Directed by David Ayer
Released August 5, 2016
There are many television shows that are at this moment addressing the question of what it means to be a hero. Usually the word “super” precedes that term in the world of comic books, and the difference between having abilities and just being a normal brave person is very important. Those who do bad things in the name of making the world a better place are also subject to controversy, and no hero, good or bad, is beloved by all. When the protagonists are known criminals who have been brought together to fight off an even greater evil, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t be looked upon with favor or celebrated as the heroes they might eventually become.
Those passingly familiar with the Batman mythology will know a few of the characters from this film, starting the maniacal Joker (Jared Leto), whose devilish nature is responsible for the corruption and creation of the similarly wild and seemingly deranged Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Quinn is just one of a few infamous criminals, including Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), enlisted by high-ranking government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to assist Special Forces operative Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and his bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara) in combating an ancient witch called Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) who has inhabited an archaeologist Flag has fallen in love with and who seeks to inflict suffering upon mankind.
If that seems like a lot, it is. There are so many characters here that it’s very difficult to keep track of who is who and what reasons they have for committing their crimes and then switching sides when compelled to do so by Waller and Flag. This film goes one step beyond the mode of something like “The Avengers” or television series “Legends of Tomorrow” to include so many characters interacting in one expansive universe. The experiment only works to a degree, since it proves to be a challenge to connect with these theoretically magnetic characters in such a crowded space where they are each only featured minimally. Why those with superpowers always need to fight witches or demonic forces is a mystery to me, and putting them up against any other threat, even aliens, would have made for a more impressive and (moderately) believable showdown. The actors, most of whom you wouldn’t expect to find in a film like this, are good, but this manic blockbuster was never supposed to be about the acting. Its Oscar nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling is well-deserved, certainly, and I can only hope that the sequel and whatever comes after it choose a stronger plot and nemesis for this deranged group.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017