So this week, I did something that I have never before done- I saw a first run movie, BEFORE it was officially released, ON A WEEKNIGHT!!! That is an occurrence, I would imagine for a great many thirty-somethings out there, is utterly foreign to them (as it was to me). Thanks to Randy at Acme Comics here in Peoria, I was able to see Suicide Squad. On a weeknight. Like im some sort of Hollywood big shot, or an industry insider, or Kevin Smith or something (except not really). This post is going to be FULL of very blunt observations about the movie, which means there will be spoilers- so before I get down to the nitty gritty of talking about the movie in detail, I will buy myself some time by telling you all about my ridiculously-far-beyond-normal experience of watching a MOVIE in a THEATER on a WEEKNIGHT!!!
So, I got to the theater approximately 45 minutes prior to showtime (it was a 7 PM showing on a Wednesday) and I assumed that would be plenty of time to put me approximately halfway through the line for people seeing the film. I should state- I had NO IDEA what I was getting into, as I said before- I have never been to a pre-screening of a film; I have friends who work at theaters who have seen movies early, and I know big shots that get screener copies see things like this all the time, but mostly for me, seeing a movie involves a library card and a tote bag for Tiny Batman’s storybooks. It turns out, that EVERYONE was there ahead of my wife and I, and we were basically 5/6 of the way back in a 250+ capacity theater. I was treated to a lady in front of me checking the line around the corner ahead of us every 3-5 minutes, which seemed unnecessary: the movie started basically right on time. BUT THAT is where things got even MORE CRAZY!!!
We got in the theater, I saw a few people I recognized on my way in, and found two seats NOT right up on the screen (Hail Zod!) for the IMAX theater that is a REALLY necessary thing- I saw The Force Awakens in IMAX 3D opening day, and had to sit all the way in the front row, and gave myself neck problems for two straight weeks… anyway, we found our seats, and they do some cool giveaways (of which we couldn’t participate, because apparently they handed out raffle tickets unbeknownst to us) and then started the film. Things were moving along just fine until the movie is about to begin, and the little sequence advising us to put on our 3D glasses comes on. Did I not mention there was nothing anywhere or anyone with any idea this would be a 3D showing??? Oh, yeah! This was just supposed to be a regular, old two-dimensional film, and everyone in the 250+ seats in the theater were WITHOUT GLASSES!!! Things weren’t too bad until the DC and WB logos came up on the screen, and the first scene for the movie started playing, and showing up TWICE on the screen… Thankfully this didn’t last TOO long, and they backed up and restarted the movie once they passed out 3D glasses to everyone.
So, while it was a hassle to start watching a movie in 3D sans-glasses, it ended up working out alright, and then the production went smoothly on from there.
So ends the preamble of this little review, so now- I begin talking frankly about the film, and this is where THERE BE SPOILERS!!!!
The movie opens on Belle Reve, which should surprise nobody, since that is the main staging location for Task Force X (aka “The Suicide Squad”) and we get a nice “rap sheet” rundown of the main cast of characters, while being treated to some genuinely humorous moments courtesy of Ike Barinholtz, who plays Griggs- a guard at Belle Reve. It was neat to get the brief rundown of each of the characters, with an opportunity for each of them to showcase a bit of their personality right off the bat in the movie. Though, I thought that the idea that their “rap sheets” got revisited again, not that much later in the movie, which seemed to be a bit unnecessary- BUT it was for different characters, so it’s not like they were studying up on them, they were learning about them for the first time.
I liked how we got to meet our cast of characters, and I can safely say that NOBODY in this movie feels “thin” or “wooden” or poorly cast. I liked Rick Flagg being introduced here, probably in no small part thanks to the fact that I just finished reading Darwyn Cooke’s “The New Frontier” which features Flagg as a big part of the Hal Jordan story in the book. I liked when we saw the “real-world” application of Enchantress’ powers (the first time in the movie I genuinely reacted aloud) when June Moon whispers the name “Enchantress” and a smoky black hand reaches up from under her own and grips her hand tightly, flipping it over, giving her the quick-change from Dr. June Moon to Enchantress- who was really the surprising element of this movie for me.
We got treated to plenty of flashbacks in the early portion of the movie, and that is where Batman’s part in the story comes from- So he isn’t the “antagonist” for the Squad (and much to my relief- neither is The Joker). The flashback for Deadshot really hits you right in the feels, which, really- his whole backstory is pretty emotional, if played off right. The genuinely surprising thing that came about from the flashbacks, though, was how Captain Boomerang was apprehended- I was almost certain it would have been Batman or Superman (y’know, the easy pickings) but it ended up being Ezra Miller’s Flash that brought him in, and he looked GREAT. After the SDCC trailer, I am FULLY on-board for his part in the League, and obviously he has chops if he can take down Captain Boomerang as easily as he did.
