Well..here we go again. After months (years for some of us) of anticipation, Warner Bros and DC Comics finally gave us the David Ayer directed Suicide Squad last Friday and we finally found out whether or not this villain-centric addition to the DC Extended Universe was its redeeming grace as many fanboys hoped or at least worth the wait. I’m gonna try as much as possible to not let my DC fanboyism get in the way of an objective review.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
Suicide Squad opens with a montage of our main characters, serving as mini origin stories for them and how they ended up in the clutches of Amanda “The Wall” Waller, head of ARGUS, a clandestine unit of the American government. The montage provides a fresh edgy look to the DCEU we’ve never seen before, with colorful palettes straight out of a comic book. You’re given a sense that you’re about to witness a fast paced no nonsense action galore. Yet Suicide Squad never seems to truly live up to its potential.
SKWAD immediately differentiates itself from the rest of the DCEU by embracing its comic book campiness. You’ll hear people talking about the freshness of its urban soundtrack for a long time. There’s constant witty banter throughout, giving it a light fun tone especially when contrasted with BvS and Man of Steel. It’s almost ironic that a movie about super villains would be far less grim than one about heroes but hey that’s DC for you. One of the biggest strengths of SKWAD is its stellar cast and David Ayer seems to be very aware of it (there are a LOT of camera close ups on individual characters). Will Smith’s Deadshot is the de facto leader of Task Force X and boy does he deliver. “The man who never misses a shot” never misses a beat and Smith does well to portray Deadshot as the sociopath with a moral code, who’s never one to back out of a fight. Margot Robbie’s arguably the best thing about Suicide Squad, not only because through Harley Quinn we meet the Joker (and establish the connective tissue between this film and the rest of the DCEU) but she plays off every other character so well, delivering some of the most memorable one-liners in the movie, and there are a lot. Harley Quinn is a damaged person as a character, The Joker’s personal favorite toy, but Robbie and Leto play off each other in a way that makes you root for this infamously abusive relationship like it was a genuine love story. Then you have Viola Davis Viola Davising the shit out of Amanda Waller, the stone cold head of ARGUS who’s even scarier than these villains (yes, even Killer Croc) and Jay Hernandez is explosive (pun intended) as Diablo. However the promising nature of these characters amounts to nothing but that: promise.
Aside Deadshot and Harley Quinn, literally everything about this film feels underdeveloped. The movie drags on for a bit and at some point I found my self asking “Wait there’s 90 minutes more of this?” The action sequences begin spectacularly but there’s never much originality to them and you start to get desensitized after a while. We’re never given a proper reason as to why our core characters were selected to be part of Task Force X especially for a mission of this scale. If you’ve seen the trailers for SKWAD, you’ve seen everything. The plot is as chaotic and unimpressive as the villain. Suicide Squad suffers from a case of looking like so much going on except nothing is hardly going on. The pace is jumpy and uneven, where certain tidbits of information that are supposedly meant to feel like a twist just fall flat. Another constraint on SKWAD was its PG-13 rating. It feels almost neutered, like the script was working around it instead of working with it. Deadpool is proof that an R rating can work for a comic book movie but Warner Bros seem to want to play it safe and settles for a measly PG-13, most likely to be able to sell more tickets. Speaking of playing it safe, for a movie called Suicide Squad you never get the sense that any of the characters are in actual danger. Call me a sadist but I prefer a sense of uncertainty about characters’ fates when watching a movie. Show me that anyone can bite it damn you. The dialogue doesn’t really work as well as the writers hope it would, some of the previously mentioned banter starts to feel forced. You can feel Will Smith try his best but nothing can save him from the cheesiness of certain lines he’s forced to deliver. My biggest pet peeve however, was the underuse of The Joker. Reading about all of Leto’s on set antics during shooting, nothing could prepare me for the 5 minutes that he actually did show up in the movie. We don’t see enough of him to determine whether or not his is a good take on the Joker and I immediately get nostalgic for Heath Ledger’s version, because that was a character we at least knew. In the end, The Joker makes nothing more than a glorified cameo. The actual villains of the movie, Enchantress and her brother Incubus, are as unremarkable as they come, so much so that the final resolution of the plot feels unearned at best and forgettable at worst. Their motivations are never made clear and for a studio that prides itself on well developed villains, DC makes a mess of things here.
Suicide Squad is a highly enjoyable movie if you don’t want to think too much. There’s little to no depth that requires constant attention and it’s fairly easy to keep up with. Everything else? Meh.