Suicide Squad is a fun ride and Viola Davis is driving

Cast of Suicide Squad at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International. From left to right: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Cara Delevingne and Adam Beach

Cast of Suicide Squad at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International take a selfie.

Suicide Squad is a new superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team of the same name. It is the third installment in the DC Extended Universe, which began with Man of Steel in 2013. DC Comics is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, who distribute the films in the series. They are desperate to try to compete with the runaway success of the Marvel Comics / Disney hit Marvel Cinematic Universe film series that began with 2008’s Iron Man. They aren’t having much luck.

The new film was written and directed by David Ayer, who wrote the screenplays for two notable films released in 2001: the first The Fast and the Furious film and Training Day. The film has an outstanding ensemble cast featuring Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood and Ben Affleck.

In Suicide Squad, a secret government agency led by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for reduced sentences. Their mission winds up tackling a massive extraterrestrial danger and they are the only ones who have a chance at saving the world from a powerful threat. Waller is a bureaucrat on a helluva mission to protect the interests of the nation with an off-book group to tackle the problem of metahumans.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen Batman v Superman, the second film in the DC Extended Universe, don’t read this paragraph, skip to the next one. You’ve been warned… Waller and company are wrestling with the dilemma of what to do now that Superman has apparently been killed.

Waller decides to do a Dirty Dozen and wrangle a few highly impressive superpowered or superskilled criminals in to do what she thinks has to be done for national / planetary security.

There are any number of critics out there bashing the film. They are likely the same numbskulls who couldn’t get behind Ghostbusters but lavished praise on a dud like Batman v Superman. In an age where The Donald is getting good responses from certain elements of the press and public, I would think twice about believing anything I read.

Having seen the film with an audience in 3D, I laughed loud and heartily while watching, and pretty much followed the story closely as it logically unfolded into a typical comic book tale.

What sets it apart from the pack and is probably the root of the negative reviews it is getting is the fact that Viola Davis is spectacular as the lead ‘bad ass’ in the film.

These days the trolls who scribe many reviews are still misogynistic, closet racists and anti-feminists who knee-jerk hate on a film where women run the storyline, especially black women. It’s disgusting and reprehensible and a sign of the times.

Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is the government official who gives out the Squad’s orders. Ambitious and devious, she has big plans and intends to let no metahuman or military protocol get in her way. Davis has stated that she is fascinated by the character, singling out her psychology and strength and describing her as a “powerful black woman, hard, ready to pick up a gun and shoot anyone at will.” She described Waller as “relentless in her villainy” and noted that her powers are “her intelligence and her complete lack of guilt.”

Cara Delevingne’s June Moone / Enchantress is an archaeologist who is possessed by an ancient evil force that transforms her into a powerful sorceress. Unleashed after a long period of imprisonment, the entity draws the attention of Waller. Delevingne described Moone as “an adventure-seeker who’s always wanted some excitement” and Enchantress as “a feral being.”

Another highlight is Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn, a crazed supervillain and former psychiatrist. Robbie described Quinn as one of the Squad’s most manipulative members, and her relationship with Joker as “incredibly dysfunctional”, adding that Quinn is “mad about him—like, literally, mad. She’s crazy. But she loves him. And it’s a really unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship. But an addictive one.”

One bright spot is Will Smith as Floyd Lawton / Deadshot, an expert marksman and assassin. A mercenary by day and a concerned father by night, Deadshot is a conflicted criminal who enjoys the hunt, but is still trying to do right by his young daughter.

Ben Affleck portrays Bruce Wayne / Batman, a vigilante from Gotham City, reprising the role from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Suicide Squad is highly anticipated by fans globally, especially after the critical failure and lower-than-expected box office performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in March. Projections for its opening weekend in the United States and Canada are being continuously revised upwards starting from $100 million to as high as $145 million or more. The film will open across 4,150 theaters, the widest for the month of August.

Suicide Squad premiered in New York City on August 1, 2016 and will be theatrically released on August 5, 2016, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D. Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language. See it now at your local Carmike Cinema.