If Suicide Squad did anything, it definitely provided us fans with a much needed answer. Will the DCEU change for critics? Or will it continue its dark tone from Batman v. Superman? They didn’t completely alter their universe, but showed they ARE willing to adapt. Now I’m definitely a critic of Batman v. Superman. I think having the same director for two consecutive movies makes them feel way too similar in style. If that’s what’s intended, then that’s fine. The Russo brothers’ Winter Soldier and Civil War mirror each other in that way, but it makes sense as to why. BvS didn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things. It did not feel like a Man of Steel sequel, even though it was intended to be. Suicide Squad showed me that a different director is what the DCEU needed. Was the movie perfect? No, not at all. Is its plot muddled and confusing? Yeah, a bit. DC needs to learn their lesson with trying to juggle so many characters. They are a confident studio though. Patty Jenkins and James Wan seem as if they understand plot more than any of the other DCEU directors. Where Suicide Squad shines is the characters. I talked about the casting choices in my Assault on Arkham review. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto are an all-star cast but honestly, only two of them shined bright in this movie. The action wasn’t anything spectacular either. I’m going to petition the next time I see a freaking blue light in the sky. So if the plot suffered from poor directing, lackluster star performances, and mediocre action scenes, what makes Suicide Squad good? The fact that it’s fun. Not Spider-Man in Civil War fun, but a villainous type of fun. The character development of the Squad as a team was really cool and their growth by the end of the film, left me wanting more from them. I can look past everything else because the DCEU is still a baby. So far, they’ve had a CGI filled opening, an overstuffed sequel, and now we have a refreshing third film that makes you remember, “They’re the bad guys.”
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know how much I didn’t care for BvS. Even the Ultimate Edition didn’t add anything for me. The simple fact that Batman and Superman wanted to kill each other still pisses me off. A slap in the face to over 75 years of comics. Suicide Squad seemed completely different to me at first. The first comic-con trailer a full year ago showed us a dark, twisted movie. The singing of the girl in the background definitely gave the trailer an eerie feeling. Fast forward a couple of months. A new trailer came out that showcased a more light-hearted view of the Squad. Every TV spot after that got goofier and goofier. I was like, “What the hell!” I don’t care about dark tone at all in superhero movies. Not one bit. The tone was the LAST thing I hated about BvS and Man of Steel. With the release of the cheery trailers, I couldn’t help but feel Suicide Squad was trying to imitate Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel has proven comedy is their thing. DC has not. I was not prepared to deal with villains acting like Starlord and Rocket Racoon. I just wasn’t. So, for a while, I let Suicide Squad drift away in my mind. DC Rebirth, Civil War II, X-Men Apocalypse, Civil War, and a bunch of other superhero stuff occupied my thoughts. Then this week came around out of nowhere. The first reviews come in and what do we see? Critics hated it! As I write this review, they hate it even more. That’s crazy. I never listen to critics but still, it sucks when they just start bashing a film you’re excited for. Critics never have dictated my thoughts on a film. Still, I wasn’t too enthused about this movie. I didn’t like Margot Robbie’s voice as Harley Quinn, I thought Jared Leto just seemed crazy, and I was positive the story would suffer since the Riddler wasn’t in it like he was in Assault on Arkham (see my review.) As I walked into the theater, my mind was completely empty. No trailers, no critics, no expectations. Too many voices coming from both sides. I just wanted to get the movie over with.
A SHAKY START
The worst part of the movie to me is the beginning. The editing here is horrendous. Every transition made my eyes hurt and I felt the movie was moving too fast. It didn’t feel coherent at all. We get Amanda Waller, who wants to build a team of meta-humans to help combat the next Superman. We see a guy outside of her office selling Superman shirts, and on the back of them it says, “Remember.” This is pretty cool because it gives that little nod to BvS. I do like how DC wants to make Superman their focal point of the DCEU. How killing him accomplishes that goal is something for a DC Extremist to defend, but nonetheless, the overall respect Superman gets is good. We get an introduction to everyone in the Squad. These aren’t horrible, but once again, the editing bugs me here. The transitions are so jumpy it feels like different scenes were supposed to be in place of what we saw. We get introduced to every member during these scenes though. During Deadshot’s flashback, we see Batman’s cameo. A really cool moment happens here where Deadshot’s daughter stands in front of Batman as Deadshot is about to shoot him. She doesn’t want her dad to kill anyone else. It’s the first step in his development. The other backstories are pretty basic. During Harley’s we see Leto’s Joker. I don’t have much to say about him, other than he was disappointing. I thought the movie would expand on the nut we saw in the trailers, but it didn’t. There was no explanation of the tattoos and his teeth either. He wasn’t in the movie long, but the impact was very minimal. Not to mention I could hardly understand him sometimes with the grillz and his weird breathing. This Joker just seems crazy for no reason. He looks awesome, but he didn’t say or do much. He is needed for Harley’s development though so I get it. Everyone else’s entry is solid, but Captain Boomerang’s was hilarious. We see Flash here in a very short cameo. It was awesome to see him. I just wish the internet could shut up for two seconds, because I was literally counting down in my head when they were doing Boomerang’s flashback.
