Hello interweb, Nate here. So I saw Suicide Squad opening day! But before I get to this review I do want to confirm that I’ll be reviewing The Killing Joke either later today or tomorrow but I’ll definitely be reviewing it rather soon. I put a poll up in my Wonder Woman trailer review and I have at least 4 of you guys wanting me to review this animated movie and nobody seems to be against the review so I figured I’ll give into your guys’ desires and cough up a review for the movie. But I’m not reviewing The Killing Joke! I’m reviewing Suicide Squad! So let’s get into this! And as always, spoiler warning.
Movie Title: Suicide Squad
Produced by: DC Comics
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Writer: David Ayer
Director: David Ayer
Producer: Charles Roven and Richard Suckle
Running Time: 2 hr 3 min
So Suicide Squad is getting critically panned throughout with many critics complaining that it’s a muddled mess. Rotten Tomatoes – who I usually despise simply because people use their rating system as if it’s word of God (I’m gonna quote Rick here from Rick and Morty: “Think for yourselves, don’t be sheep“) – gave the film a scoring of 26% as of this review. Now just to compare this to the other DCEU films: Man of Steel is currently at a 56% and Batman V Superman is at a 27%. Meaning that Suicide Squad, according to Rotten Tomatoes at least, is so far the worse out of all the DCEU movies (which is saying a lot). It’s not even just Rotten Tomatoes at this point! Article after article I’ve been seeing saying that Suicide Squad is a terrible movie and everyone seems to hate it. I’m honestly shocked at the negative reception of the film because in my opinion Suicide Squad is so far the BEST DCEU film to be made thus far! Sure it has it’s problems (which I will be tackling as I get to them) but as a whole it’s better than Batman V Superman is is DEFINITELY better than Man of Steel! In terms of MCU standards it certainly falls short of movies like Guardians of the Galaxy or Avengers – heck I feel like Ant-man is even a better film – but with what the DCEU is giving us up til now this film awesome!
Ok ok, so I liked the film but what’s the story? So after Superman died in Batman V Superman, the government is worried that another metahuman with Superman leveled strength might come around that they’ll be unable to protect themselves from. So Amanda Waller tells them that she’s been working on a project called
Weapon Task Force X where she has gathered the worst criminals she can find and force them to do some good. This force consists of the psychotic Harley Quinn, the mercenary Deadshot, the pyrokinetic ex-gang member El Diablo, the thief Captain Boomerang, the cannibalistic Killer Croc, Slipknot, and witch goddess Enchantress. However the character Enchantress goes rogue and releases her brother to reclaim the world that once worshiped them. Now our Suicide Squad must work together to take Enchantress down or else Waller will kill them with mini bombs placed in their neck.
Now the story itself is pretty simple and the concept of a comic book movie focusing on the villains rather than the heroes is a rather interesting idea. The only thing that didn’t make sense to me is that the whole purpose behind creating the Suicide Squad was to have expendable team that would protect us from another potential Superman leveled threat and yet the only character there that could really do anything to protect us from Superman was Enchantress and she became our villain. Also, the fact that Enchantress was suppose to be part of the squad but then almost took over the world was never even mentioned. Although honestly those are the only two things that I really had a problem with, everything else about the story is fine. Sure the villain is pretty two dimensional but this movie is sorta like Deadpool in the sense that we’re here for the characters and not the story. Granted Deadpool got popular because he was a popular character before his movie. Barring Harley Quinn, I doubt anybody will get excited for any of these other characters. Unlike Batman V Superman I never found myself asking “Why is this character doing this” and unlike Man of Steel I was never bored nor did I feel like any of the characters were being misrepresented (except Deadshot but I was fine with how he was presented and I’ll explain why when I talk about the characters).
Speaking of Deadpool, I’m kinda surprised they didn’t go R-rated for this movie. I mean Suicide Squad is about villains with loose or nonexistent morals being forced to do good. They could’ve easily made this R-rated (or NC-17 but that would be too extreme) and while it does push the envelope as a PG-13 movie it still remains in that rating realm. There’s quite a lot of swearing throughout the films (“P*ssy”, “sh*t”, “b*tch”, and I’m pretty sure I heard a F-bomb during a song sequence but I could be wrong) which personally I didn’t mind but if you are sensitive towards profanity just keep that in mind. There is a bit of sexual content with Harley dancing (albeit fully clothed) in a strip club as well as a lot of sexual talk; but there are no sex scenes or anything (which actually did surprise me considering that Harley and Deadshot slept together in both the New 52 Suicide Squad comics and the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham). I’m not saying the mature content harmed the film at all (like I said, this easily could be R) but it is there so I figured I’d bring it up.
