I wish I could say Suicide Squad was a perfect comic book film. It’s not. It would be nice if I could say I loved the movie. I didn’t. However, I can say Suicide Squad had some good moments featuring some good characters, but suffered from a mediocre script and odd choices. As per usual, most of the review is spoiler free and spoilers will be labeled. I give Suicide Squad the Decent Watch rating.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is organizing a group of recruits of imprisoned supervillains to be called upon for black ops missions in extreme situations for the exchange of reduced prison time.
The film is written and directed by David Ayer. I haven’t seen much of his work, but I did like End of Watch. Most of the elements of the film I didn’t enjoy revolved around the story. Much like Batman vs. Superman there is too much crammed into the film. I’ll avoid saying what until later in the review. Luckily, the characters, especially Will Smith’s Deadshot, keep the film enjoyable.
As noted, Will Smith did a good job of being Deadshot. I’ve seen various version of the character from the Arkham video games, the new 52 Suicide Squad, and Michael Rowe’s version on the Arrow tv show. Smith and Ayer’s take on Floyd Lawton was definitely in the realm of the character. He is sympathetic because of his relationship with his daughter (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon). There is at least one amazing moment where we get to see Deadshot go to work and it’s comic book action gold.
The main attraction for my daughter and I was the first live action adaptation of Harley Quinn by Margot Robbie. She’s great for the most part, but some of her lines were cheesy or just bad. The trailer had one of the cringe worthy moments where she says, “We’re bad guys, it’s what we do.” Yet, her mannerisms and overall Harley-ness managed to save the character for both of us. She is a badass on screen and definitely shows her dedication to the joker.
Let’s meet the Squad
The remaining members of the squad include Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), June Moone/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Slipknot (Adam Beach), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). I supposed Amanda Waller is the leader and Viola Davis nailed this character. She’s cold and vicious like she is supposed to be.
I didn’t like the way Killer Croc looked mainly because his head was disproportionate to his body. I was pleasantly surprised with Diablo as I barely knew anything about him. Diablo managed to really make me interested in his character and like him on screen. Flag, Katana, and Slipknot were fine. Boomerang was the curveball as Jai Courtney has a negative reputation on screen. However, I think he nailed Boomerang and had an edge to the character that I really liked. I’m going to get into Enchantress and Jared Leto’s Joker in the spoiler section…which is up next.
SPOILERS WARNING PAST THIS POINT
The story really focuses on Enchantress. Another character that I knew really nothing about, but thought she might be interesting. She started off fairly strong. Then she became the main villain and the special effects went nuts. I can’t quite pinpoint what didn’t work for me, but I didn’t really like the end sequence. The slow motion solution sequence to the “epic” battle was also painful. The runtime of the film could have been trimmed a solid minute or more if they’d gone realtime. I don’t think it was Delevingne’s doing, but again just a weak story.
Sadly, one of the elements that really felt forced was the Joker. I didn’t dislike Jared Leto as the Joker, but he didn’t really need to be there. A character as amazing as the Joker should never be a side story. He needs to own the show, and apparently Ayer didn’t see that. The Joker felt like Warner Brother’s need for marketing. His role in the film is small and his time on-screen is basically him doing almost nothing. I will reserve judgement on this take on one of my favorite characters until he is used in a more substantial way.
Wrapping up my thoughts on Suicide Squad
I don’t think this film is bad. There is enough to enjoy for comic book fans. The story is weak and feels a little bit overpacked. That can happen with an ensemble story. Deadshot and Harley are essentially the leads, but their role in the story is on the side. Not all of the character motivations make sense and there are some cringe worthy moments. Yet, I found joy in the film that was missing from Batman vs. Superman. Here’s hoping Wonder Woman and Justice League continue this wannabe extended universe in a positive direction.