Ah so here we are again, the next DCEU movie is out, Suicide Squad, and once again a general consensus cannot be made. So let’s discuss the Suicide Squad movie and see if the good outweighs the bad! Suicide squad spoilers review
Suicide Squad is a movie I’ve been following since its announcement 2 years ago. Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of the comics, Harley and Deadshot are two of my favourite comic book characters and the Suicide Squad comics are ones that I have eagerly followed for years. So obviously I’ve been pretty excited about this movie. And the trailers were insanely good. The marketing people knew how to edit a good trailer.
And so here we are now, I’ve only seen the movie once and at the moment I can’t say I loved it. First I need to say that I had the same experience with Batman v Superman. Didn’t know if I even liked it after watching it the first time. But after watching the theatrical cut a number of times and the superior Ultimate Edition twice, I can confidently say that I love Batman v Superman. However I’m not sure if I’ll ever reach that level with Suicide Squad, but I do feel like I will enjoy it more with multiple viewings.
Overall the characters in the actual Suicide Squad were fun and interesting to see interact, but the villain and overall story severely lacked.
First let’s talk about the villain of the film, Enchantress. Not a fan at all. Enchantress unfortunately reminded me of those horribly cheesy comic book villains from the late 90s/early 00s. For a film that talked so much about being about the bad guys, the fact that the main villain of the story was so weak was a huge letdown. DC movies (in my opinion at least) usually strive when it comes to villains, so the fact that such a generic and two-dimensional villain was showcased in this film is baffling to me.
Especially when you have the bloody Joker in the movie! Now I know a lot of people didn’t want another Joker as the villain story, but this Joker is new and different, and it would have been fascinating to see him as the main villain. It would at least mean he folded into the story more naturally and had more screen time.
Joker vs the Suicide Squad might have made a lot more sense. Having Harley hate the Joker (like her New 52 counterpart) and going after him could have made for a really interesting dynamic. This is just personal preference of course because I prefer when the Joker and Harley aren’t a couple.
But we can’t just inject our own ideas and get mad because a filmmaker didn’t do exactly what we wanted. So I’m okay with Harley and Joker still being a couple in the film, but his role in the film seemed very useless.
As we hear more about the behind the scenes stuff, we now know that many of the Joker scenes were cut. So I wouldn’t mind if they eventually release a “Joker Cut” that adds his scenes back. From what we saw, Leto seems like a strong Joker. But we didn’t see much depth to his character. Whereas Ledger Joker had the opportunity to fully flesh out his unique philosophy and personality in his film, Leto didn’t get the same opportunity to here.
His Joker seemed more reminiscent of Azzarello’s Joker, the gangster Joker. But it’s important to note that in Azzarello’s graphic novel, the Joker acts all tough and gangster like, but it’s not until the end that we really see the layers to his character. Everything he was doing was because he was craving Batman’s attention. We saw the Joker get insecure in that novel, but we never got that far in the film (probably because the scenes that really added layers to his character were cut).
As for the Joker and Harley relationship, it was quite interesting. At first we saw the normal, manipulative Joker. Using Harley for his personal gain. But then something interesting happened, he started to actually care about her. During the “chemical wedding” we see that the Joker was initially willing to let Harley die, but then he changes his mind and goes after her. Of course their relationship wasn’t some nice, happy love story. He’s still clearly abusive towards her, willing to ditch her as soon as things get bad. But this Joker was definitely more caring towards Harley than what we’re used to seeing in the most recent comics.
Back to Enchantress, see if this was a random issue of Suicide Squad, Enchantress would be a fine villain. A one-off, single issue villain they fight. And in many ways the Suicide Squad movie felt like a one-off, single issue of a Suicide Squad comic. However, that doesn’t necessarily work in cinematic form. There needs to be more, because a film is more. So having a weak villain really pulled everything down. Suicide squad spoilers review
Many people have also commented on the editing and pacing of the film. Whilst I didn’t find it as jarring as the editing in Batman v Superman the first time I watched it, I agree it was a bit messy. We’re thrown into this world and all of a sudden meeting a bunch of different characters who are fighting this bad guy we barely know.
But what about the good? The individual Suicide Squad characters were great. Margot Robbie nailed Harley Quinn (aside from the occasional slip of the accent). I couldn’t think of anyone better. I love that they didn’t just show the super happy, crazy and quirky side to Harley. We also saw her sensitive side, the side of her who yearns for a sense of belonging and purpose in life but hides behind the facade of this crazy girl.
I was almost worried for a second that she was about to join Enchantress, but her being misleading and then stabbing Enchantress was definitely very Harley Quinn. And it was great to see her interact with people like El Diablo and Deadshot. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Harley/Deadshot friendship that has been showcased for the last few years in the comics. They accept each other’s craziness and genuinely care for each other (Deadshot once even “killed” himself to save Harley…Amanda Waller eventually brought him back to life but still).
