Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (L)  ChicagoTribune (1 1/2 Stars) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (1 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review  

Blame it on a number of things -- a continued attempt at "brand differentiation" with DC Comics [wikip] [DC] (owned now by Warner Bros. which is owned in turn by Time Warner, Inc) trying _really hard_ to be(come) "the bad boys" of the Comic Book universe with certainly _a darker vision_ of the world than more "boy scout-ish," "socially redeeming/redeemable" vision of rival Marvel Comics [wikip] [MC] (now owned by Disney); and then a cinematic roll-out of a vast number of DC Comics characters, some of whom will almost certainly have their own spin-off movies in the coming years -- but Suicide Squad [2016] (screenplay and directed by David Ayer) by almost all accounts (see the reviews above) comes across as "a mess."

I'd also add the warning to Parents: While rated PG-13 (and many of you _may_ appreciate this because you won't have to sit through this often dark film with your teens as a result), there are aspects of this film that really deserve an R-rating.  So definitely _don't_ take your little kids to this film and even talk to your teens about the film afterwards.  The film's cynicism warrants airing / discussion.

The story presented continues the exploration of a preoccupation articulated in the DC Comics inspired film released earlier this year, Batman v. Superman [2016]: Even if humanity proved "lucky" with Superman (who had used his superpowers to defend humanity), how could humanity defend itself against "Super beings" who proved not nearly as nice?

The "contingency plan" offered in this film by a _really tough_ Special Forces "suit" / commander named Amanda Waller [DC] [IMDb] (played by Viola Davis) to her reluctant superiors at the Pentagon was the assembly a (DC Comic book) "Dirty Dozen"-like unit of terrestrial (arguably) super-villains who, having done her homework (to identify each this unit's member's "pressure points" / potential "weaknesses") Cmdr Waller was confident could be "controlled" and hence "guided"/"formed" into a "world class" Bad-A.. [TM] special forces military unit like _truly no other_.

Her recruits:

Deadshot [DC] [IMDb] (played by Will Smith) the most accurate hit-man alive ... but one who could be controlled by both threatening / rewarding his cute as a button daughter Zoe [IMDb] (played by Shailyn Pierre-Dixon);

Harley Quinn [DC] [IMDb] (played by Margot Robbie) the now utterly psychotic (hence merciless  / remorseless) girlfriend of The Joker [DC] [IMDb] (played in this film by Jared Leto).  They had met when The Joker had been in prison and she, as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, had been his prison psychologist.  However, his insanity proved stronger than her capability and rather than changing him for the better, she fell in love with him and well, now they have the most crazy, obsessive relationship this side (or any side) of reality.  Her attachment to The Joker appears to be _her_ weakness that Cmdr Waller believed that she could use manipulate to her advantage; 

The Enchantress [DC] [IMDb], a 10,000 year old witch whose spirit archeologist June Moone [DC] [IMDb] (played by Cara Delevingne) accidentally released after coming across an idol in which it was trapped.  Now the Enchantress resides in June Moone's body and periodically posesses her.  How to control her?  The Enchantress craves her own heart which had been contained in a separate urn from the idol which had held her spirit.  Cmdr Waller now carries around The Enchantress' heart in a special "nuke-football"-style briefcase which she uses to extract demands of The Enchantress.

Diablo [DC] [IMDb] (played by Jay Hernandez) a tormented former inner-city gangbanger who was born with the ability to ignite things at will when he loses control / gets angry.   He'd actually prefer to be calm, but can pushed into losing his control.

Killer Croc [DC] [IMDb] (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) again tormented by a genetic mutation that makes his skin scaly like that of a reptile, he's spent most of his life away from humans preferring the sewers where his inner rage as risen to match the strength of his already reptilian physical qualities.

Katana [DC] [IMDb] (played by Karen Fukuhara) a grieving / angry Japanese martial arts expert / vigilante whose slain husband's soul (along with countless others) is trapped in her samurai sword.

and Capt. Rick Flag [DC] [IMDb] (played by Joel Kinnaman) a gung-ho / patriotic second generation U.S. special forces guy tasked by Cmdr Waller to lead this very unique unit.

Now this unit was created to offer the Pentagon a means to respond to "Super-Villain threats."  It turns out, unsurprisingly, that such a unit proves "hard to control" and ... (unsurprisingly) one of this unit's members "goes rogue."  The rest of the story follows ...

Setup this way, the film is actually not altogether bad, but as is typical of DC Comics' stories, this one is quite dark, darker certainly than most Marvel Comics' stories.

There's a scene in particular that ought to disturb viewers in which Cmdr Waller has to evacuate her standing HQ and is told to "wipe the hard drives" of the computers present.  After her assistants presumably initiate the wiping sequences, SHE PROCEEDS TO QUICKLY SHOOT (in the head) ALL HER ASSISTANTS AS WELL.  It's one way to "scrub clean" / "kill knowledge" of a super secret project BUT ... AND ... remember THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PG-13 MOVIE (!!)

As a result of scenes like this, one's left with a pretty disturbing film that _ought_ to leave a lot of viewers reeling.

So Parents don't let this film go without discussion: Teens would you really want to be involved with a project _so secret_ that your Commander could _shoot you_ for simply having been part of it?  

This has got to be the craziest portrayal of a "National Security State" gone amuck ...

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