SUICIDE SQUAD KILLS IT WITH ACTION, FAILS AT PLOT

Nikita Pinto, III Year B.A. English

Stellaeidoscope Rating: 7.5/10

How does one make a movie about bad, irredeemable characters while reducing the darkness surrounding them? The answer: lace it with a little humour. That is what Suicide Squad is all about- fun, fun and more fun. As much as that sounds tiring, without any actual grimness, Suicide Squad manages to almost pull it off. Almost.

Set against a peppy-dark soundtrack with songs by Twenty One Pilots, Eminem and Imagine Dragons, the movie stirs up plenty of emotions but fails to provide a proper execution of the plot. In fact, that is Suicide Squad’s biggest problem – the storytelling. Suicide Squad is like a poorly aimed arrow (or in this case, a boomerang) that soars high, and then falls, missing its target, a result of the plot holes and poor CGI effects. But, there is some sunshine to all this madness, in the form of show stopper Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie.

Robbie as Harley Quinn is refreshing in a plot that is quite loose. Harley brings the crazy while proving that she is indeed the hero of this film, literally. If it wasn’t for her, there is no telling how Suicide Squad would have fared at the Box Office. Her character is one that has been previously unexplored on the big screen. Normally, the Joker is the one that takes the centre stage in the comics, animated films, TV shows and in live-action films. In Suicide Squad however, the Joker is pushed to the fringes while Harley dominates, winning the hearts of the audience.

Unfortunately, Harley’s portrayal is not all praise. It is Mad Love indeed between her and the Joker but their relationship is far from the true depiction in the comics that shows the abusive, sadistic and sexist treatment endured by her for the sake of love. Sure, there are bits and pieces in the film that give you a glimpse into the dark side of their relationship, but the disturbing quality of their love is not effectively portrayed. Effective portrayal is where the film lacks overall. With the exception of Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller, the potential of the characters are not fully and truly explored, with the most disappointing one being that of Slipknot, who lasts for a mere two minutes in the film.

Jared Leto was tasked with a near-impossible task, to surpass Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. Does he succeed? It is hard to say with the number of deleted scenes of the Joker in Suicide Squad. As the animated film Assault on Arkham proved, the Joker, like Batman, is essential to any Suicide Squad story. He can either act as the wrench in squad’s plans or help them out in their mission. Leto’s Joker is the right amount of menacing and scary in his mobster persona.

On the plus side, the flashback and “future” dream sequences have become a trademark of Zack Snyder (as seen in Batman V Superman) and these flashbacks or flash-forwards, tricky as they are, help the plot move forward in Suicide Squad. However, a common problem that many fans have noticed is that DC attempts to weave together various scenes from different comics and storylines, instead of sticking to just one, resulting in a chaotic portrayal. Sure, they act as fun Easter Eggs but to the common viewer, they ultimately result in confusion and therefore create feelings of distaste.

The entire Enchantress subplot lacks conviction and only enflames ridicule. The scene where Enchantress does her whole belly-dance routine while casting spells is weird enough. The fact that she does all of that while Task Force X fights her minions and receives crazy visions of what could be if they join the dark side does not create a scene of seriousness but that of amusement. The poor delivery of Enchantress only drags the film down.

So what’s worth watching in this film if it only creates disappointment? Plenty, actually. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is one to watch. The award-winning actress captures the essence of the ruthless Waller who plays God and makes you even wonder who the real villain is. Marvel can in fact learn a few things from DC when it comes to the portrayal of female characters. Strong females in the Marvel films are clearly lacking. DC however, is paving the way for bold, fierce and even crazy women, that each stand out on their own instead of being supporting characters, like Katana, Amanda Waller, Enchantress, Harley Quinn and soon, Wonder Woman.

With such a large assemble of characters, it is indeed difficult to allot equal screen time to every character, but the movie manages to strike a balance by showing the human side of the villains. Suicide Squad, for all its shortcomings, proves that even villains can become heroes, though they are, as the posters read, the “worst heroes ever.”

Why you should watch it:  An ethereal musical score with compositions by Twenty One Pilots, X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons, Eminem and others that set the mood, Harley Quinn, a very scary Batman and stunning visuals that will blow your mind, plus it’s been six years since we last saw the Joker on the big screen, what else do you need?

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