Despite its flaws, There’s tons of fun to be had with Suicide Squad by way of its cool action sequences, quirky humor, magnificent soundtrack and terrific albeit uneven characterization.
The Inmates Running the Asylum
As the most recent entry into the relatively new DC Cinematic Universe, Suicide Squad immediately sets itself apart in the opening moments. Here the criminals and villains that make up the titular squad are introduced in brief montages with brightly colorful graphics and short vignettes set to phenomenal song choices. These capture the tone and feel of the widely well-recieved trailer and are easily the highlight of the entire film.
However, objectively speaking, despite being incredibly entertaining these do cause a few problems for the film. First of which is that the montages significantly bog down the film’s pacing early on. Some of the scenes go on for a bit too long and would have done well in being trimmed down. Other scenes, however, are simply not nearly as long or impactful enough to make you care about the character that its about. That may not seem as bad considering some characters don’t even get a scene at all.
Which leads us to another problematic part of the movie: There is a significantly uneven treatment of its characters. Some characters such as Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robie’s Harley Quinn feel significantly more fleshed out than some of the others. The movie spares no expense doing so, giving them significantly more screentime with incredibly more compelling personal story beats than, say, Captain Boomerang or Killer Croc. I understand that this is the nature of the beast in making an ensemble movie like this, even the mighty Avengers fell prey to this (Wink Wink, Hawkeye), but the disparity between the treatment of its key characters and its less important ones are significantly noticeable. This includes Jared Leto’s Joker, whose underserving is a travesty onto its own.
Good Ol’ Mistah J
While were on the subject of Leto’s Joker, I think the marketing for the film heavily diluted its messaging about The Clown Prince of Crime. While he does have a significant chunk of screentime, its merely to serve as seasoning to Harley’s backstory. There is a significant build-up for him to potentially steal the show but it ultimately goes nowhere. As far as Leto’s performance goes, It wasn’t as bad as was expected by many, it was just simply unremarkable. Leto’s Joker never gets his “Joker Moment” akin to Nicholson’s “Toys” line or Ledger’s “Scars” Spiel which is understandable because this is not neccesarily a Joker Movie. However, this leads me back to the start of this argument: Why feature him so heavily on the promotional material only to have him play a support role? He is arguably non-essential to the plot and fans who came in expecting the Joker will be severely dissappointed.
Of Villains and Stories
Speaking of the plot, I don’t consider it shallow by any means, especially if you take into account the whole premise includes the US government recruiting criminals, murderers and psychopaths to do their dirty work, which is a given to most comic savvy audiences but maybe a lot to take in for the more casual crowd. Add to that the fact that this is in response to the events of Batman VS Superman, a film that just came out a few months ago and ties-in seemlessly in the universe in my opinion. This whole narrative is objectively very complex if you consider all its moving parts. The fact that they pulled this off is truly commendable and respect must be given where it is due.
Where the plot falls apart for me personally is just the central conflict and villain. Without giving away too much, the central villain had potential but in the end its motivations and overall scheme was vague and muddled. Even the enemy minions had potential and their true identity could have been better utilized to justify the activation of the Squad but is ultimately not explored further.
It is not all bad however, there are some legitimately cool action sequences with some pretty inventive combat. The fights feel weighty and stylish as the Worst Heroes Ever eviscerate, shoot up, boomerang and baseball bat their way through hordes of the enemy creatures. All the while spouting quips and one-liners true to their character. The humor and banter is also a stand out and the overall light and quirky tone to the movie is a welcome relief in contrast to Zach Snyder’s moody broody films.
Additionally, the characterization when its there, it really works. You really get a sense that these characters are cutthroat and vicious but at the same time relatable and human. Deadshot’s interactions with Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag exude intensity as well mutual respect, Harley’s loopy one-liners and demeanor are always entertaining especially after a dire situation, and Viola Davis as is phenomenal as the cold and calculated Amanda Waller. Also, most surprisingly of all, I didn’t expect to like Jay Hernandez’ El Diablo at all but he might have the most compelling character arc out of the whole lot. Overall, There were terrific performances all around acting-wise, with the only hindrance being some of the more ancillary cast had very little to do but when they’re there, they’re pretty good.
On top of all that, there are some very special cameos and references to the larger DC Cinematic Universe that are sure to put a smile on your face.
All things considered, just like the anti-heroes in the titular team, Suicide Squad’s good ultimately outweighs its bad. The film is fun, enjoyable and downright hilarious and cool at its high points. It’s definitely a welcome breath of fresh air that the DCCU sorely needs right now.
4.5 out of 5
If you liked that, also check out our other DC Cinematic Universe related stuff like “Batman V Superman: What Worked, What Didn’t” and “All the Insane Things You Missed in the Suicide Squad Trailer“.
Also check out our podcast called In the Car After where we talk about the movie right after we watched it!
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Raffy Leynes is a geek of all trades (master of fun).He loves videogames, comicbooks, movies, cartoons, wrestling, science and art. Lately, he’s been liking his geekery with a dash of “Indie”. He doesn’t know what the f*ck musings are but he is told he does them on his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.