Now unfortunately there was a lot cut out of this film and I’m suspecting that they might release an alternate extended cut similar to BVS (you’re getting in a bad habit of this DC). There was a pic floating around online of Harley (in her psychiatrist outfit) pointing a gun at Joker’s head and that wasn’t in the film whatsoever. I also hear that 10 minutes of Joker’s screen time was cut which I feel might’ve made his appearance half way through the film add more levity to it. Also remember the part in the trailer where Harley’s serving everyone drinks and El Diablo requests for water and Harley replies with “That’s a good idea, hun”? Wasn’t in the movie! The bar scene is, but not that little bit.
Now the tone for this movie I thought was actually well done for a DCEU movie. It was a bit more light-hearted than the previous two movies with more jokes and humor thrown into the mix, but it also kept the gritty feel that this universe has established with previous movies. Now you really couldn’t get away with doing this movie without the humor when Harley Quinn is one of your major characters but it was a nice edition to the film.
Now if I had to say one thing this movie has worse than the previous two movies it’s the action. Now this is to be expected considering that we don’t have Superman flying around throwing people into buildings, but I have enjoyed the action in previous DCEU movies and this movie kinda lacked in that category. Now that’s not to say there were no action as the villain Enchantress turned many people into her mindless slaves that our “heroes” slaughtered. And when I say “slaughtered” I mean it, cause they were all killed by our “heroes”. The biggest badass of the team was probably Deadshot as when he shoots a gun he never misses unless he wants to miss, so at one point Deadshot was on this car as a horde of Enchantress’s monsters were swarming the team and he gunned down all of her minions by himself. There was also a funny scene with Harley Quinn in an elevator where she kicked some butt.
The climax of the film was kinda underwhelming. The entire team found themselves faced with the supernatural villain – à la Ghostbusters – and the coolest thing was really between El Diablo’s devil form and Enchantress’s brother. Otherwise Enchantress was defeated after being tricked by Harley with a very Harley Quinn move.
Now let’s go over the characters starting with out villain. Now I actually don’t know a lot about her comic book counterpart but that really doesn’t matter because if you’ve seen the movie’s Enchantress and the comic book Enchantress side-by-side then it’s obvious that she’s nothing like the comics. Here she was worshiped as a goddess 7 thousand years ago and then was trapped in a totem before an archeologist – Dr. June Moone – discovered the totem and became possessed by her. Once possessed, Enchantress used her magical abilities to find and unleash her brother and the two of them decided to reclaim the world. Her character is rather 2 dimensional but it really doesn’t need to be that complex considering that she’s just a character the team needs to fight. Although I really thought she was portrayed weirdly in the final fight as she was constantly moving. And not moving in a fighting way, I mean she was constantly wiggling and gyrating while the team fought her brother. Like seriously, she looked like some kid with ADHD who can’t sit still at a doctor’s office (and yes I also described Lex Luthor as having ADHD too, I’m starting to see a trend).
Amanda Waller was played by Viola Davis and I have to say she nailed her role. She was a cold and strong woman who did bad things for the good of her country. Like I said, the actual motive for creating the Squad was rather strange but I still thought she had a strong presence. Every scene she’s in you could tell she was in charge. Now I do kinda prefer a larger build Waller (in fat, not muscle) as that’s how I’ve always pictured her but at least Davis isn’t super super skinny like the New 52 counterpart.
Harley Quinn was by far my favorite character in the entire movie and Margot Robbie did an excellent job at portraying her quirky personality. Now she did have a lot of sexual moments within the film which many people (including, not surprisingly, a lot of feminists) are complaining about and saying that she was nothing but eye candy. Now me personally my main concern going into the film was that Harley gonna wind up being nothing BUT eye candy and I was worried when they showed her in the strip club very early in the film. However Harley was far more than that in this film and I’m so glad they didn’t make her just a sexual character that had nothing to do for the film other than that. However complaining that Harley was sexual within the movie makes no sense to me because sexuality is a big part of her character and while I’m not a huge Harley Quinn fan because she’s sexy (I generally don’t judge my favorite characters off their sex appeal) I can’t really deny that fact and be honest.
Now what I’ve always loved about the character is her quirky personality and her complex relationship with the Joker. I’ve already mentioned that her personality was spot on, but her relationship with the Joker was probably the only thing I didn’t like about the character. Now first off I do want to point out that Amanda Waller once described Harley as “crazier than the Joker” and that’s just false, nobody can out-crazy Joker. Now beyond that, her relationship with the Joker is suppose to be the tragedy of the character as Joker doesn’t care about anybody but himself and therefore has always seen Harley as nothing more than a person he can manipulate and control to do as he wants. Harley, on the other hand, loves her Mistah J and really wants to settle down and have a family with him (which I’ll get to that in a second) so the fact that Harley keeps coming back to him even though he’s – well – the Joker shows a rather unhealthy relationship that people can sympathize with. Now in the New 52, Harley has become much more independent and has grown to resent Joker and even formed a much healthier relationship with Poison Ivy and so if they go that route later in the films I would be pretty happy. However the way their relationship is portrayed here shows that Joker might actually care for Harley more than just a means to an end. Now I’m fine with him being possessive of her (after all he sees her as his possession) but at one point he throws her into a vat of chemicals and begin to walk away before ultimately deciding to save her.
