetworker.com, where I am the COO. I also cover a variety of high school sports for The Reporter and PaPrepLive.com as a freelance writer. On the broadcast journalism side of things I'm a co-host of the Prime Time Fantasy Football and Showcast podcasts on Next Level Radio. You can check that out right here. You'll also find me on Twitter discussing a multitude of things. Feel free to give me a follow over there.
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