Over the years we’ve seen many films where a handful of superheroes band together and create a team to save the world from an evil of some sort. Why do they do it? Because they know in their hearts that it’s the right thing to do. But screw that noise, we’re here to talk about Suicide Squad, the first film about a team of bad guys that came together against their will and are only saving the world because they’ll get something out of it. Worst heroes ever, indeed.
[WARNING: the remainder of this review will definitely contain spoilers for Suicide Squad, so unless you haven’t seen the film yet, get lost.]
So lets get right into what the film is about. This story takes place after the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. We’re reminded of the fact that Superman is now dead, and there’s this fear among government individuals and a looming question: “What if the next Superman doesn’t have our best interest in mind?” Enter, Amanda Waller (played perfectly by Viola Davis), the leader of the top secret agency A.R.G.U.S., and also the lady with a plan. Waller comes forth with a proposal: let her assemble a team of very deadly individuals (the “worst of the worst”), that she’ll force to go on suicide missions that are too dangerous for the US Military. She includes that she’ll be persuading them with some tantalizing rewards, such as time off their prison sentences. And just to be extra sure that no one misbehaves under her watch, she injects each of them with an explosive that’ll pretty much blow their head off if they try to escape (sorry, slipknot).
The government agrees and this leads to the creation of Task force X, AKA Suicide Squad, which is basically an assemblage of a team like the Justice League, if they were all assholes and murderers who didn’t really care about much but themselves and the few special ones in their lives. And now we have our movie.
Right off the top we have to say the direction in this movie was very nice. David Ayer both directed and wrote for the film, and you can tell he really had a vision in mind for each character and kind of had each actor take on that vision while also being a bit spontaneous and letting their own personalities shine through. Ayer directed films like Training day, End of Watch, and Fury (which were all amazing for those who don’t know), so it was easy to go into this wondering what he’d bring to the table with this kind of material and these comic book characters. Luckily, he didn’t disappoint. The introduction was very fast paced, animated and cartoonish. We haven’t really seen anything like it from this genre yet, and that’s not a bad thing in anyway. It was really entertaining actually, and had some nice cameos (ex: Batman and The Flash). In some ways it felt like a video game when we were shown each character’s stats and skills pop up on the screen. Sadly this wasn’t the smoothest way of introducing each character . Not to be the person that compares Marvel films to DC films (because everyone hates that guy), but Marvel was tasked with a film similar to this with Guardians of the Galaxy. Both directors had to introduce a team of relatively unheard of characters to moviegoers in less than 3 hours. However it felt a lot more natural in Guardians. This film basically gave us a slideshow for each character and it was like we were just going through the motions so we could make our way to the main attraction.
Something this film does suffer from (as all DCEU films have also suffered from so far) is pacing and balance issues. By that we mean the scenes don’t exactly flow well. like one second we’re being introduced to something. then the next scene it’s what’s happening in a completely different place at the same time so it kind of leaves you thinking ,”Oh. Well i was kind of enjoying that scene, but i guess we’re going to see what’s going on over here now instead. That’s cool i guess.” Also if you payed attention to the trailers, you’d notice there were a handful of scenes that didn’t make the final cut. That was kind of a letdown because a few of them helped understand each character some more. I guess we’ll all have to wait till the Blu-ray hits the shelves to see those deleted scenes.
Now lets talk about the characters. Right off the bat we have to bring this up: Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn really carried the film. Out of the whole squad, these two are given the most backstory and they feel human and even relatable in some way, and that’s something people love feeling from characters when they see a movie. Will Smith was very charismatic and very smooth with his line delivery as always. He managed to balance the emotional aspects of his character, Floyd Lawton, while delivering just the right amount of humor needed in certain scenes. Margot Robbie was very similar in that aspect. However she managed to balance playing a character that was supposed to be mentally unbalanced and insane, while also displaying the right amount of humanity in between. Her portrayal as Harley Quinn felt very similar to Batman: The Animated Series. She did great in the role and left us wanting more. As for everyone else, their characters weren’t as likable or charismatic. They tried to make us feel some type of connection to them, but they didn’t give us enough time to really let what we saw in these scenes sink in. That happened with El Diablo ( Jay Hernandez) and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) a few times. Also (and this way a BIG thing), Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang…was pretty good. If you’ve ever seen anything that Courtney has been in, trust us, that’s high praise.
The Joker and Batman were both in this film as well, but their characters were kind forced to take a back seat, which is actually rare because their characters are usually at the forefront of movies. It was a good idea though, or else it really would have overshadowed the story they were trying to tell in the movie. Jared Leto really made the Joker his own. A character like that is so malleable and there’s so many different versions of his character in the comics that have yet to be seen on film yet, and this is another one of those takes. You can tell he put his whole self into the role because wow, he looked and acted insane. But unlike Heath Ledger’s Joker, this version seemed to care for the finer things and carried himself better. That’s not to say his character is better or worse than past renditions, just different in a good way.
The action was pretty decent, but the stunts were great. Margot Robbie actually did most of her own stunts as Harley Quinn, which is actually amazing when you watch the feat she accomplishes. It’s all pretty flashy and nicely choreographed while also looking like each character is still fighting dirty and without any official training.
Cara Delevingne played Enchantress who was the villain that the team had to fight at the end of the film so she and her brother wouldn’t use their accent magic and destroy/enslave the world. You know, typical superhero movie stuff. If we’re being honest though, the fight with her at the end wasn’t as climatic as we wanted it to be. Also, the fact that she lost the fight to this group of people with no real powers besides Diablo is a bit of a reach. But at the end of the day, its still a movie based off characters from a comic book, so you have to suspend your disbelief and just accept that the squad comes out on top, and get their own screwed up versions of a happy ending.
Guys in the end, Suicide Squad is a fun, self-aware film that took a lot of risk, and most of them paid off. It was funny, but not to the point where it compromised the tone that Warner Bros. and DC are trying to set with their film universe. It had a handful of issues, such as choppy editing and pacing, but they didn’t completely hold the film down to the point were you couldn’t enjoy it. It was edgy and dark, but they managed to give us a very diverse and kick ass group of individuals for us to watch, and even gave us a great and unique soundtrack to listen to. This is the sort of film we’ve been waiting for from DC, and if they keep working on their formula and taking the positives from this film, they’ll have a great follow-up to Suicide Squad.
Suicide Squad receives a 7.5 out of 10 from Superhero Task Force.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters.