Image via DC Entertainment
I’ve got to be completely honest, as of recently I haven’t been enjoying the DC Extended Universe (otherwise known as the DCEU). Their films just seem to be rushing to catch-up with Marvel Studios’ solid track record of their cinematic universe, either relying on an overabundance of plots thrown left, right and centre (‘Batman v Superman’) or feature more spectacle than substance and a repetitive use of flashbacks to overcome the lack of character development (‘Man of Steel’). However, out of all of DC’s trailers, the Comic-Con trailer spoke to me, it was both refreshing to see a film focused on a group of villains, rather than heroes, and it looked like a ton of fun. Each trailer released, the film kept raising my expectation and hype; thanks, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, to a stellar marketing campaign, even though what I often say, the trailers are definitely misleading, but can’t say as it contains spoilers. Heck, this is my third most anticipated film for the year, so I wanted to love this movie and finally say, “Yes, the DCEU has recovered and is going in an interesting and daring direction”. Is ‘Suicide Squad’ as great as the trailers make it out or is it another disappointment in the DCEU?
‘Suicide Squad’ sees Amanda Waller (Voila Davis) trying to convince the government in green-lighting her daring idea of recruiting and assembling a group of “bad guys” who have nothing in common to stop evil forces, which Amanda argues that what if there’s another Superman who isn’t on our side. She assembles a special ops of villains known as “Task Force X” which sees Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Katana, Slipknot and Enchantress join the squad which Rick Flag is in charge of monitoring and keeping the group of bad guys together, with assistance from Amanda Waller. They embark on a mission to basically save the day. Oh… and the Joker is thrown in there. Oh… and Batman too!
Before I saw this film, I had heard that a lot of critics weren’t favorable to this movie, sporting a current rating of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes (which averages critics’ scores based on how many gave it a positive review). However, with every film, and yes I had this mindset when I saw ‘Ice Age: Collision Course’, I give every movie a chance, despite what my feelings are or my expectations as films I had no interest whatsoever turned out to be some of my favourite films, such as ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ or ‘Goosebumps’ as recent examples. So with my incredibly high excitement still intact to see this film and judge it by what I see, while I was slightly underwhelmed with the final product, I still enjoyed it and found it entertaining for the most part.
While the film may seem similar to Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ of taking these bad guy rejects and turning them into a functional group, the differences is the film’s characters and the reason for them coming together as a group. For the most part, I really liked these characters, and in some cases, really invested and cared for these group of bad guys. Of course, the film’s two main leads of the group Will Smith and Margot Robbie are exceptional in their roles and are perfectly cast and have a good balance of humour and even sporting some form of humanity still present in them, despite their “crazy” status that they refer to this group in the film. Deadshot is trying to do right for his daughter, despite his status as an assassin. Harley Quinn is a smart psychiatrist, who is corrupted by her love for Mr. J. Surprising me is the character of El Diablo, portrayed by Jay Hernandez, who becomes more of a sidelined character that doesn’t really do much with his powers in the first half of this film, to a fully-fledged character who has one of the saddest backstories, that ultimately left me in tears by the way that scene was handled and his motivations for the first half makes more sense after his backstory is revealed, which I ultimately loved and is one of the elements that makes this film incredible. Although, while I liked the elements they introduced with the characters of Katana and Captain Boomerang, I wanted them to be more developed, but I did like these two. However, Killer Croc didn’t really do much, and was more like “why is he in the group?”
Although, Enchantress I have a mixed reception towards. I liked her when she was creepy and looked like she came out from ‘Lights Out’. However, when she transformed, she looked way too silly and looked like she was in a different film. I’m trying not to go into much as I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen or decided in checking ‘Suicide Squad’ out yet. Jared Leto’s Joker was way too over the top that didn’t present himself as this menacing foe, which I was hoping for the best from what I saw in the trailer, but ended up being the most disappointing performance in the film.
Still, with my enjoyment, I did find problems with the film. I’ve mentioned a few earlier in this review, but along with those is that the middle act can be a tad bit hollow, like this squad was in a videogame and moving from floor to floor, like you do in a videogame by levelling up. It got a bit too tedious and repetitive, despite the action being fun and well executed. I found that maybe the second act could have been tighter or some shots could have deleted in terms of giving more time with these character’s backstories which are interesting, but seem to have been rushed along sadly, as evidenced by certain shots deleted from the film that are present in the trailers, mainly referring to Joker and Harley’s relationship. I also would have liked Rick and June’s relationship fleshed out more, and ended up not having a big impact when you get to the third act, which is the most disappointing aspect of the film the most.
In the end, I liked 80% of this movie as I found myself enjoying the film’s craziness of its action and even laughing at the film’s humour, which often delivers than misses. The film has heart and interesting characters, while being disappointing over a few characters and a third act that doesn’t deliver. Although, while it is a bit uneven, is it a fun uneven film? Absolutely. It’s an entertaining mess – the second time I have ever labelled a film (the first was this year’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’).