Harley Quinn could have been problematic in this film, mostly because there is so much of the character that is just a blind follower of the Joker’s, a sex object for fanboys, or a mindless killing machine that is only derailed when she’s blown up, knocked down and shoved into a padded cell. This version of Harley, however, has a lot of surprising depth to her. I mean, OF COURSE she is still irrevocably connected to the Joker, she still uses a LOT of sexual innuendo and dresses WAY more like a stripper than a homicidal maniac (but I guess those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, are they?). The best thing to come out of Harley in the early part of the movie though, is the scene where Joker and Harley have a sequence that homages the Alex Ross cover with Joker in a tuxedo and Harley in her classic red/black jester suit. I will say, at least from what I caught, there was a lot less easter egg-y stuff, and not as many comic book references that were SUBTLE in this movie- we got Harley’s “Puddin” and Killer Croc’s cannibalism, El Diablo’s standard backstory, but there wasn’t much reference to any smaller or more obscure elements of the DC Universe (at least that I caught).
The main villain of the movie is, in fact, an obscure one- I had no idea who it was until after the movie ended and I did some research into it. Incubus- no, not the band who sings “Stellar”, but the giant, magical mystical monster who teams up with Enchantress to take over the world with a machine, because the people of earth “worship machines”. There is a TON of collateral damage, which should be expected in a big-budget superhero movie at this point, I mean really. The bulk of this movie takes place in Midtown City, and I’m pretty sure that the entirety of Midtown is now a total loss. The vagueness of the movie’s villain and the wanton destruction and widespread loss of life aside, things worked pretty well in this movie.
The 3D was very prevalent in the second half of the film, and really only served to heighten the “immersed” feeling that the Suicide Squad felt as they worked their way through Midtown City to their final “objective” which was a bit of a red herring, though I didn’t mind that one bit. I really enjoyed Will Smith’s portrayal of Deadshot, and Harley Quinn was really well done (except for those few moments when her accent got a BIT overwrought) and the Joker felt like a meaningful part of the story, and that his personality worked in the framework of the film. I still don’t think that Jared Leto is a very nice person for what he “did as the Joker” during filming, nor do I think this movie is without it’s problems, both in front of, and behind the scenes.
I really liked this movie, and even though quite a few of the beats were predictable (like when the characters think someone is dead- SURPRISE! We all know they aren’t dead…) and the end of the film wrapped up a bit too neatly for me, but that is again a superhero movie, and it wants people to have better feelings leaving the theater than they did for BvS, so I understand. The film was well cast, the movie was enjoyable- if a bit lopsided pacing wise, and the soundtrack was FANTASTIC! If I had the chance, before it comes out on video- I would most DEFINITELY see this again.
This movie was MUCH MUCH MUCH better than I was being led to believe by early reviews. Don’t believe the hype, and see the movie for yourself if you think you’d be interested in seeing it. I was a bit skeptical going in, but for an opportunity like this one, I was NOT going to pass it up, and I am most certainly glad that I did. This is a movie I will definitely watch again, though for me just from a logistical standpoint, it will most likely be on home video. I thought it looked really good, the team worked really well together, and ALL of the cast members had moments that could endear you to them- nobody felt “overshadowed” or “left out”- all the best parts and juiciest lines went to the characters with the most dynamic personalities, and that would OBVIOUSLY be Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Captain Boomerang was probably the best visually acted character, with his pink plush unicorn, and apparently magically appearing supply of beer cans while in the middle of a warzone. The character that I have been least enchanted by lately (pun intended) wasn’t, in fact, Enchantress- but was Katana, who was REALLY well done in this movie- she doesn’t talk much, but she is a really bombastic and kick-butt fighter, and her sword and the whole “it has the souls of everyone it kills trapped inside it” idea is played off really subtly and well.
Okay, so I think I have rambled on long enough about the movie- and I’ve jumped around sufficiently enough, spoiling things here and there, but not giving away too much of the “meaty” parts of the film. I definitely recommend seeing this movie, if you are even remotely interested in it, but if the trailers make the movie seem like it’s not for you- then follow your gut feeling. DEFINITELY don’t decide based on what you read online, because if that were the case, I would have never even thought TWICE about seeing this movie…
I think it could have been better, but it also could have been SO MUCH WORSE!!!!!!!!!!
Definitely not the worst time I have had at the movies, and probably one of the best (if only) weekday movie theater trips I have made in, say, five years…