This year, DC released two movies that are part of the DC Extended Universe (and I’m kinda over the naming of it, but whatever) that started with Man of Steel. There was Batman/Superman: Dawn of Justice (yes I intentionally left the “versus” part out of the title, which I will get to when I review that movie), which has been really divisive among audiences, and there was Suicide Squad, not as divisive but a somewhat better general consensus. To put it simply, BS was a beautiful explosion of a movie that had a lot of good things in it but conveyed in a bizarre manner that confused, excited, amazed, frustrated, and depressed you all at the same time, while Suicide Squad is more or less a fun action romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously but not so much that it’s completely silly. It’s kinda like a PG-13 Deadpool, only without the fourth wall breaking and the humor can be a little off at times.
It’s been said that this movie was DC’s “last chance” to really get their DC Extended Universe off the ground, which is both unfair and reasonable. Yes, both Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice were mixed bags at best, but those were movies done by the same director and writer and had pretty much the same cast and crew with different variations in each movie. This movie is done by a different writer, director, and has a different cast and crew, not to mention a different tone (yeah I know Snyder produced this movie too, so I guess some of his “Snyderness” sneaked into it). It is possible to have variety in another entry despite previous ones being kinda similar, especially when there’s only been two outings and this is the third, and both the second and third entries came out in the same year as well as three years after the first one. And since there’s already been work done on the upcoming Justice League and Wonder Woman movies set in the DCEU, as well as others coming out sometime in the near future, I think it’s safe to say the DCEU isn’t done by a long shot just yet. While DC and others making these movies do need to get their priorities straight, at least they are trying to explore different avenues and not everything has to be dark, grim, gritty, and depressing. This movie does scratch at that potential, though it still has faults.
So yeah, let’s get to the problems this movie has before I go and appreciate the good stuff in it. First off, the pacing and editing of this movie is terrible. And it’s not just this movie, but others that came out this year as well. I already went into a tangent about it in my review of DOFP Rogue Cut, and it’s true here too. I don’t know who is in the editing room for these movies at the studios making them, but either they should be fired or do a better fucking job. It looked like scenes were cut out that would’ve made better context and add more to the movie. It’s especially apparent when those scenes from the trailers, you know some of the things that got audiences interested in the movie and were hoping to see, are not in the movie AT ALL. I guess we’ll have to wait and see for that extended cut to restore it to what was originally going to be presented, because it’s bullshit that this is director David Ayer’s “preferred cut” of the film. It’s no secret that there were scenes cut out from the film, that there’s studio interference when it comes to these types of movies, but I don’t think anyone wants another disaster like Fan4stic where pretty much a lot of people, especially the director Josh Trank, trashes it for what it is.
The premise is interesting, but the way the plot carries it out is pretty much typical of a lot of superhero films, especially some movies that came out this year. Tell me if you heard this one before: a ragtag team of misfits must come together amidst questionable circumstances and stop an otherworldly villain from taking over the world with some energy portal thing or whatever. Yeah, I’m pretty sure The Avengers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, the Ghostbusters, and even the Fan4stic (sorry for all the Fan4stic references, I really don’t want to make it seem like I’m comparing this movie to THAT piece of shit) are all right around the corner to help out (it also doesn’t help with GOTG compare/contrast with this movie when “Spirit in the Sky” is playing in the movie’s soundtrack). I’ll admit when I found out that Joker (played by Jared Leto) was gonna be in the movie, I did have reservations about his role in it, because I was afraid he’d end up being the main focus and the movie would be all about him and Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie), but after watching this movie, maybe he should have been the main villain to some extent. Enchantress (played by Cara Delevingne) could have been an interesting villain if done right, like maybe she was a part of the Squad and ended up betraying them because she couldn’t control herself, like maybe Joker manipulated her or something, he can be pretty good at that, like how he manipulated Harley Quinn. But no, instead there’s this bland, one-dimensional character (at least that’s just the Enchantress part of her, the June Moone part is okay and Cara does a pretty good job despite the material given) that just wants to take over the world [insert M. Bison saying “of course!” here] because humanity is bad, superpowers are good, and blah blah blah. How many times are we gonna have to sit through this cliche? It’s being done in so many movies these days that it’s either got to stop or find a way to make it work better. It’s also sad to see it happen with a movie about a black-ops group consisting of supervillains and antiheros who, ya know, are supposed to carry out missions in which they wouldn’t be caught IN PLAIN SIGHT over. I know the city is abandoned, which is great because this movie wouldn’t be criticized for showcasing a lot of destruction and whatever else people give Man of Steel flak over, but it still feels a little off.
Honestly, while I do like this movie, I think that the Batman: Assault on Arkham movie and the Suicide Squad episode in Arrow season 2 (no I haven’t read Arrow Season 2.5 yet and I don’t count that episode of season 3 which is a hollow version of a previous episode done right) had a better understanding of what the Suicide Squad is and how to tell a story with them in it (and yes I know it was revealed that episode was meant to get this movie up and running, but I wish the Arrowverse version of the team could still exist concurrently with the DCEU version, since DC apparently is sorta against having multiple versions of certain things despite wanting to do a live-action multiverse and having multiple Batmen and Flashes, but at least they’re starting to get lenient now with having a different version of Superman in Supergirl). The plots of both stories knew that the characters were villains, would turn on each other in a heartbeat if given the chance, and knew how to operate as a black-ops group doing a black-ops mission. This movie does do those things at times, but kinda pales in comparison.
