2016 hasn’t been easy for DC movies. Batman v Superman ended up being one of the biggest disappointments in comic book movie history and Batman: The Killing Joke ended up turning off some people. Now we have Suicide Squad, the third movie in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe and it’s getting torn apart by the critics. They HATED this movie. As I’m typing this, it has a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is 1% lower than BvS. Yet most audiences (from what I’ve personally seen) liked it, including myself. Guess there’s always been a disconnect between the critics and the film-going public. So how is it overall? Well, let’s find out. This is Suicide Squad.
In the aftermath of the events of Batman v Superman, a government agency, led by Amanda Waller, assembles a group of imprisoned villains under the name Task Force X to carry out a mission that could kill them in exchange for years off their sentences cut. There really isn’t much to the story, it’s pretty standard and has been done a bunch of times before. The first third of the film is basically quick introductions to the members of Task Force X and was the best part of the film. In the second third, things start deteriorating as the film becomes a standard action flick (I’ll talk more about the final third when I get to the action).
This is one big cast with a lot of talented actors, so I’ll start with the main players first.
Will Smith plays one of the best characters in the movie as Deadshot (Floyd Lawton). He brings his own charm, humor, and likability to the character and has some very heartwarming scenes, especially the ones with his daughter. It shows that he’s not just a plain bad guy, there’s layers to him. Margot Robbie kills it as Harley Quinn; she’s psychotic, sexy, badass, and complex. It’s like they ripped the character straight out of Batman: The Animated Series. She was definitely a highlight in every scene she’s in, especially her relationship with the Joker (more on Mr. J later). Amanda Waller is very intimidating and calculated as she’s portray excellently by the great Viola Davis. This is someone who’ll make even Batman nervous. The biggest surprise for me and a lot of people was the character of El Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez. Out of all the Squad members, outside of Deadshot and Harley, he got the best character development and the most tragic backstory. He’s basically the pacifist of the group who’s hesitant to use his fire abilities because he’s afraid of losing control. Rick Flagg is a decent team leader keeping the Squad in check. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) had small parts and they both had some funny moments. I seriously want to see more Katana (Karen Fukuhara) because she has a lot of potential to be a great character and she was criminally underutilized. As for Slipknot (Adam Beach)? Well, he was only there to die. There’s so many characters in this movie that a lot of them aren’t given more proper development. Oh, and there’s a cameo from Batman (in flashback scenes with Deadshot, Harley, and the Joker) and the Flash (in a flashback scene with Captain Boomerang).
Now for the newest incarnation of the Joker by Jared Leto. So far, his portrayal of this iconic character has gotten a mixed reception. Me personally? I thought he was fine. Not exactly on the same level as Heath Ledger, but following up that performance would be a challenge for anyone. Leto’s version of the Joker is this tatted-up gangster-pimp who has a thing for Harley and has caused issues for the Squad. My biggest complain about this character is that there’s not enough of him. He’s in the movie for at least 15 minutes and it’s clear that there were more scenes with him on it that were cut.
But we can’t forget about the main villain, Enchantress, an ancient witch who possesses June Moone (Cara Delevingne), an archaeologist and Rick Flagg’s girlfriend. I’m gonna put it bluntly: this character SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!! My God, this character is even worse than Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, who you could argue was at least entertaining in an ironic way. Enchantress, on the other hand, is a boring generic villain who wants to destroy the world because man sucks or some bullshit, so she creates some unspecified machine that opens a portal in the sky (like a lot of modern blockbusters) and turns anyone caught up in her magic into rock glob soldiers. Oh, and she has a brother named Incubus who assists her in this stupid plan. Urgh.
The action of this movie, for the most part, was serviceable. Not great, but serviceable. Very few characters have actual superpowers, so most of the action consists of shooting and bashing people with blunt objects. The enemies that Task Force X have to face off against are just cannon fodder until they get to the final boss, who happens to be Enchantress. This leads us to the third act, which is easily the weakest part of the movie. The CGI in the third act looked like something straight out of a bad Playstation 2 video game, with the rendering on Enchantress looking the worst. You’ve seen this type of climax in a million other blockbuster movies and it brings the movie down a lot.
One of the best scenes in the entire movie is when the Squad are at a bar, just chatting. We get some more great character moments and development and a heartbreaking scene where El Diablo explains his backstory and how he got to where he was before Task Force X, mainly that he accidentally killed his family in rage. That explains why he doesn’t want to use his powers. This movie could’ve benefited more from scenes like this that helps us care about these people who are clearly bad guys.
I give Suicide Squad a 5/10. On some level, I understand the criticism and I don’t entirely disagree with them. This is yet another DC film that suffers from studio interference from Warner Bros because the story doesn’t impress and the editing is just awful. It seems like the scenes that were cut could’ve benefited the story more and give certain characters more development. Whoever at Warner Bros is editing these movies needs to be fired ASAP because they’re ruining these movies. It’ll be interesting when they release the extended cut. In spite of these problems, what made the movie for me was the characters. I enjoyed most of these characters and want to see more of their journey. Unlike Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad is legitimately fun, the characters seem like they were having a blast and so will the audience. If you saw the movie and you either didn’t like it or was underwhelmed by it, then I highly recommend watching Batman: Assault On Arkham, an animated DC movie that’s also about the Suicide Squad and is based on the Arkham games; that alone is worth your time. Overall, I think Suicide Squad is worth checking out, this will be one of those movies that people will either love or hate. Next year, DC have two movies following up this, Wonder Woman and Justice League. I’m 100% sold on Wonder Woman by this point and I have confidence that it’ll be a good movie. Wish I could say the same for Justice League, which is what I’m more cautious about because Zack Snyder is directing. The first trailer looks good (it’s more lighthearted than Man Of Steel and BvS), but it doesn’t completely tell us about the final product, which could be good or bad. Who knows? We’ll have to wait and see. For DC, there’s nowhere else to go but up, right?