Monday, 8 August 2016

Tentamen Suicidii*

* Latin for a suicide attempt. It is often referred to as a failed suicide attempt or nonfatal suicide attempt. 

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

Nevermind Deadpool: Suicide Squad is the bad boy of superhero movies. Defined as "F****** insane" in promotional interviews. it's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's nasty little brother. On paper, Suicide Squad was summer's last best hopes. Its premise was interesting to anyone who's ever found Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader more interesting than Clarice Starling or Luke Skywalker. Intended as an antidote to the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe. If Marvel has the best superheroes, so the prevailing geek logic goes, then DC must have the coolest villains. How ironic then, that a superhero story determined to celebrate the genre's villains should feature the worst villain that the genre has ever seen. 

Director/writer David Ayer opens the film by attempting to compress origins stories, unique abilities and how they were captured for nine different characters into the film's overload first act. Blasting Hip-Hop songs to show how gangsta they are. In fact, each character is introduced with an instantly recognisable song, helping to ground these super freaks in the world as we know it. While also confirming suspicions that the movie is DC's answer to Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy. Amanda Waller starring Viola Davis, whose self-interest eventually poses the film's only provocative moral dilemma, is going to use those villains: she's going to use fire to fight fire and she's going to get burned. 

Every character is missing someone. Deadshot misses his daughter, El Diablo misses his wife and Rick Flag his girlfriend. Beside that there's Cara Delevingne's Enchantress, a humanoid crocodile who doesn't contribute much to the team and my old friend Jay Courtney: a dumb Australian guy who contributes even less to the team. And THEN, there's Dr. Harleen Quinzel aka Harley Quinn aka Margot Robbie, who is sexualised as hell and a caricature of male fetishism. Plus, she's "potentially" a poor representation of psychological abuse. Though I loved her character. Moreover, Will Smith hopefully has been given good characterisation within small but thorough lines and some touches of humanity, just like Harley Quinn underneath her unhinged insanity. Will Smith charisma and wit unable him to throw one-liners like no one else, giving the  movie a comic aspect without it turning into full mode comedy. 

This is not the Joker's film we were all waiting for. But must surely be a taste of things to come in future sequels. Attempting to honour the history of the character without stepping on Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson's toes, Jared Leto creates a surprisingly sensual Joker. He's part gangster, part clown, but nor really part of the movie unfortunately. His character is reduced to a long cameo of some sort. Giving the audience a feeling of second movie within the movie they're currently watching. The brief Batman's appearances are awesome, Ben Affleck is amazing as Batman and I can't wait to see this man again in new Batman features. 

Blame it on Batman, but the DCCU has gotten awfully dark in recent years, especially compared with the candy-coloured party they're having over at Marvel. Finally critics often complain that overcrowded comic-book movies don't devote enough energy to psychology or performances, focusing instead on action and big CGI set-pieces. But Suicide Squad strays in the opposite extreme. Though this film is full of fancy action sequences in which our anti-heroes fight off a bunch of anonymous CG baddies (like the Avengers) while exchanging witty one-liner (just like the Avengers) and using their various abilities to emerge victorious without breaking a sweat (like, guess who?  the AVENGERS!). I don't really like to trash a movie and you know that but certain aspect of the second and third acts reminded me of Fantastic Four, yes, it is that messy. 

Overall, Suicide Squad flips the script around and forces the audience to root for the bad guys. But is this enough? Clearly: NO. This film is not half as badass as you wanted it to be.

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