August 8, 2016
The anticipation for this film is really very high. The promotion was relentless leading up to its debut this month. This is the first time in the neighborhood mall cinema that we actually saw a long line for the tickets and a full house when we watched. Initial reviews were bad, which was disappointing to hear. However, this is one of those films which people will watch whatever the reviews may be.
Following the events in "Batman V Superman," CIA official Amanda Waller assembles a team of dangerously deranged criminals under the leadership of Colonel Rick Flag to fight impossibly high risk missions for the US government. This group of elite villains consisted of sharpshooter assassin Deadshot and the beautifully crazy Harley Quinn, along with Latino pyromaniac El Diablo; Australian thief Captain Boomerang; and leather-skinned monster Killer Croc. They were joined by Flag's samurai-wielding Japanese lady bodyguard Katana.
The group first saw action when a shadowy sorceress named Enchantress brings back her giant fiery brother back to life and creates her own army of magic mutant minions to overrun Midway City. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn's equally (or more) insane paramour, the Joker, gets into the picture as he plotted to spring Harley from prison.
Easily the most memorable standout performance was that of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Her character went full circle, very well developed. She gets to deliver the best lines in the whole film. Her funny little witticisms were "vexing" (as she said) but delightfully so. Robbie managed to look very good despite being manic, unkempt and disheveled. She also pulled off her fight scenes with her trusty baseball bat. I'd call this an iconic performance of this quirky comic book character.
Will Smith (looking cool as Deadshot) and Jay Hernandez (as El Diablo) had their dramatic moments and they were able to maximize their scenes. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje lacked viciousness as Killer Croc, and he even had "cute" lines. Jai Courtenay never really fit in any of them comfortably, this one as Captain Boomerang included. I have yet to see a role that Courtenay was actually good in. Too bad we do not really get to know their criminal backgrounds more, but that is too much to ask for a 2-hour film.
Joel Kinnaman was unconvincing, flat and unremarkable as Rick Flag. hile she seemed to be the perfect choice of actor, Viola Davis oddly lacked the heartless and guiltless strength of character I expected of Amanda Waller. I thought Cara Delevingne was miscast as the Enchantress. The awkwardly funny body movements she was doing during the climactic CGI face-off made it look like a juvenile "Ghostbusters" battle, instead of the hardcore showdown we were expecting.
Jared Leto gave us a serious and brooding Joker, a different persona for the Clown Prince of Crime. It is really hard to compete with the classic interpretations of Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger for this character. Leto's screen time was too short this time to develop his Joker. In fact, he was actually just a special guest character who actually took some time and focus away from the main squad. It seems to hint that maybe he will be getting his own film with Harley in the future.
As we can already see quite clearly from the ubiquitous trailers, this David Ayer's film as a whole was stylishly rambunctious and cacophonous in its colorful visuals and alt-pop-rock soundtrack. The gun battles and various fight scenes were very energetic, with the violence so cartoonishly relentless as expected. Those berry-headed minions were as generic as they came, a weak way to prolong the "action" with no real sense of danger.
The script was clean enough to let 13 year olds into the theater, not as Rated-R as "Deadpool" was, which may disappoint some hardcore fans. As for me, lowered expectations and unfamiliarity with its comics origins made it a fun enough ride, especially with Margot Robbie there as Harley Quinn. But clearly, director Ayers could have done more radical stuff with the material he had on hand. 6/10.