My old buddy Mick LaSalle set the stage for this one as only he can do... an 'empty seat' review which led off by stating that if you truly loathed and despised someone, you ought to get him a ticket for SUICIDE SQUAD.
Of course, he ALSO said that the movie takes place in a continuity where both Superman AND Batman are dead, so once again I have to wonder if he and I saw the same film. I won't lie... sometimes moments like this make reviewing even the most routine stuff worth it.
The anticipation for SUICIDE SQUAD was happening even when we were waiting for BATMAN V SUPERMAN. We were all waiting to see Jared Leto as the Joker and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn at the very least. Oh, and in the wake of DEADPOOL, there was talk of releasing SUICIDE SQUAD in an "R" version to cash in on the new vogue...
...well, I can assure you that SUICIDE SQUAD is absolutely nothing like DEADPOOL despite a few obvious tweaks added to the film (perhaps even in the eleventh hour... for instance, keep an eye on the character dossier information that frequently hits the screen during the lengthy introductions). It's THE DIRTY DOZEN with DC villains. That's exactly what it is. For a while, anyway. All the baddies that Batman (yes, it's still Ben Affleck) and The Flash have rounded up to date are recruited (willingly or not) to tackle a super-risky conquer-and-rescue mission. Viola Davis is... um... Mr. Phelps or something. Of course, she's the one who starts the crisis up by thinking she can control the Enchantress and letting her loose to activate her brother's spirit. Or something like that. And Joel Kinnaman (who's more personally involved in the case than he wants to admit) holds the app that will blow the heads off of any individual Squad members who try to rebel or escape. Like the guy who can scale any wall that they throw in at the last minute. Oh, and hold the door! I forgot to mention that Kitana and her soul-eating sword are coming along, too!
Yeah, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but the story is that chaotic. As for the roster? As Deadshot, Will Smith reminds us every fifteen minutes or so that he loves his little girl. Jay Hernandez is a highlight (pun intended) as Diablo. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje looks great as Killer Croc but doesn't get to DO a heck of a lot. Boomerang's fun. Oh, and the Joker is NOT part of the Squad. He's running interference and trying to rescue Harley Quinn
So... Witchie-Poo and her brother (who looks like Electro in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 except that he glows red instead of blue) are turning hapless citizens into lookalikes of Larry Buchanan's "Eye Creatures" (though in black).
Squad goes through with the Not What It Appears To Be mission and the obligatory pre-climax soul searching. Then it's GHOSTBUSTERS. I mean the original, and I'm not kidding in the slightest. It's such a blatant restaging that I was waiting for Witchie-Poo to call out "Are you the Keymaster?" (However, "It's ON" coming from Diablo is a poor substitute for "This chick is TOAST!")
Credit cookie is a shameless rehash of every Nick Fury moment from the first few 'official' Marvel Universe movies. I mean... SHAMELESS.
Naturally, all this means I hated the film, right? Not a bit of it. Margot Robbie is SO much fun as Harley Quinn that she deserves top billing and makes the whole wacky mess worth it. And despite misgivings and early reviews, I rather enjoyed Leto's Joker in small doses. The cast clicks nicely as they banter and bicker... so while I gave up trying to get involved in the so-called story, I was always up for more of their antics.
Watch out, Marvel... I'd look forward to another SUICIDE SQUAD adventure more than I would another X-MEN rehash...
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