Here we go, everyone!
We’re into the final stretch of the summer, going into the somewhat quiet time of the early fall. There will be some gems there but they are few and far between. But, let’s focus on what could be the final summer blockbuster, DC’s Suicide Squad.
If anyone has been paying attention, the embargo on the early reviews of the supervillain ensemble film was lifted a few days before the August 5th release date…and the flood gates were opened. Film review sites, mainly Rotten Tomatoes, bombarded the film with rotten and lackluster reviews. Just like it did with DC’s earlier comic book outing, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Comics purists and fans came to the defense of the comic book anti-hero films. A petition was even started to try and have Rotten Tomatoes shut down! Despite these early terrible reviews, these did not stop fans from going to see the film and form their own opinion. That’s exactly what I did.
Suicide Squad is an antihero ensemble film that covers an assortment of imprisoned supervillains being released to work for a secret government agency, led by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world from a powerful threat, in exchange for leaner sentences.
For timeline purposes, this film takes place after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Superman was dead and a possible threat has led Amanda Waller to create a black ops team of “metahumans” to combat any possible threats. At Belle Reve Penitentiary, Waller has her pick for her team – the deranged Harley Quin (Margot Robbie), elite hit man Deadshot (Will Smith), pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), monsterous metahuman Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and specialized mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach). They are placed under command of the patriotic but glorified babysitter in Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The wild card in it all and their threat comes from the witch-goddess known as Enchantress, who possesses Flag’s girlfriend, June Moone (Cara Delevingne).
Now if you have read my previous reviews, you know I don’t go too much into spoilers. Don’t expect a change here because I want my readers to make their own choice on seeing this or not. So the good things about this movie: the characters and the actor’s performances. I love character driven stories, even if they don’t feel three-dimensional. At least make me care about the characters. Mainly, the characters you really feel for is Smith’s Deadshot and Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Going into their origin backstories, the groundwork is laid down to care about these characters more than anyone else on the team. They dominate the majority of the film with Smith’s quick humor and Robbie channeling the unbalance of the femme fatale to make them entertaining. Hernandez’s Diablo was a surprising fleshed-out character, making the audience care about him and his family backstory. Other characters like Rick Flag, Killer Croc, and Captain Boomerang did not do much. I barely remembered that they were there until the action started. Overall, the characters of Deadshot and Harley Quinn and their connection carries the film rather than the possible teamwork of these comical maniacs.
Then there is what did not work for me: the overall story and the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker (Jared Leto). The plot was weak and bogged down the good work the characters were doing. The plot of the world destruction by Enchantress is too cookie-cutter, something that you have seen in many other superhero movies. Warner Bros and DC had a prime opportunity to make this a team building sort of film with the threat surrounding them. The plot did feel rushed, choppy as far as the scenes; this probably comes from the rush work that director David Ayer did with the six week deadline that he was given.
Then there was green haired grinning gangster.
Jared Leto, Jared Leto. As important of a part that the Joker is to the DC Superhero world, Leto could have been given more. I wasn’t given enough to actually like or hate his vision of the Joker. With Joker and Harley Quinn being on the same film, this relationship could have dominated or been a bigger part of the story. We are given a large glimpse into their backstory (Ben Affleck’s Batman does appear here and with Deadshot) but maybe I would have liked to be given more to decide on the Joker. We’ve all heard that most of his scenes have been cut along with some of Robbie’s. Who knows if these scenes could have helped make this decision? Just like the Ultimate cut of Dawn of Justice, there are some scenes that could have helped the film out; even if it makes the film longer, it’ll be worth it.
There have been parts where you can tell the studio interfered with the film, possibly due to the subpar success that came from Dawn of Justice. That fear of failure and not really knowing about these characters is crippling the DCEU. They do have a slate of films ready for the next few years and I believe that Suicide Squad’s timed levity and humor along with the dark and gritty is a good balance; maybe this film is showing that the DC films can go light like their comic book counterparts. With the optimism of the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League films, a little lighter might be the way to go. Speaking of the League, stay seated for the mid-credits scene. While I feel like this movie was forcing us and hitting us over the head with the DCEU’s next ensemble film, this scene did a better job of a set up than what Dawn of Justice did.
My opinion is that Warner Bros is the biggest enemy to DC Films, not the critics. Warner Bros should put some trust into this film division and see how they do without interference. This movie was not bad but it wasn’t good either due to the muddled plot and choppy directing.
But whether you are in the DC camp, Marvel camp, or just a superhero/comic fan, you should give this film a chance and make your own opinion.