I saw the Suicide Squad movie this evening with my pal Clint (you may know him as Doc Curmudgeon - you really should follow him on Twitter and watch his video reviews on YouTube - he's very funny).
As the credits rolled, I said, "This is going to be a tough one to review - it's all over the place."
He agreed, and pointed out the movie's big problem - which I'll share in a minute.
The movie is based on the DC Comic, of course, which centers around Task Force X - a group of criminals gathered by the tough as nails Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). The idea is simple enough - to use criminals to take on the impossible missions - the ones that not everyone survives.
When a mysterious and deadly force erupts in Midway City, the team is assembled, including marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), the psycho Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), fiery killer El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the powerful Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaj), the underhanded Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the mystical Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), and the sword-wielding Katana (Karen Fukuhara) - all led by the no-nonsense soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman).
Margot Robbie is terrific (and very sexy) as Harley, but Jared Leto as The Joker was a real disappointment to me - he's basically a cartoon character here. Will Smith is fine, though he doesn't get many opportunities to really shine. The other characters mostly get lost in the crowd, though there are some good moments in there.
The movie had a tough challenge from the start - it's difficult to craft a story where the stars are villains. Heck, even the "good guys" act like villains here.
The scriptwriters partially succeeded here - but it's a very mixed bag. There are some terrific action sequences, then some long sequences that add nothing to the story (how many city blocks did they walk?) - and too many of the action sequences felt like they were lifted from a video game (most of the bad guys look identical).
Back to my discussion with Clint. He said - and I agree - that the real problem with the movie is that nothing unexpected happens - you can see it all coming from a mile away. There was one plot point that surprised me, but the rest of it was easy to predict - except for the ones that make no sense. Like, how many helicopter crashes can people walk away from without a scratch? And why does Boomerang come back when he had the chance to leave? Does every DC movie have to have a crazy high body count / destruction quotient?
There are some great moments here, some funny moments (one Will Smith line got a big laugh out of me), some great cameos and Easter eggs (nice to see the nod to original writer John Ostrander) - but it's a pretty grim slog through most of the movie.
I can't really recommend this one - the bad moments outweigh the good. It wants to be a good movie, but doesn't quite manage it.