I had a good time watching Suicide Squad. I want to get that out-of-the-way because as I talk about this movie, it will seem like I am heavily criticizing it/bagging on it. Much like my time with Batman v Superman the movie is pretty good but has its flaws, and those flaws are what really stand out after the drive home from the theater.
What grabbed me about this movie initially was its colour palate. I liked its dark and gritty nature, which keeps in theme with DC and Warner Bro’s previous entries, and how it splices that look with its vibrant neon flash’s and panels of white light. I thought that they helped bring a visual levity to the movie and help emphasize the “light-hearted” moments that were sprinkled throughout. These colours also play out across the characters costumes to bring it all together.
Speaking of characters, I have to say that my favourite characters in this movie were Deadshot, El Diablo, and Harley Quinn. This may seem odd, as I leave out the other “comedy bit” character, a samurai, a near super soldier and the man-beast known as Killer Croc, but I will touch more on those characters a bit later. Deadshot and Harley Quinn, in my opinion, steals the whole movie as they embodies all of the elements this movie tried to hit on; humor, action, sinister, and heart (Go Planet!) Will Smith plays Deadshot as a collected assassin who only loses his composure when it comes to his daughter, while Margot Robbie is the other side of the acting coin by being a sociopath until the, seemingly, final moments with the Joker.
Both actor’s form the pillars this movie stands upon, with a support structure from the rest of the Squad. El Diablo, again in my opinion forms the strongest of these support beams as he is a flawed character, who doesn’t fall into the “generic Mexican/Spanish gang member” tropes. Yes he is a gang member but the story, as disjointed as it was, puts him on the path of redeemer and remorseful. Throughout the course of the movie his powers are there for him to show others about the consequences for lack of control, and strives to attain a redemption right up until the end.
A special shout out to Mr. Jared Leto, as I enjoyed his interpretation of the Joker. From the oddball laugh, to the intensity in seemingly passing comments, right up to obsessed level of devotion he has for Harley. The way his character interacts not only with the world but how the world in turn reacts to him is, to me, a great way to progress from Heath Ledger’s performance, which is what everyone talked about when Leto first took the role.
Now we get to the criticism, which again should be taken into account that I had an enjoyable time with the movie and overall liked it, much like my thoughts on Superman v Batman. The first major issue I had, was the music and not because it was bad, because I grew up on that music and really enjoy it, but because seemed to be fired off like a shotgun blast. Everyone got a snippet of a song, yet no song really stood out for me as memorable due to them being used in both the trailers and the movie.
A second major gripe I have is the story. . . <insert laugh track here>, no but seriously, what a mild story told in such a blasé way as it had most people in the theater I went to checking the time rather than engrossed in the movie. This lack of good story telling goes hand in hand with how poorly the rest of the cast is used, but more on that in a moment. It boggles the mind how DC/WB could nay-say and cast shade at “the Marvel way” of doing movies, yet fall into the same pitfalls Marvel has been repeatedly called out on in many of their properties: poorly fleshed out villains and ‘horde mode’ minions. Couple this with poorly cut together scenes and jumps right out of a Sliders episode (that was 1995 kids) you almost feel bad for not remember she was the “big bad” and thought DC had crossed over with the Power Rangers universe because of all those grey putty monsters (1993, yes I am old)
To kick the hornet’s nest even further, lets start with Enchantress as we discuss poorly used characters in greater depth. Not only did her story arc fail to give the viewer any reason to invest in her, but the turn around of her needing her heart to live, then having it stabbed, then not dying because she consumed her brothers power (maybe?? who knows) only to have her heart then broken again AFTER an idiotic hand to hand fight scene which, I might add, was maybe the dumbest thing in the movie for a deity level character to do, when every other time she uses magic/power to remove and get things. The cherry on top of this disaster piece sundae? The woman possessed by the Enchantress spirit, whose name I cannot bother to look up, DIDN’T DIE! *throws a stack of blank paper in frustration* Also, as I pick up my papers, why the hell did she twitch about like a nurse from the Silent Hill movie . . . anyone?
As to the rest of the cast it seems like they were merely background players, much like marines sans Rick Flag. I think my biggest disappointment with the rest of the crew was how they didn’t live up to their comic book adaptations. I was expecting Killer Croc to be significantly larger than the rest of the crew, as that is what the comic’s portray. Obviously not a giant, but he is a giant Croc-man and his body, strength, and hunger didn’t match up to what I wanted, also he didn’t eat as many people as I thought he would which also kinda sucked. Slipknot was. . . well we know he was going to die, so who cares. Rick Flag had an interesting role in the movie as a potential weakness to Enchantress and the actor portrayed him very well in my opinion, but much like his ‘back up’ Katana he didn’t get to really throw down like the comic’s version did. Speaking of Katana: what a wonderful waste of a character; be it the crying in the subway (seriously what the fuck guys) to the lack of significant screen time in combat scenes, really does a disservice to the character; who only had a smattering of dialogue We finally land on Captain Boomerang, the beer swilling Aussie who was about as useful in this movie as the downed helicopter’s. There was a single use of a tech boomerang, Jai Courtney was left with so little to do besides drink a few beer, hide a pink unicorn and cut up a couple of minions on the brief chance the camera was looking in his general direction. Out of all of the characters in the Suicide Squad his should have been one of prominence and flare, not mediocrity and sparse interaction.
A quick note should also be used for Viola Davis. I found her portrayal of the character pretty bang on, and while I think shooting her subordinates later on in the movie was a weak attempt at a “look how bad ass I am, don’t fuck with me” on the scripts part, I thought she knocked it out of the park every time she was on-screen.
The one final thing I want to talk about, and it’s on a high note as to get a bit of levity and positive feels back into this review, is the cgi for powers and combat scenes. I thought the power sets for Enchantress and her brother while mechanically stupid, looked pretty good; as was the effects for El Diablo, especially when he went all ‘hell mode’ near the end. While fairly uninspired fighting, for what was going on, the fights themselves were done with a solid eye on keeping our villains in the lime light. While this is by no means a perfect movie, and the latter half of this review seems negative, I will reiterate that I had a fun time watching this movie. The actors stepped up, even in the small roles, and we got to see the first entry into a team based movie from DC. This isn’t Guardians of the Galaxy. but if it does well, maybe we will see the Suicide Squad make an assault on Arkham in their next outing.