Suicide Squad built up plenty of steam as the August 5th release date finally arrived. We sat in the theaters wanting a good film to be presented to us, nervous that what we witnessed would sour us with another average movie with way too much hype and not enough meat on its bones. As the mid-credits scene ended and we filed out of the theater, the air very much felt sucked out of the room, but this time, not with anger and disappointment, but surprise. Why? Because Suicide Squad was actually good.
Now do not misquote me. Good does not mean elite, as Suicide Squad had some key flaws keeping it from that echelon, but in spite of those flaws, we were given a fun ride and a little bit of the spunk that we have been wanting in our DC movies for some time now. The fun, among other things, gave us something to look forward to in the DC Extended Universe especially with powerhouses like Wonder Woman and the Justice League coming next year. On the flip side, where Suicide Squad gave the fans promise, it also shot itself in the foot in ways that could not be overlooked. Here is where we review the good and the ugly (spoilers)…
Good: Character Chemistry – It is absolutely undeniable that one of the most compelling aspects of this film is the character chemistry that projected from the screen. For the story that they were trying to develop and the way the characters were used in the film, it drove the movie entirely. If it was not for notable dynamics such as Harley Quinn/Deadshot, the movie probably would not have had as much to stand on, let alone have been as fun as it was. The film was able to take characters that many are not even familiar with and create a sense of family that gave us a reason to care. That is important for any film because the number one goal is not to just have good characters, but for us to be invested in them and their roles with each other. Suicide Squad, for the most part, successfully capitalized on that and it helped elevate this movie significantly.
Ugly: Poor Character Development – Despite good chemistry, there was a noticeable lack of development for some characters in this movie. One of the most glaring issues that this film presents is the inconsistency that followed at least half of the supporting characters. Their roles are necessary, but their material either made them boring, awkward, or under-utilized. This does not mean that poor character development hurt Suicide Squad entirely, but a touch up on these characters would have been a welcomed addition to the movie. This also does not mean that any of them needed the same amount of time that Harley, Deadshot, and El Diablo were given, but more reasoning for things such as Captain Boomerang’s eccentricity, or Katana’s soul-keeping sword, Killer Croc’s story in general, and a less two-bit feel from Enchantress could have helped, not to mention Rick Flag could have used a more noble overhaul. He felt way more shady than he probably should have. He was okay. That is it. Just okay. A reason to feel for these characters and not just see them could have amplified what we were given drastically.
Good: Majors in the Minors – Suicide Squad did one thing absolutely perfect. They turned our beloved Batman and Joker into side pieces essentially, giving Harley and others their times to shine. There was not enough Joker to say that he overshadowed Harley. As a matter of fact, he did not play the role that many of us believed he would and the lack of his presence, but the outstanding performance of Jared Leto left us wanting more. The execution of the Joker is superb. Batman has a similar role. We get a chance to see Batman, not in his cave, not in his head, not in any point of view for himself, but from the perspective of the villains/anti-heroes. He came across as legitimately intimidating as well as more matured in his crime-fighting stance than the one that was seen in Batman vs. Superman. That is a solid change and both things are something we haven’t really seen before minus a few hit and miss comics/cartoons over the years.
Ugly: Paper Thin Plot – The plot we were given in Suicide Squad was more thin than a wet piece of two-ply toilet paper. To say the very least, it was disappointing. There were some motivations that just did not make sense. Deadshot’s desire to kill Batman was not convincing. To assume it was so that he could kill people and make money for his daughter is an assumption and not something that was actually shown in the movie. Enchantress and her motivation in general was a let down. She had no depth, her brother had no depth, and her purpose behind destroying humanity seemed forced. It was something that we have seen before in other superhero films, where the villain is completely one-dimensional, but this might have been one of the worst. Amanda Waller just wanting a metahuman army was cliché. Rick Flag being in love with June was typical. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I am not bypassing what they did right because in some instances the plot was exactly what it should have been, but the simplicity of this plot was not helping it stake its claim. It was the Suicide Squad itself and their relationships, personal and corporate, that pushed the movie…more than its own plot which is a paradox in its own right.
- Jay Hernandez/El Diablo – Whether it was his acting or his story arc, he stole the film and I only have one word to describe it and I am going to spell it out for you: N-A-I-L-E-D! NAILED!
- Margot Robbie came in the clutch and gave the perfect Harley Quinn performance. Totally believable and maybe in the top 5 of best iterations of a character from comics.
- Will Smith as Deadshot was a reminder that he is elite. Despite his film choices that he has made in these past couple of years, he redeemed himself with this performance that should give all of his fans a resurgence of hope for the rest of his career.
- Viola Davis/Amanda Waller – She was despicable…exactly how she should have been. More of a bad guy with sometimes good intentions than a good guy with sometimes bad intentions. This portrayal of Waller was what it needed to be. Ruthless, selfish, and completely lady boss-like.
- Joker emanated charisma and the relationship with Harley that we were shown only magnified one of the most best, live-action adaptions of the Joker that we have ever seen. Jared Leto’s version of the Joker was a unique mix of a dangerous and insane that looked like a lovable threat in this universe to come.
- El Diablo’s redemption story/arc. I said it twice because it was just that good.
- Joker’s laughs.
- Fun – This film was fun and had a lot of funny moments which made it good by default. Even with the flaws, they are mostly overshadowed by the good. Still there, but you care less because you enjoyed yourself. This was a good sign of promise to come for DC films considering very little of this film could get Geoff Johns’ touch.
- Captain Boomerang barely even threw a boomerang. He felt more like a comic relief character and it feels like they went the wrong direction with his role.
- Killer Croc – Underused and slightly awkward. His line about BET was misplaced and for him to be such an awesome character, it never really felt like it. His voice and his lines were not the best. Many people loved him. I was not one.
- Rick Flag – Not sure what went wrong here, but the guy typing this was not convinced. Not even a little.
- The magic aspect was messy. Do not go with magic unless it is going to be properly established. Otherwise it just makes a mess.
- Not enough friggin’ Katana.
- Enchantress. Just Enchantress. Yeah.
- Editing got in the way of this movie. It was kind of noticeable and it was something that hurt the film a little bit. Some scenes felt like they were missing something that would help the scene make more sense. Of course we will not know until the movie is release for digital download and dvd and we are given the deleted scenes.
Overall, Suicide Squad was a decent movie. It will not stand up with the great superhero movies that we have today, but it is a positive and promising step in the right direction for DC films. Rome was not built in a day. Neither was Marvel or better yet, any great thing that we have. Give DC time and maybe we will remember this movie as the infant child to something great.
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