NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: The long-awaited “anti-Justice League” flick that teams up a bunch of DC villains (most of them metahumans) to save the world, courtesy of Amanda Waller, head of Argus (basically DC’s S.H.I.E.L.D.). Harley Quinn (who’s also pursued by her crazy boyfriend, the new Joker), Deadshot, Diablo, Boomerang, Killer Croc, Enchantress and Slipknot, along with non-villain Katana, are united in case the world gets “another Superman who’s not Superman.” Sure enough, someone’s powerful brother becomes that threat and Waller-underling Captain Rick Flag leads the Suicide Squad to begrudgingly battle!
Written and Directed by David ”Fast And The Furious” Ayer.
• Good casting. Every actor embraced his/her character and made it unique. My faves were Will Smith’s Deadshot (I’ve never seen him do a bad character anyway), cool-but-Jay Hernandez’s cool-but-tragic Diablo, Joel “Robocop” Kinnaman’s Captain Flag and of course, Margo “Legend Of Tarzan” Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who pretty much stole most of her scenes. She’s the perfect blend of hot and crazy. But the best of all was…
• Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller. When I first read the casting and (especially) saw the pics, I was a little disappointed. She looked like a TV show auntie in a business suit (FROM MIKE: Actually closer to the original comic-book version by Luke McDonnell), not the badass skinny hottie on the Arrow TV show. But man, she makes the Arrow chick look like a bleeding heart in comparison! Even without super powers, I’d feel as confident with her next to me as Wonder Woman. Just never, ever tick her off, or work for her, especially in the IT division.
• Speaking of hot and crazy, Quinn’s decision to 86 the classic jester/harlequin outfit for a push-up bra, ripped T-shirt and too-tight rump-rift-shorts was a good one. She doesn’t have a 10 body but the outfit makes it look like one! (Butt seriously, the numerous bending over shots were greatly appreciated by this female-friendly viewer. Comic-book fanboys can’t wait for the cosplayers!)
• Jared Leto’s Joker was skin-crawlingly disturbed, which fit in with the flick. He’s nasty to look at and acts truly nuts in that his behavior often makes no sense. That ain’t the comic-book Joker I grew up with but it’s what this century/current generation expects, so I gotta give ‘im a prop. (MIKE: Seemed more in the Alan Moore/grim & gritty/dark “modern” vein. Not as uncomfortably psychotic as Heath Ledger’s or as crazy fun as Caesar Romero’s, but a unique “double Warren magazine” in being both Creepy and Eerie.)
• No shortage of special effects, great makeup (especially Croc), dramatic badass poses/fights, explosions, guns & bullets, punches, kicks, knives & blades, death & destruction.
• Just ’cause you’re a “bad guy” doesn’t necessarily make you a bad guy. I like that some of the villains had extenuating circumstances of their origin or backgrounds that made a little more sense of why they did what they did, or their motivations for fighting. Deadshot’s line of “If you don’t stand for s***, you ain’t s***” was dead on. (He also has a line of scripture around his collar and on his gun.)
• Special guest cameos by two JLAers. One has a lot more screen time than the other (blink and you’ll miss him), but they both speak.
• Good open ending, which leaves you wanting the sequel. Plus, a button after the main titles at the end gives more background on the upcoming Justice League movie, much like Marvel did with The Avengers. (DC finally admitted, “If we can’t beat ’em, copy ’em!”)
• (MIKE: Along those lines: Comic fans, rejoice! One scene takes place in the “John F. Ostrander Building,” a nod to the writer/co-creator of the group. John and artist/co-creator Luke McDonnell are given “Special Thanks” in the credits, as are over a dozen writers and artists; just like Marvel does. Woo hoo!)
• The plot could’ve been better, and the film overall could have moved at a better pace. It begins with various background stories of most of the main members, a couple being too long than needed. When one of them has troubles, you think it’s a temporary thing before the main mission is given, but it turns out that is the main mission! The world is threatened still, but I was expecting “the big baddie” to be bigger/badder/different.
• (MIKE: This is one of the downsides, I think, of having a sole writer/director; there’s no one to challenge him, to inject “what ifs,” suggestions, improvements. Then again, Ayer isn’t Joss Whedon.)
• During the “background bits,” there’s a bunch of text describing each character but some of it goes much too quickly to read, which is stupid. Maybe they think they’re forcing you to buy the DVD, but instead you can just avoid seeing it at the theater and wait to see it on demand, where you can pause it!
• One of the characters doesn’t get a background bit, and you find out why very quickly as they have considerably less screen time!
• The previews gave the impression that this was to be like a dark DC version of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy or a group version of Deadpool, but no luck. The comedy and inter-group banter/squabbling was only a small part and should have been punched up.
• While I’m glad Boomerang didn’t get the “flamingly flamboyant” comic-book outfit, the threads he does get make him look like a random bum rather than a villain (he has a barely noticeable blue “Captain” sweat-jacket underneath a leather trenchcoat). Meh.
• It’s definitely “DC dark.” Torture is both shown and implied, and for sensitive lugs like moi who dig hot babes, a couple (brief) parts could be tough to watch. More exploitation, less electrocution, pleez.
• The Suspension Of Disbelief Department had only a minor appearance here (ever been in a helicopter that crashed and rolled over three or four times? Not to worry, you won’t have a scratch, with or without super powers); but there were a couple plot holes that are hard to fill. No spoilers, but if you have enough power to do A, you would certainly have enough power to do B and save yourself! Watch the climax with a critical eye and see what I mean.
• Along with the above, this definitely earns its PG-13 rating with lots of “s” bombs too. So not for the little ones, unless you’re the Joker’s kids.
• No button after the final credits, so no reason to stay. (MIKE: Unless you’re a comic fan wanting to see all the “special thanks” for the writers and artists, because they’re about last on the list…of course.)
I enjoyed the previews and really wanted to like this. I did enjoy it but they hyped it too much as DC’s Guardians and it wasn’t that. David Ayer even said in an interview that it was meant to be a quirkily corner of the DCU but turned into this hype machine/summer tentpole thing (especially after the lame Batman V. Superman‘s disappointment) but it’s not Marvel-great. However, it’s still plenty of fun. Just don’t waste your dough on 3D, and if you’re not a major DC buff, wait for on-demand or Bluray and watch at home so you can pause and rewind all the Harley butt-shots and Deadshot’s kill shots as much as ya like!
P.S.: Get some ART of Harley, Joker, or any character, goodie or baddie, hottie or tottie, ya want! Boobs, butts, bullets or biceps. An original piece by Pascal is perfect for your wall or a gift. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, The DCU, the MCU, the UFC, the U of C, the CIA or any other acronym, Arkham Asylum, alum or alumni of any college, university or Midway City, psychos, nutsos, the Joker, the jester, Uncle Fester, Screwball Squirrel or Captain Carrot. Bru thinks Harley’s hot but too high maintenance to bang. Rule #99: never date a chick who carries a baseball bat instead of a purse!