I know I’m harping on this movie, but I honestly do like it. The premise is interesting and manages to carry through somewhat despite the muddled plot and direction. The idea of supercriminals being put together into a secret government task force to carry out black-ops missions is pretty friggin awesome and it does work for the movie. Especially when it’s often questioned about how the world and whatever governments out there would do if another superpowered being like Superman would show up and wreck everyone’s shit. There’s gotta be a contingency plan, and I guess villains are the logical conclusion? Whatever floats your boat, I guess lol.
It should probably go without saying that the performances in this movie are awesome. Will Smith was dead-on as Deadshot, while not quite being as “Will Smithy” as other roles in the past, he hits all the bullseyes in portraying a grizzled, snarky, and caring hitman with a heart of gold under all his cynicism, and it’s cute seeing him bond with his young daughter Zoe and trying to do right by her. Jai Courtney was a hilarious blast as Captain Boomerang (now I haven’t watched a lot of Jai Courtney stuff, other than Spartacus and I, Frankenstein, but I don’t think he deserves all the flak he gets, he just probably gets crap movies and he deserves better), being a rascal while also kind of a badass in his own right despite wanting to ditch the team at times (also I guess he came back to join with the team near the end because he figured he got nothing better to do? idk). Viola Davis manages to bring levels of intimidation and no-nonsense attitude to Amanda Waller, the Squad’s handler, having a contingency plan for pretty much everything and resorting to whatever she can do to get what she wants, making her a force to be reckoned with, even to Batman. El Diablo (played by Jay Hernandez) is pretty much the “resident Hulk” of the team, having a lot of power but afraid to unleash it and hurt people like he did in the past, and it can seem a bit forced at times with that aspect, but it’s endearing and kinda charming, particularly with how it helps him out in the end. Joel Kinnamon is cool and tough in playing the field leader, Rick Flag, being frustrated in leading this team of, as Hillary Clinton would call Trump supporters, “deplorables”, but also having kind of a heart underneath in caring for his love interest June Moone and eventually the Squad as well. Everyone else in their roles is pretty awesome as well, from Katana (Karen Fukuhara) to even Slipknot (played by Adam Beach), who is obviously just there so he can get killed by headbomb, and some of the side characters just made for this movie. The only one I’m not too sure of is Killer Croc (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and while I get the part of the formation of the movie, as well as other depictions of the Suicide Squad in any form, is that there’s no actual “original lineup”, due to the ever-rotating nature of said lineup (yes there’s the WWII Suicide Squad but they don’t exactly count for this movie). Because the team exists as a way to shave off prison time, members tend to come and go as they please, and Killer Croc seems like one of those members. Katana almost seems like one of those too at times, but she’s there to fulfill the role that Bronze Tiger had in the comics, which is being the stern, mysterious second-in-command type of character. Killer Croc is just there for window dressing, though he does do stuff at times. Heck, Batman (played by Ben Affleck), who is awesome in this movie and BS too btw, does more than Croc in this movie and probably has more of an impact, seeing as how most of the Squad is made up of villains he’s fought. There’s a lot of characters in this movie, no doubt about that, and this movie kinda jumbles and balances all of them at the same time. It is nice to see some bonding moments between them, like when they first meet outside of Midway City and later again when they all have drinks at the bar, questioning who and what they are, how they’ll operate as a team if they continue to do so, how the world sees them, and what possibly lies ahead of them.
Of course, let’s not forget probably the biggest showcase of the movie: Harley Quinn. Her role in this film is pretty much what you’d expect of her character if you’ve seen any of Batman: TAS, the animated films, comics, and other stories featuring her. She’s the wild card of the group, always quirky and crazy with a sense of humor and a ferocity to match. She is not to be underestimated, because that would backfire tremendously. Her relationship with her “puddin”, The Joker, may not be quite as fucked up as it is traditionally portrayed, but I do like how the movie portrays them as genuinely caring for each other (though I guess whatever extended cut for this movie that comes out might add more to it by showing the stuff people are used to when it comes to them). Ever since I saw Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street and heard she was cast for the role, I knew she was perfect for it and this movie definitely showed that. I was skeptical of Jared Leto cast as The Joker though when I first heard about it, yet once I saw the trailers and the movie itself, I think there’s another great live-action Joker to be seen now, and I wish there was more of him to see in this movie because he seemed intense and interesting, given all that Leto apparently went through for this role, so I hope whatever extended cut that comes out does show more of it.
Suicide Squad may not be a perfect movie, but it is definitely a breath of fresh air for DC after delivering a couple mixed bags so far for the DCEU. There is potential for them to make good movies and to make a cinematic universe work for them, it’s just a matter of how to approach it and see how it pays off. I heard that there’s gonna be a sequel and that David Ayer wants to make it R-rated, so I kinda hope that happens. I would really like to see the characters from this film be more villainous if they’re in it, maybe have new additions to the team from comics such as Doctor Light, Nemesis, Nightshade, and others, seeing as how two members died in this film, and maybe, ya know, do an actual black-ops mission. Bottom line, this movie was fun and I can’t wait for more 🙂 .