Calm your manboobs already, fanboys/girls. It’s okay to disagree on a movie. Starting a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes, which is just an aggregation of movie reviews, is about as dumb as the ‘Fant4stic’ movie was. Just think about that for a second.
Taskforce X, or Suicide Squad for the friends, is the name of our lovable band of misfits. Put together by government official Amanda Waller, the team consists of an infamous hitman that never misses, a former psychiatrist with colorful makeup, a ghetto crocodile and an Australian; just to name a few. Their sole purpose is to act as a disposable countermeasure against possible meta-human threats. Basically, it’s a ragtag team of villains put together by the government to do their dirty work.
So this third entry in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) sparked both hope and controversy long before its release. On the one hand it was supposed to give DC their much needed momentum —especially after the mixed reception of Batman v Superman—, but on the other hand news like scenes being reshot kept the skeptics alive. And both of these statements came pretty close in the end as this movie has so much to love… And so much not to.
First off, writer/director David Ayer is a man of talent and I could clearly see the direction he was heading for with Suicide Squad. Ayer’s trademark recipe of dark humor mixed with a pinch of gritty action and a whole lot of heart sets the right tone for the film from start to (almost) finish. This goes, of course, hand in hand with a killer —hehe— cast portraying colorful characters.
We have Will Smith, as floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot, who quickly falls into the role of unofficial team leader and he does it with style. As one of the few characters who actually gets fleshed out in this movie, it’s hard not to sympathize with this gun blazing daddy of one. Despite the name, Deadshot is the humane one and keeps the “hero” in “anti-hero”. Will Smith brings a lot of credibility and laughs to scenes that might have been silently awkward without him. It’s kind of impossible to ignore the star treatment he’s getting compared to the others, but regardless Smith nails it as the badass marksman with a big mouth.
The other character that hogs the spotlight is the pinnacle of crazy meets beauty, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Other than having a poor choice in boyfriends, Harley has a knack for stealing hearts. She acts as the emotional core of the team and casually dominates every scene she’s in. There was little doubt before but now it’s confirmed, Margot Robbie pulls of a Harley Quinn so charming yet nutty it makes your ex look like an angel.
Combining this prerequisite star power with supporting cast members like the surprisingly funny Jai Courtney and the intimidating Viola Davis, makes for some decent chemistry and occasionally a heartfelt moment. Something the DCEU and its fans, admit it or not, desperately needed.
As good as aforementioned characters were written and portrayed, it was exactly the opposite for characters like Killer Croc, Katana, Enchantress and her boyfriend Mr. Whateverhisname. Killer Croc and Katana were just straight up goofy and underdeveloped, despite having some pretty awesome source material to work from. Every time either of them opened their mouth, I didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. It’s a bit more complicated for Enchantress and her man-friend because talking about them means treading on thin spoiler ice. So for now I’ll just keep it vague and say that she goes from a mysterious, godlike entity to a bellydancing joke.
Talking about characters, lets address the ginormous, purple elephant in the room, the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime is a role that will always remind us fans of Heath Ledger’s legendary portrayal and the posthumous Oscar that followed. So naturally, when Warner Bros announced Jared Leto as his successor, the internet blew up. I for one, had great faith in him and actually…He didn’t disappoint. He’s not Nicholson, nor Ledger, but his own psychotic version of a character that is loved and feared by millions. Leto brings a level of extravagance and madness, we never knew we needed in a live action adaptation. Then why is he in the “bad” segment of this review? Because there is so little of him, to the point where it would be possible to cut him out entirely and still have pretty much the same film. Now, according to Jared Leto himself, a lot more scenes with his character were filmed but cut out eventually. Which brings me to my last and biggest gripe with Suicide Squad, editing and studio interference.
Following the money
Just like in Batman v Superman, there is something inherently wrong with the pacing and editing of this movie. Flashbacks jammed in randomly, irrelevant scenes for the sake of a broad audience, great soundtracks at the wrong moments and a yawn inducing, ridiculous last act. I mean seriously, what’s up with comic book movies and big beams in the sky with rubble floating around it. I don’t wanna be that guy with the tinfoil hat, but all these arguments and the news of behind-the-scenes creative conflicts make it very tempting to blame the guys on top. If anything, Deadpool has proven that an R-rated anti-hero film with a little bit more creative freedom than usual works. Why not go down that path with Suicide Squad?
Suicide Squad had everything it needed to be exceptional; colorful characters, talented cast, strong director, huge fanbase, but instead it turned out…meh. However, it is still a step in the right direction for the DCEU and a reason to look forward to their future films. And just like BvS, I predict that the extended cut, if it ever sees the day of light, will be a considerably stronger movie.
Suicide Squad is the movie equivalent of a:
Pretty to look at, casual fun, proper entertainment. You’ll probably see it again at some point. You know…If you’re in the mood.
Suitable for: Anyone with a crush on Margot Robbie… Let’s face it, that’s all of us
Not suitable for: Critics (again)
Writer/Director: David Ayer
Stars: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne
Duration: 123 minutes (yes, there are mid-credits)