Happy Wednesday guys and gals! I’m back today with my review of the latest film in the growing DC Cinematic Universe, Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer. As usual, there are some spoilers in this review. You’ve been warned.
First, let me just say that I’m glad that I managed to watch Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice last month so it wasn’t spoiled when I saw Suicide Squad. For all those who did not see BVS but are planning to see Squad, be prepared for a spoiler, if the internet hasn’t already spoiled the ending for you.
So here’s what I liked about Squad
This film has an amazing soundtrack. From Panic! at the Disco to Twenty One Pilots, this is a soundtrack that I could listen to on repeat. The song selection for scenes and specific moments were great. Eminem during Deadshot’s show off scene? Perfect.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie
These two stole the show as Floyd Lawton known as the mercenary Deadshot and Harley Quinn. The film had the advantage of the two of them working together before on Focus which came out in 2015. It made their characters’ quick bonding feel more realistic. The pair’s witty quips, back stories, and encounters with Batman tied them to the DC cinematic universe in a way that the other’s were not.
Their motivations were clear and they never felt unecessary or out of character. Smith’s character became somewhat of a leader for the team, and as an actor with his experience, I’m sure it felt the same way between takes.
Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller
Viola Davis played the no-nonsense director of A.R.G.U.S well. It made me imagine Annalise Keating as a government heavy hitter and I loved that. After watching Arrow and seeing Cynthia Addai-Robinson play the role, I wasn’t sure I would be able to grab onto Davis’ portrayal. Both women portrayed Waller as a fearless leader but also switched things up fluidly in showing audiences her fear when things don’t go as plan for her.
What I didn’t like about the anti-hero film
Jared Leto’s Joker
After hearing all about how into this role Jared got, I was expecting something more. Whether it be the grill he sported, the tattoos, or the metallic jacket he wore in one scene, this version of the Joker was a poor follow-up to Heath Ledger’s portrayal in The Dark Knight. His insanity didn’t scare me the way Ledger’s did. After seeing The Dark Knight for the first time, I had a nightmare about the Joker. I slept peacefully after Leto’s performance. This could have been Ayer’s writing and take on the famous character, but I wasn’t a fan.
*Note* Having nightmares isn’t the required criteria of a great creepy performance, but it says something. To be fair Ledger’s performance was legendary and for many, like myself, I assume it’s hard to disconnect from that and see Leto’s on its own.
The choice of character deaths
With a poor introduction to his character, I wasn’t surprised that Slipknot, played by Adam Beach was killed early on in the film. It irked me that his death was caused by Captain Boomerang’s idiotic suggestion. Boomerang, of course, comes away unscathed. I imagine his death was a way to show the audience and the team of villains that Amanda Waller was serious about the explosive implants, but I never doubted that it was legit and it seems like Boomerang was the only one to second guess it. If you have a character whose skills aren’t useful and they’re only going to be onscreen for five minutes tops, don’t waste audiences’ time. This is a key thing in a movie with so many characters.
What really made me upset was the death of Chato Santana known as El Diablo. He seemed to be the only member of the squad aside from Deadshot to have a conscience. He knew he was dangerous and simply wanted to be left alone. He was the first to really open up about his past and that brought a more human side to the team. In the end, he showed his true power and sacrificed himself for his “new family”.
For a person who can transform into some sort of fire monster of sorts, dying in an explosion seemed like a stretch. Yes, it was a moment of almost redemption, but it never seemed like that’s what Diablo was after until that scene. For most of the film it seemed like he knew he couldn’t be redeemed after the death of his wife and children. The shift didn’t flow smoothly enough for me.
I also wanted to mention one non-death. When Rick Flag made the decision to kill The Echantress even if it meant killing the woman he loved, I felt that the story had almost come full circle because that’s what she asked him to do. For him to do it and for her to survive seemed like the easy way out. There’s also the fact that Cara Delevigne’s performance wasn’t that great.
Overall, just like most movies there were moments I loved and those that I did not. Suicide Squad for the most part lacked character substance in terms of emotions and back story. There were a lot of characters and not all of them were used well. The cast and director say they made the film for the fans but the DC crew also have to keep in mind that not everyone is as well-versed in DC comics as others are.
There will be people asking how Deadshot became a mercenary? Why does Captain Boomerang have a fetish for pink unicorns? How did Katana end up working with Rick Flag and A.R.G.U.S.? As excited as I was for this film earlier this year, I was disappointed that I did not like it as much as I wanted to. That’s why I’m giving Suicide Squad a C.