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Monday, August 8, 2016

Suicide Squad (2016) Movie Review and An Analogy on Filmmaking

Suicide Squad (2016)

Starring: Will Smith, Margo Robbie, Viola Davis
Written By: David Ayer
Directed By: David Ayer
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Rating: C-

Summary: A bunch of bad guys are sent out on a mission to do stuff. 

My Thoughts: A movie is like a stew for me. You have your broth, or the basic plot of a film and that makes up the most of the film. Heavy or light, it holds everything together in it's soupy glory. Then there are veggies, or the characters. They float around in the soup and while they don't make up the stew, they move around the stew and create life within the stew with their movement. Then there's your meat.
Chunky, thick meats that sort of disrupt the balance between the veggies and the broth and that's the literal action, your climax, rising action and etc of a film that soaks up the plot. And while no film is perfect, these are elements when put together correctly, in a way that is both structurally and aesthetically pleasing, we have a good movie. And Suicide Squad is pleasing aesthetically to some extent, but what it tries to pull off it in at the course of 2 hours is instead a mess, a fun mess, but a mess structurally, nontheless.

Going back to my stew analogy, Suicide Squad has all the elements of a stew, but in some aspects there is are too much of one thing and not enough another and let's start with the broth, or the plot.

The plot line of Suicide Squad is not so simple to follow if you aren't familiar with the comic book franchise like myself because there's so much to going on in the film that
it leave you bit confused at what's happening here. It seems to be the case that there just wasn't enough time for them to spell out in a coherent way, but that was the fault of the editing job that was done. There were so many scenes cut here and there, scenes that probably contained a good chunk of what the plot needed to build the world around our characters and explain what exactly was going on, but for the lack of time or whatever, they decided to cut those parts out and do what they did instead. There are scenes with all to many jump-cuts adding an awkward fast-pacedness to scenes where it wasn't needed. There are action scenes that cut away too quickly to move onto something else when it could've been extended or 
 elongated to better them. Too much broth, or not enough, or basically an imbalance of it, in this case, leaves an awkward amount of room concerning characters and actual plot points in the film. 

The veggies, or characters, of the broth are extremely important as they vary in sizes and shapes, so there has to be enough room for all these colorful characters within the plot of a film and they have to interact well in order for not only the movie to be entertaining, but the stew to be tasty because you don't want to add a pomegranate along with a bunch of carrots to a beef stew as that just wouldn't be appetizing. (Unless that's your thing) But in this case it isn't the interactions between the characters that the issues are formed. If anything, that's the best part of
the movie and there are some great performances in this film, like Will Smith, who I can never see as anyone else but Will Smith, Viola Davis,  who ultimately scared the hell out of me, and Margo Robbie, who stole the show as Harley Quinn and ultimately,
nailed her character the best out of all the cast. All the characters all have this lively, fun energy around each other and while there are some cringe-worthy lines, (more so than actual good ones), where the issues lie are in how they develop over the course of the film and the short version of the story is that: they don't. Here we have characters that are artificial and plastic to begin with that get little to no introduction or any way to us to connect with them right off the bat. There are too many unfleshed-out characters, which leaves us with paper thin character veggies and no one likes those in their stew. 

Having no prior knowledge about most of the people in the "squad", what I really wanted and so desperately needed from this movie was a little exposition. I wanted to know what makes these guys so evil because time and time again, that's all we heard from anyone about them. It's  even how the film has being marketed, but we're just pretty much told so without being given much of a reason why. We know Harley Quinn is insane, but what about Captain Boomerang or Katana? What makes them so evil that they're put in a squad with someone like the likes of Harley Quinn? You get some sort of justification in just about everyone's, except Harley Quinn and Deadshot's, one sentence introduction, but it wasn't enough to really push the "evil" label onto these people when it wasn't needed. What we really got was  a bunch of anti-heroes, which is where the movie succeeds. It made us like these supposedly bad guys and even root for them in the end, but I would've liked to see them do more "bad guy" things per-say and it's because of this that it felt more like a missed opportunity to make a great film because characters like El Diablo or Katana, who have such great, tragic backstories, deserved a little bit more than a couple of sentences for explanation and it felt more like justification for their actions as villains, but because we didn't see much of their villainy, it didn't hold much weight.

Lastly, there's the meat of the stew: the different acts of a film, the climax, the rising action. These aspects are basically nonexistent as there was too much going on in the film to even pick out plot points. We have an obvious beginning and end, but there really is no point of rising action, neither is there any climax. The entire movie felt as if it was this long on-going sequence with added music sequences that weren't really needed to liven the mood during down times and fast paced jump cuts to move the film along even further when, again, it wasn't needed. The film is 2 hours long and it felt like 20 minutes. There was no point in time 
 where I felt any sense of  urgency or need for the characters to get somewhere and do something and there was no point where I was anxious for that final battle as one typically is during a comic book film because everything was so condensed together that it felt more like this never-ending quest. There was so much to soak up that it leaves you will a watery, plastic-like taste in your mouth that makes you wish it could've been better because it could've been so much better, but there's only so much you can expect from a movie like this. It's a fun, summer Blockbuster. It is nothing like Deadpool which could be attributed to it's PG-13 rating and sub par character development, however, it is also nothing like Batman v Superman because it is a fun film. It does have it's laughable moments, no matter how forced and awkward they may come off sometimes. And even though this film is quite problematic, I had a good time watching it. Afterwards, when I thought about what I
had just paid $15 to see, however, not so much.

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