The scene in the prison courtyard was one of the funniest parts of the movie. We see how lethal Deadshot is with any weapon. The part where he points the gun at the annoying guard had me dying. Harley Quinn’s jokes here were funny as well. El Diablo’s first lines of dialogue are awesome too. He is asked to join the Squad, but says he refuses to use his powers to hurt anyone ever again. As he tells them to go away, he writes “BYE” in the air with fire. Killer Croc looks great here in this scene. My biggest problem with his character came at the very end. He didn’t do much throughout the film either, considering how freakishly strong he is. Katana was introduced soon after. Rick Flagg, the soldier leading the Squad, says she has a magic sword with the souls of her enemies. The Squad then leaves in a helicopter to their mission. They are headed to the center of the city to stop Enchantress. She’s introduced earlier in the film with everyone else. Dr. June Moon was doing some research when she touched a cursed artifact that turned her into Enchantress. Amanda Waller has her “heart” though, so Waller controls her. The plot revolves around Enchantress breaking free of Waller’s control when she frees her brother. They hold up in a subway station and plan on making a weapon (that stupid blue light in the sky we all love so much.)
The movie starts for me at this point. The Squad has their helicopter shot down and Enchantress’ minions provide us with our first action sequence in the film. The scene was pretty solid, but my jumping out of my seat moment came when Deadshot let it rip and killed about 1,000 minions. I was losing it. This alpha dog thing between Rick Flagg and Deadshot was established early on in the film. Flagg doesn’t respect Deadshot because he is a contract killer. He tells Deadshot that when the shooting starts, he’ll “Duck and run.” After Deadshot goes wild on those minions, he says to Flagg, “That’s how I duck and run.” It’s a cool moment and another notch for Deadshot’s character development. Also during this scene, Slipknot, the man who can climb anything is killed. Like the Assault on Arkham movie, Waller places explosives in their necks so they don’t escape. Boomerang convinces Slipknot to escape and he’s killed instantly. I knew it was going to happen, and I knew it’d be him since he didn’t get any marketing.
While the Squad is in the building, Harley’s flashback extends. We see her at ACE chemical with Joker. The best Joker lines come here as he asks her if she’d die for him. Of course, she says yes. He then asks her if she’ll live for him. She says yes and falls into the giant container of chemicals. Joker joins her and the two have a moment. Their clothes melt off and Joker laughs hysterically. This is a cool moment, because you can tell Harley really loves the Joker. Margot Robbie’s facial expressions in this movie are great. El Diablo finally unleashes some of his power here too when some more minions come to fight. The Squad then learns that their target was Waller. She is doing something shady here, so to cover her tracks, she kills three agents that were in the bunker with her. Savage! I wasn’t expecting that, but Viola Davis did an outstanding job as Waller. They all try to escape on the roof, but Joker has hijacked a helicopter. His laugh here is terrible. He disables Harley’s bomb as well. As she jumps to her freedom, Waller tells Deadshot to kill her. Deadshot wants no part of it. He purposely misses Harley since the two have become somewhat of friends. All is for not though, when the helicopter crashes soon after. Joker doesn’t escape and Harley believes her puddin’ is dead (DC really likes to fake kill people. And they say Marvel doesn’t have consequences.) Waller escapes in her own helicopter, but Enchantress isn’t having it. She destroys that helicopter and takes Waller. Deadshot then discovers that Enchantress is their real target. He makes Flagg tell the rest of the squad what’s going on. It’s revealed that a poorly edited scene earlier actually involved Enchantress taking a bomb when Flagg told Waller, “She bolted.” The squad is fed up with the ambiguity of their mission. So they all head into a bar. This to me, is the best part of the movie. We get El Diablo’s full story here. It’s revealed that the reason he became a pacifist is because he killed his family on accident. Harley’s jokes aren’t needed here. She’s clearly frustrated though and doesn’t know how else to deal with the situation. She says a line regarding to life and how cruel it is for them. Life doesn’t care about them. The tone of this film shifted from action film to dramatic psychological action pretty quick. It was a bit awkward, and I wish the entire film had this tone. Still, the scene does a good job establishing empathy with the characters they wanted to establish it with. More on that later. The Squad then decides to finish the job, so they can receive credit for saving the world. Deadshot tells Flagg he wants his daughter to know he isn’t a complete piece of shit. I enjoyed this redemption side of the squad. They came together in this scene and the acting was solid. As they walked down the street, I found myself jumping up and down for the bad guys.
The last part of the movie was executed well. They find Enchantress but she spots them first. Enchantress intrudes their minds, claiming she knows what they want. Of course our main three only got visions. Deadshot’s was him killing Batman (would definitely think he’d want his daughter more, but whatever.) Harley’s vision is her wanting a life with Joker. They have a family, everyone seems happy and all is good. They did a great job of portraying Harley’s love for him. I thought Joker would be cruel to her in this movie, but he wanted her back just as bad. El Diablo’s vision was his family as well. He broke the spell though as he walked out in front of Enchantress. He told the Squad it was all fake and she was messing with their minds. The fight scenes that ensued after this were a bit messy, but El Diablo had his moment. Killer Croc and a couple of the other soldiers went underwater to plant a bomb underneath Enchantress’ brother. El Diablo unleashes his full power and turns into some type of fire monster. He says, “It’s on bitch,” as he charges her brother. The squad didn’t want him to risk his life, but he told them that he already lost one family, he wasn’t losing this one. I wanted to hate on this line, but I couldn’t. The film did a really good job of making these villains come together. By the end, you really want them to win. So El Diablo sacrifices himself and kills the brother. Enchantress is too much for them though. She promises to fulfill their desires as long as they join her. Harley is interested. She wants Joker back. She walks near Enchantress and bows at her feet. They almost had me hear for a moment. Harley just wanted to get close enough to grab a sword on the ground. She cuts Enchantress’ heart out. Rick Flagg then crushes the heart, freeing his June, who he is in love with. The movie ends with the squad returning to prison but getting special privileges this time. Joker ends up breaking into the jail, and this time successfully freeing Harley.
I’ll hit my positives for this movie first. The dynamic between the team was really good. Was it innovative? Nope, not at all. But I found myself enjoying them more than I thought I would. By the end of the film, I truly was rooting for them. I would go and see a Suicide Squad 2 mainly for their chemistry.
Another positive from the film, was the soundtrack. All of the songs were chosen really well. I bobbed my head on more than one occasion. The action wasn’t bad either. It wasn’t phenomenal, but it wasn’t horrible. Deadshot’s scene was probably my favorite. El Diablo’s transformation was insane as well.
Margot Robbie did a solid job as Harley Quinn. Like I said earlier, her facial expressions were on point. None of the squad members were annoying really. I was positive that I wouldn’t like a squad member, but I enjoyed them all. Captain Boomerang wasn’t too much either. I thought his jokes would be over the top, but Jai Courtney did a good job with Boomerang’s personality. It felt natural. I hope we see Boomerang again in Flash. Will Smith was exceptional. If anyone wondered why they made Will Smith Deadshot, they won’t be wondering that after this film. His one liners were hilarious. He mixes comedy flawlessly with attitude. He can tell a joke, and still look mean doing it. He commands the screen the entire film. I expected this, because Deadshot in Assault on Arkham was the main character. They built the most sympathy for his character in that movie, and Will Smith did the same. Perfect casting choice. Katana, Killer Croc, and Rick Flagg were solid as well.
My biggest pro of this movie, was the fact it still felt like a DCEU film. It wasn’t too goofy, but it wasn’t dark and twisted. DC to me has always had more soul than Marvel. Marvel tackles more relevant issues, but DC has a mythological aura around them. This movie had that. It had emotion. When Deadshot saw his daughter at the end, I felt some tears almost form. The DCEU has had problems, but the three films definitely have an emotional core. I was worried that Suicide Squad was going to go full on Guardians of the Galaxy. The only reason I thought that was because of the marketing. The movie was not as funny and adventurous as the marketing made it seems. If they would have marketed this as somewhat of a redemption story, it probably would have worked more. Why didn’t they do that? Mainly because people responded so well to the change in marketing after the first comic-con trailer. This movie proved to me that DC can put their legendary touch on the most unknown of characters. My expectations for Wonder Woman are already high, but now I am fully expecting DC to give me that emotion with Diana Prince.
Joker. He was the one aspect of this film I was truly, genuinely excited to see. Leto’s Joker on first impression to me is corny. It felt like a corny rendition of Joker. This is probably the most well-known villain in any company. People know who the Joker is. He needs to be executed flawlessly. Every second he is on screen he needs to take your breath away. Marvel has a couple of characters like that as well. Spider-Man is one example. Joker to me, didn’t need to be in this movie. The main scene they should have had him in was the beginning with Harley in Arkham. What they should have done was kept a shadow over his face. Draw this scene out a bit. Have them talk, give us a taste of who this Joker is. He isn’t just loony all the time. Joker is one of the smartest villains ever. Suicide Squad just gave us the crime boss Joker. His scene with Harley in the acid was interesting, but unnecessary. Just show us Harley going around the city doing her thing. When she’s in the club, have one of the guys come up to her. Except one of the thugs stops the guy. They start talking.
“You know that’s Joker’s girl right?”
“You think I give a damn? How can you leave a piece of tail like that?”
“Easy. You remember what he did to the Bat’s sidekick don’t you? I’d keep walking if I were you.”
Lines like that could give us an idea of the DCEU Joker. Harley could have talked about him more too to the Squad. She didn’t talk about him much. He didn’t make the film worse at all, but he didn’t help it at all either. Which surprised me honestly.
My other negative in this film deals with DC portrayals of the other squad members. Marvel seems to get the real meaning of diversity in their films, comics, and television shows. Can they improve? Of course. But shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First, and characters like Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, War Machine, and Falcon, shows me they care. Do any of those characters adhere to stereotypes? Not usually. Marvel eliminates that mess completely with their minority characters. There are four minority members on the main Suicide Squad. Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Killer Croc, and Katana. I’m not counting Enchantress since she wasn’t on the main squad, and I’m not counting Deadshot because he’s still a white male in the comics. Will Smith just brought an extra edge to the film that most actors, black or white, couldn’t bring. So with that said, the usage of Harley Quinn was fine. I’ve seen some argue about the sexist relationship between her and Joker, but that isn’t a big deal to me. That’s an established relationship in DC Comics. El Diablo was used well. The usage of Killer Croc and Katana was horrific. Killer Croc is super strong. He’s fierce and isn’t a horrible fighter. I just felt like he was completely underused in this movie. Katana too. She had some cool moments, but with all of her skill that Rick Flagg bragged about, she should have done more. The stereotypes present in all three show me that DC is still learning. El Diablo was some Mexican hood, with the tattoos all over his face, chirpy girlfriend, and kids who seems numb to the arguments. That happens in all households sometimes, but I just don’t like the fact they added the extra stuff. Then his whole pacifist thing. How many times have you seen that from a gangbanger in a movie? A ton right? Yeah, DC didn’t need to add all of that. Killer Croc couldn’t freaking speak in this film. When he did, he sounded retarded. Then, at the end, what amenity does he want? Freaking BET (Black Entertainment Television for those of you who don’t watch television.) I can’t begin to explain how stereotypical that is. So all black people in jail just want to watch BET. Get out of here DC. With Katana, I’m pretty sure she knows English. I didn’t like the silent assassin mantra they went for in this movie. Once again, how many times has that been done with Asian characters? Too often. I don’t get too heated about this stuff, but it was so obvious in Suicide Squad.
My last negative about this film was the plot. What was the squad going to do if Enchantress didn’t lose her mind? That was my biggest question. At the beginning of the film, we were watching a precautionary measure being taken by Amanda Waller. Well, that’s cool and all, but if I wanted to watch a story about secret government teams, I could’ve turned on the History channel. I get the point of making the squad, but movies should be reactive, not proactive. Thank god Amanda formed the squad at the same time Enchantress lost it. The big reveal when Deadshot found the binder was dumb too. It was meant to be some sort of dramatic irony I guess, but felt really weird. We all knew Enchantress lost her mind. The fact she had a bomb with her didn’t make it any better. They should have started the movie with Dr. June in the forest. Have her become Enchantress, then transition to Waller talking about forming the team. After that, then Enchantress should have lost it. Steal the bombs, kill some soldiers, all that good stuff. THEN, we should have been introduced to the squad. Have Amanda’s colleague’s come to her like, “So, about that Task Force X thing.” It would’ve made more sense. DC has tried to complicate their last two plots for no reason. BvS’ plot didn’t explain anything, and Suicide Squad’s plot was just piece together wrong.
Go see this movie. It isn’t just a popcorn flick. It’s a solid addition to the DCEU no doubt. Is it better than Civil War, X Men Apocalypse, or BvS? I don’t think so, but I do like this on first viewing more than BvS as far as character development and story go. The critics were expecting something completely different from this film, and I don’t blame them. DC marketed this film as a gut buster almost. They didn’t give us any team dynamics in the trailers or in the marketing. Now some of the reviews I’ve seen have been too rough on this movie, but DC needs to stop with the quantity of characters in their movies. Wonder Woman will be a nice change of pace. Will have a Man of Steel feel. But we’re right back in the thick of it when Justice League comes out. Why they aren’t doing the Aquaman movie first is beyond my level of thinking I guess (that was a joke to all you DC Extremists that swear you know more about storytelling than the rest of us.) But go see Suicide Squad. It definitely provides some laughs and the characters are awesome. I give it a 7.8/10
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