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SUICIDE SQUAD: SUICIDE WATCH

I saw SUICIDE SQUAD, which has been absolutely pummeled by the critics, but has been crushing it on the big screen. Audiences tend to give the movie a 7/10, basically, and I concur with that rating.

The movie is not a masterpiece.  It’s also not a trainwreck. The weakest elements of the movie are the villain—the Enchantress looks stunning in her jungle witch form, but in her semi-goddess incarnation, she looks like something better suited to GHOSTBUSTERS.

There are some great visuals in this movie, but the story is the weakest portion of this movie. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is a great adaptation of the character, in a place that’s more sexy than daffy, and decidedly more lethal than classic Harley.

Harley Quinn is batty.

Harley Quinn is batty.

Viola Davis is great as the ruthless Amanda Waller, and she brings power and presence to a role that lends itself to spinoffs—I could easily imagine her interacting with Will Smith’s Deadshot and a few of the others, to occupy a space that Marvel has so far triumphed in with things like THE WINTER SOLDIER and even ANT-MAN. I doubt Warner Brothers will take that kind of “risk” but the onscreen chemistry of Smith and Davis was pretty cool.

Much has been made of the Jared Leto Joker, whether people liked it or not. Despite his idiotic offscreen “pranks” (?) that are way off-key for the Joker, while onscreen, I thought Leto’s Joker was effectively creepy, deadly, evil, and scary. Gangsta Joker actually worked pretty well in carving out a niche that doesn’t step on Heath Ledger’s toes.

In the heavily edited SUICIDE SQUAD, there’s actually a core of Joker/Harley synergy that’s nicely apparent—Harley definitely loves Joker. Sure, it’s a mad love, but it’s apparent, and Robbie does a great job communicating it. And it’s seemingly apparent that Joker, in his psychopathic way, holds some affection for Harley in his withered heart.

Lesser lights of the movie were Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc, who didn’t have nearly enough to do. Diablo was mildly interesting, while Rick Flagg wasn’t as cool or badass as the animated one from JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED “Task Force X.”

Anyway, as pure entertainment, SUICIDE SQUAD hits more than it misses, even if it didn’t hit everything it aimed at (unlike Deadshot, of course). I didn’t like the sludgy-faced apparitions who Enchantress created. They felt like lazy CGI to me. And the brother of the Enchantress was a massive CGI waste of space for me.

My hope is that any sequel to this movie keeps to the loony/loopy kind of vibe of most of the movie.

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