Suicide Squad ★★½

"We're bad guys. It's what we do." ~ Harley Quinn

I have not been impressed by David Ayers films I've seen, and this graphic novel-based action fantasy did not appeal to me when I saw the trailers, but I'm willing to give the DCEU a chance to prove itself, so I waited to see this till it was available for free through my library.

The first thing I noticed here was the soundtrack. Whoa! the Animals "House of the Rising Sun" to lead off and the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil" for the opening title? That's my kind of music. But it would soon give way to hip hop. Oh well. Then we get to watch Viola Davis as NSA Agent Amanda Waller eat dinner while pitching her bosses on forming a covert squad to fight potential super villains.

One by one, we are introduced to some very dangerous "metahumans" held in federal prisons. Among criminals put away by Batman (Ben Affleck) are the hired assassin Floyd 'Deadshot' Lawton (Will Smith) and former psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie) aka Harley Quinn, former girlfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto).

Then there's Aussie bank robber Digger 'The Boomerang' Harkness (Jai Courtney), apprehended by the Flash (Ezra Miller). Others include the monstrous Waylon 'Killer Croc' Jones (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the pyromanic Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and archaeologist Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne), who channels an ancient sorceress known as the Enchantress. There's also Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who has fallen in love with Dr. Moone, as the team's potential leader.

Later on, Slipknot (Adam Beach), the man who can climb anything, and the super swordswoman Katana (Karen Fukuhara) will be added to the squad. But first the Enchantress will escape, despite Waller having the witch's heart in her possession, and she'll unleash her brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine), a sorcerer with powers equal to hers, to take revenge on the human race for imprisoning them, who used be considered gods. They begin to wreak havoc on midway City, turning ordinary humans into a legion of demons, which causes the squad to be activated in response.

To control her team, Waller has miniature explosive devices implanted in the necks of each metahuman. If they step out of line, either she or Flag will terminate them. Of course, not all the squad members believe it so one of them makes a break for it and Flag demonstrates how the neck bomb works.

The video game type fighting sequences, the baddies bonding in the bar scene, the "daddy don't shoot" sequences ... it all seemed really low-brow and, well, comic-bookish. And the only reason I didn't rate this even lower was because my expectations going in were pretty low, so the disappointment level was negligible. On the other hand, and incredibly, this won an Oscar -- the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

And I can guarantee this won't be the end of the squad, because worldwide earnings of $745 million against a budget of $175 million spells S-E-Q-U-E-L with a huge capital $. Indeed, look for Robbie to reprise her role as Harley Quinn in the already announced "Gotham City Sirens," with Ayer in the director's chair, release date TBD, and the writers are already busy on the script for "Suicide Squad 2," scheduled to open in 2019.

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