Also we don’t really get to see a lot of abuse in their relationship here and it’s portrayed more as a weird villainous couple more than a psychopath manipulating Harley. When Enchantress at one point hypnotizes the team to see their greatest desires, Harley’s fantasy is to see her and Joker having a NORMAL family. What?!?!? No!!! Harley’s fantasy is to have a weird family with the Joker like what was shown in the animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker where Harley and Joker brainwashes Tim Drake to become Joker Jr. But here it seems like we have that dynamic where Harley thinks she can cure the Joker or whatever and they can have a normal family. I’m sorry but no, not buying it. So yeah I loved Harley in this but her relationship with Joker just didn’t stick with me.
Now that I have three paragraphs of this review dedicated to one character (which I don’t think has ever happened in one of these reviews before) let’s move onto the Joker. Now his relationship with Harley doesn’t work, I already harped on that enough as it is. However what about him as a character? Well honestly Jared Leto’s portrayal of Joker has to be one of the worst. Now really there’s three types of Jokers you could do: the mobster Joker (kinda like Jack Nicholson), the prankster Joker (like Cesar Romero), and the psychopathic Joker (like Heath Ledger and my personal favorite). Now Jared Leto’s Joker comes off on my as sort of an updated Mobster type character all blinged out and tattooed, which as a concept is fine to me. However there are very few scenes in the movie where he actually fits. Like the flashbacks are fine but in the middle of the movie Joker shows up to take Harley Quinn before crashing his helicopter. What was his purpose there? it did nothing for the film! Now it was hinted at the end that we’ll see more of Harley and Joker in future movies so I hope these characters develop more in the future but I didn’t find anything about his character to get attached to.
Will Smith really didn’t play Deadshot as much as he played Will Smith. Now first off I was against Will Smith playing Deadshot from the start simply because when I see Deadshot on screen I see Will Smith instead. So I feel like I should dislike Deadshot’s portrayal in this movie since he’s not really like Deadshot. Like if you’ve seen Batman: Assault on Arkham than you know that Deadshot isn’t as funny as Will Smith played his character to be. But the character was well written and his relationship with his daughter was pretty compelling. After all, a mercenary with a daughter who wants to be with his daughter but can’t because of his crimes does lead to an interesting character. I genuinely felt sorry for him at the end of the movie when the government only gave him so much time to spend time with her. So his character I’m kinda lost on whether or not I should really like him. He doesn’t act like the cold and serious Deadshot, but he’s well written and has a compelling relationship with his daughter.
El Diablo was actually a pretty surprising character that stood out pretty well. He tells us a backstory on how he was a high profiles gang member and he accidentally set his house on fire and killed his family. His whole shtick in the film was that he no longer wanted to do bad things so he was highly hesitant to do a lot of the fighting and using his powers. One thing I kinda was annoyed by is that I’ve read the early issues of the New 52 Suicide Squad comics and he was religious there but I didn’t see any reference to him being religious in the film. In the comics he left his criminal ways after he found God while here he left his criminal ways because he accidentally killed his family. I guess the way they went is compelling but I don’t see why they couldn’t do both.
The other characters didn’t really add much. Slipknot was in the film simply to die so we know that Waller is serious about vexing her. Captain Boomerang was a fun character but he didn’t add much. Killer Croc not only looks horrible but he just didn’t really do anything; and his backstory is “he’s a monster” (I’m not even kidding). Although I really didn’t care about the little they added simply because they were portrayed as more of supporting characters than the main ones.
Now Katana didn’t add anything to the film but I’m pointing her out because she was just had a weird way of not adding anything. First off she’s introduced very randomly. The team is in a helicopter and is leaving and out of nowhere you see Katana running up and jumping into the Helicopter where Rick Flag goes “Oh hey you’re late! Guys this is a character that we couldn’t figure out how to introduce so we’re just randomly placing her here” (and yes that’s what he actually said… … …ok no it wasn’t, but it might as well be). Later on we learn that Katana’s sword holds the souls of those it killed including Katana’s husband who she talks to through the sword. However this set up is never paid off in the film. Like why introduce this fact about her character and then don’t do anything about it? They might as well have just added that as a piece of trivia on her trading card.
Also yes Batman did appear in here but he only had a small cameo and an after-credit scene. The after-credit scene established that Waller knows he’s Batman and knows how to find Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. So that’ll help with making the Justice League. Also Flash had a minor cameo too that I thought was pretty cool.
Overall the most of the major characters were portrayed well, the story was simple and cohesive, and the entire film gave me an overall good time. Now if you didn’t like the film than that’s fine, we all like different things from different movies. I loved this movie but I know a lot of people online who really hated it, likewise I disliked Man of Steel but some of my friends have stated that they enjoyed the movie. Overall I give the film a 4/5 and I highly recommend that you see it for yourself and make your own opinion on the film. Think for yourselves, don’t be sheep! Wubba lubba dub dub!