Will Smith was good as Deadshot, still pretty Will Smithy, but good. Again it was good to see the layers to his character. He’s not just some cold-hearted assassin, he has a flawed moral compass, but still has a heart that he reluctantly listens to on occasion.
El Diablo was another standout. He’s always been an interesting character because unlike the others, he doesn’t want out. So it was good to see someone with a different attitude interacting with the team. It’s unfortunate that he died, but we couldn’t just have Slipknot be the only casualty.
Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang were both a lot of fun, and I have to say, Jai Courtney was born to play Captain Boomerang (not sure if that’s offensive to him or not). Captain Boomerang in the comics is a character you love to hate. He’s a real asshole, but in the film was a lot more likeable. And of course I can’t forget to mention how awesome the few seconds of The Flash was. The Flash has been quite the great recurring cameo this year.
Even Flag was great, especially towards the end when we saw him become more sympathetic towards the team. As for Katana, she was intriguing but we unfortunately didn’t see much of her.
Viola Davis did a great job as The Wall. Her character was pretty spot on, very focused and narrow-minded when it came to her goals. Ruthless and willing to do anything to protect her ideals for the “greater good”. So whilst Enchantress wasn’t a very good villain, Waller was a great antagonistic force to the Squad. I especially loved her interaction with Bruce Wayne during the mid-credit scene. Ah it all makes sense now. Bruce is able to track down the future League members because of Waller! And does Amanda Waller know Bruce Wayne is Batman? Well she must with all that tongue and cheek “you should stop working nights”.
Another major pro for the movie was the soundtrack. Really great song choices that perfectly matched the characters and the settings. If you haven’t already, check out the Suicide Squad album, it’s a great playlist.
The interactions between the members was definitely the main highlight of the movie. For me, Suicide Squad stories aren’t always really about the actual story. It’s about how this crazy group of people respond to insane situations. Some of the best Suicide Squad stories have the most ridiculous plots (more recently someone trapped them in a castle of sorts and set up a game where you win points if you kill a member of the Squad…yupp). And we did see a lot of that in the film. So whilst the individual components for success was there, put together it was flawed.
It was the scenes like the bar scene where the film was at its best. Just a group of misfits having a chat over their remarkably weird and insane scenarios. Seeing more of those bonding moments would have been nice, and would have really made the conclusion feel that more impactful. It’s nice and all that they considered themselves a family at the end and were willing to risk their lives for it, but was that earned? I’m not completely sure it was, just a few more scenes like the bar scene might have earned that moment. Suicide squad spoilers review
I guess this comes down to an overall pacing and structural issue with the movie. With so many characters, and a world that is now introducing magic, the film didn’t allow much breathing room to get to know these characters and world, before being fully thrown into it. Then again I did go see the film with a non-comic book fan and they had absolutely no problem following the story, and ended up liking the movie a lot.
Perhaps Suicide Squad would work better as a TV series, rather than a film. This movie as an episode in a show would have been amazing. Enchantress would make a fine villain in that context. And as a TV series we would get to see the team’s relationship really grow.
At the end of the day, there’s no denying that this movie is messy. In some ways that chaotic nature works for a film like this, but the film would have served a lot better with a cleaner structure. The overall characterisations of the characters worked, but everything felt slightly rushed so we didn’t spend enough time seeing the team bond. For me though, the biggest issue comes down to the villain. Enchantress is the type of character that shouldn’t make it through the first draft of a script. She was evil for the sake of being evil (other than the typical generic bad guy motivations) and incredibly cheesy. Which was especially hard to watch when such a complex and interesting character like the Joker was being sidelined.
I do believe there is a better cut of this film somewhere out there, but either way the villain will remain the same. However if that cut is longer, and has more character moments, it could be a vast improvement.
Suicide Squad is silly, messy fun. It could have been a lot more, but wasn’t. I would say the good outweighs the bad. Interesting characters, quirky tone and insane settings. But whether it was issues with the original script or studio interference, something went wrong.
We know that there is a different cut that was tested to audiences a few months ago. A couple of people who have seen that cut have already talked about the original cut being far superior. So hopefully we get a new cut of the film with the Blu-ray release (although Ayer insists the theatrical cut is his cut, so probably not).
But let’s not make a habit out of this DCEU. When Wonder Woman comes out, let the theatrical cut be the cut that everyone involved wants out. Something both critics and fans love. That has strong legs at the box office. Suicide squad spoilers review
Talking to people I know who have watched the film, response is very mixed. Some think it’s an absolute piece of shit, others loved it and had a great time watching it. Suicide Squad will have an awesome opening weekend thanks to the on point marketing, but the question is how will it do in week 2, 3 etc. Batman v Superman didn’t have very strong legs, will Suicide Squad suffer the same fate?
In conclusion I’ll be more than happy to see more from these characters, because although overall the movie didn’t completely work for me, I’m invested in these characters and want to see what they get up to next!
Categories: comic book movies