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There have been a lot of very critical reviews of Suicide Squad. The level of hate and downright mean spiritedness directed at the film is pretty overwhelming.  One cannot miss the headlines and negativity being published.  Perhaps this is a reflection of the society as a whole, where we seem to get a whole heaping lot of negativity in our news versus just simply taking things for what they are and enjoying them.

This movie is simply a summer popcorn spectacle.  Much like the silliness of Independence Day or the Transformers movies, it is high on style and music, effects, and really cool characters.  Thats the sum total of Suicide Squad.  It is NOT Shakespeare.  And nor should it be.  There are some major faults with the movie.  But, there are many other very cool things to enjoy.

As readers, you may have noticed that I tend to focus on a few key points when reviewing a good vs. evil type movie.  And no, although there are bad guys, you never really see them be really bad.  They do awful things, but none of it isn’t redeemable.  And at times, I can understand why they did what they did or at least empathize.  (Everyone except the Joker, who is bat sh*t crazy).

The villain of the movie is the Enchantress.  Um, well, no.  She tries to be very villainy and never really comes off as someone who is evil.   Do I ever think the whole of the Suicide Squad won’t beat her?  No. Thats the main problem. Look at the superhero films that are successful and profitable.  And yes, gasp, I will include the Marvel films.  Loki, Thanos, General Zod, Ronan, they all are very believable villains.  And do you see another pattern?  Not the fact that they are all male, no thats not it.  The fact that they are all played by actors of some depth. Actors who can make the bad, believable.  That is what is missing from Suicide Squad, a villain you can root against.

The second criticism of the film and more of the DCU film universe is that their films seem to suffer from an identity crisis.  When Christopher Nolan was brought on board to produce the Man of Steel movie and Zach Snyder was announced as the director, I thought “Wow, this combination of these two will be outstanding.  Nolan’s Dark Knight movie structure with Snyder’s visual style?!  This is really a good thing.”  Again, um, NO.  DC has to decide what types of films it is going to make.  When you see a Marvel film, you know that it isn’t going to see the light of day if it stinks.  And Marvel learned its lesson early on with Iron Man 2.  Don’t force the films.  Let them flow.  Write well, have a good villain, and trust your director.  The problem with Suicide Squad is the dreaded checklist method seems to be employed.  You know – Batman (Check), Another Superhero (Check), tie in to Justice League (check), and so on.  Just stop DC.  Let the films stand or fail on their merit.

And by the way, quit trying so hard to NOT be like Marvel.  Whats is so wrong about being like Marvel?   They invented the comic book film universe and are killing it.  With all the DC films it is almost like the execs are looking the dreaded list again and saying “We can be like Marvel, WE CANT BE LIKE MARVEL!”  Well, yes you can. Your characters are more popular than Marvel’s.  Watch a few of the cartoons that have been made.  There are some quality ones out there, use the structure, and fill in the blanks.  This shouldn’t be that hard.  I truly believe that the DC execs are squeezing the fun out of making these films.

Whats to like?  Well, a lot as it turns out.  The fascinating love story of Joker and Harley Quinn.  Built on levels of crazy and sadistic feelings, the two of these characters are just a wonder to see together.  They aren’t together all that often, but when they are, oh boy.  Joker is completely unhinged and in control at the same time.  He oozes sexuality and desperation for Harley, while she just can’t stop being connected to him.  It really is an awful relationship for both, but the level of acting by Jared Leto and Margot Robbie is outstanding.

Will Smith is quite surprising as Deadshot.  Arguably, the center of the film, Deadshot loves his daughter and has supposedly no love for anyone else.  But Smith does play it as a man with depth, conviction, and somewhat decent character.  Again, good acting and knows how to interact with each Squad member.  They should get him his own stand alone film.

Director David Ayer had a tough job, writer and director.  His films Fury and End of Watch are outstanding.  I really hope that he gets another chance at directing a film in the DCU.  Something more intimate and grounded.  Like a Nolan film!  I truly believe the bulk of the issues with the film come from his involvement.  But, I am not sure if he was given full power over the film.

This movie is meant to be seen on the big screen.  With full sound and audio assaulting your senses.

2.5 Stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.