Friday, August 12, 2016

After sustaining only two successful super hero franchises over the years -- Batman and Superman -- DC and Warner Bros finally got a new one right with Suicide Squad.

Superman has always done well because, well, he's Superman. The Man of Steel was the best of the recent Superman releases, finally getting our hero some two dimensional character. Batman was certainly the better of their super hero films, most notably the trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan starring Christian Bale.

DC has also of late had success on the small screen with Flash and Green Arrow. But the new Suicide Squad presents something that has been missing from the other DC big screen efforts: depth of character and a touch of humor.

Led by sociopath Harley Quinn,  the new entry allows for the other characters to play off of her, when she is not totally stealing the scenes for herself.

When the world is facing rising threats from world's unknown, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together a squad of criminals with extra ordinary powers. They don't come quietly, but with the threat of death and a way for Waller to exercise that threat, they come along begrudgingly.

However, once in close-quarter combat this team of misfits find a connection in one another -- as Harley says while they're licking their wounds and about the quit at a bar over glasses of whiskey -- "you coming? What else do you have to do?"

Critics will be mixed in their reviews I'm sure, with some loving it and others not. And no doubt there is going to be plenty of comparisons between the extended DC Universe and Marvel Universe.

Not sure why they have to be compared, and for sure marvel to date has been the gold standard. But I found the film highly entertaining and with this release DC is not dead and buried after the ill-conceived and poor showing of Batman Vs. Superman.

The action is there without going over the top, there is well-timed humor element, a dash of sentimentality, some feel-good moments, and a terrific sound track to pull it all together.

Oh, and we have a new Joker (Jared Leto) who mixes crazy with psychotic narcissistic authority.

Warner Bros stumbled however by throwing the characters at us without any back story, unlike Marvel who introduced characters through their own individual films first -- Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk -- before bringing them together as a group (The Avengers).

Moreover, with the exception of the first Captain America, they were all terrific films in their own right: the Marvel scripts are top notch and stay true to the comic books story lines.

But let's give Warner Bros. some love for -- finally -- giving us something that's not stiff regurgitated reliance on the popularity of their heroes, and instead is beginning to expand the depth of the characters, giving hope in good things to come.

All in all, I'd give it a 4 on the chart of 5.   

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