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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 10, 2016

Suicide Squad Movie Review: Margot Robbie Steals The Movie As The Sexy Lunatic Harley Quinn

VILIFIED BY reviewers who call it a mess, “Suicide Squad” is receiving so much negative reactions, just like Warner Bros-DC’s recent outing “Batman v Superman”. But still, it emerged as the number one movie in the U.S. last weekend.

After Superman died, a Pentagon official, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), assigns a marine, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman of “Robocop” remake) to lead a group of supervillains to stop an evil entity called the Enchantress, a god-like figure that will remind you of Apocalypse in the last X-men movie. Flag has a personal axe to grind against the Enchantress because the witch has taken over the body of his girlfriend (Cara Delevingne, not a good casting choice for the role).

The criminals agree to cooperate because Waller promised to commute their sentence. The team includes Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara).

Written and directed by David Ayer (“Fury”), the movie is DC Cinematic Universe’s answer to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, which was a huge hit. It’s also meant to be DC’s re-brand after “Batman v Superman” got a lot of flak for its dark and sombre tone. Ayer tries to come up with something lighter and with more hilarious touches, but the whole movie feels unbalanced in its tone. Of all the characters, it’s only Deadshot and Harley Quinn who are given lengthy origin back stories.

The others are not given similar importance and have limited screen time. Deadshot is even given dramatic moments with his daughter imploring him not to shoot someone. But it’s Robbie’s Quinn as the lunatic girlfriend of Jared Leto’s Joker who nearly runs away with the movie. Margot Robbie was barely praised for “Wolf of Wall St.” and “Legend of Tarzan”, but she dominates this one. Her Quinn is surely a breakout heroine who does not look or sound like any other superheroine we’ve seen before. It reminds us of Johnny Depp’s daring take on Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” that is outlandish but with an endearing touch of humor. She nails it perfectly and it looks like she had so much fun in doing the role. For sure, Quinn can be launched in a franchise of her own.

Leto tries to be as crazed and menacing as the late Heath Ledger’s version but, so sorry, he fails to pull it off. Viola Davis is more successful in her interpretation of the cold-blooded Waller, with so much bad ass intensity that makes the members of the Squad quite fearful of her.

Despite the so many negative things we read about it (yes, we agreed that it’s too loud with the pop songs and rock music in the soundtrack blaring non-stop), we think the film remains quite watchable as an escapist popcorn action-fantasy. In the film’s preview shown during the end title credits (with Ben Affleck in a cameo), it becomes apparent that “Suicide Squad” is also a preparation for DC’s assembly of superheroes in “Justice League”, which is their answer to Marvel’s “The Avengers”. Let’s see if they could top that blockbuster franchise.