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Suicide Squad (3D Blu-ray Review)

9 Dec, 2016 By: John Latchem

Street 12/13/16
Box office $325.1 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 3D BD, $44.95 UHD BD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Stars Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne.

Suicide Squad isn’t so much a film as it is a rapid fire blast of comic book characters to populate the new DC Extended Universe, for which it is the third installment of the cinematic franchise meant to rival Marvel’s.

As in the comics, the film focuses on a team of villains assembled by a government handler named Amanda Waller (Viola Davis in a standout performance that is literally scary good) to carry out dangerous missions and take the blame if things go wrong.

With this following up Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck puts in a quick appearance as Batman, since most of the team members are from his rogues gallery. (Ezra Miller’s Flash gets a cameo as well in a flashback relating to Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang.)

The movie manages to get the nuts and bolts of the concept onto the screen, but the story is pretty much a mess. It involves some mumbo-jumbo about a witch shooting beams of light into the air to threaten humanity, which doesn’t accomplish much but a finale that will remind the audience of Ghostbusters (the good 1984 version, not the remake).

The film is edited in a quick cut pace to a jukebox of Top 40 hits that don’t really have much to do with the story, motivated mostly by a desire to assemble a killer soundtrack to rival Guardians of the Galaxy. Otherwise, the idea seems to be to structure the film to allow the key characters make the most impact, and it works. As long as the team is interacting, it’s easy to overlook how silly (and occasionally incoherent) the rest of it is. So at least comic book fans looking for something to enjoy in this movie will find it.

The spotlight is on Will Smith as the mercenary assassin Deadshot, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. It’s easy enough to gauge the impact of her character on the audience when seemingly half the female crowd at Comic-Con dressed like her a month before the movie even came out.

Of course, when Harley’s around, The Joker won’t be far behind. Jared Leto’s take on the character is different than the traditional portrayal, even accounting for Heath Ledger’s. It has probably generated the most disagreement among fans concerning this movie, so it will be interesting to see how subsequent portrayals bear out (provided Leto sticks with the role after some complaints about many of his scenes being cut out of this movie).

The extended cut adds about 12 minutes of footage back into the movie, but doesn’t alter the structure as the longer BvS did. The longer Suicide Squad adds a few more character dynamics and lets the viewer absorb the plot points a little better, but on the whole it’s pretty much the same movie with the same faults.

On the other hand, the 3D version (which is the theatrical cut) does offer some spectacle, which isn’t surprising given that the film offers visual flair in spades. It’s a nice distraction, but not intrinsic to the experience of watching the movie.

Another big missed opportunity is the lack of any rivalry between Deadshot and Boomerang over their skills as a marksman, a story element that played to great effect in the animated Suicide Squad adventure Batman: Assault on Arkham.

The Blu-ray includes a pretty standard package of behind-the-scenes material, dished out in seven featurettes running about 83 minutes total. Some of it’s pretty interesting, especially a brief history of the Squad’s comic run with some of the key writers of the book over the years. Also included is a two-minute gag reel.

The UltraViolet code unlocks some exclusive extras through Vudu. Watching the movie on an iPhone or iPad enables an “Extras+” mode — tilt the device to portrait mode and the screen will display trivia, cast info and maps of filming locations.

Vudu also offers exclusive content, such as 360-degree scenes and character bios.

The film’s production was plagued by rumors of behind-the-scenes turmoil stemming from lackluster BvS response, the studio tinkering to course-correct the DCEU out of panic, and testing multiple versions of the movie to see which worked the best. Naturally, there’s no hint of any of that in these extras, though if any of it were true it could make for a juicy retrospective documentary in 20 years. But at least the trailers for next year’s DC movies, Wonder Woman and Justice League, look pretty good so far.

About the Author: John Latchem

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