Suicide Squad is the latest comic book movie to come out by the people at DC comics, and is a film I have been curious about for quite some time. The plot follows a group of supervillains (played by an array of big Hollywood names) who are brought together and blackmailed into saving the world from an even bigger threat and are in return given reduced prison sentences. I think it’s very easy to hold big budget films, based on previously existing properties (particularly those based on comics), to a ridiculously high standard, to the point where they are either the greatest movie ever made – or they’re a stinking abomination. I honestly don’t think this is necessary. As such, I’m going to try and keep this review of Suicide Squad as objective and “level headed” as possible, whilst also giving you my honest thoughts. There are some things in the movie that I liked (or at the very least enjoyed), but at the same time there’s an awful lot about this film that just didn’t do it for me. It’s certainly better than “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”, but that isn’t saying much (as I didn’t think that film was very good)!
Most of the central performances in the film were incredibly well acted. As always in a film with a cast as big as this there’s obviously going to be a bit of a battle for screen time, but for the most part I thought they balanced it well. There were certain characters who’d pop up in the squad that felt a little bit expendable or underdeveloped and could have done with a bit of fleshing out in order to make us care about them. The main ones that spring to mind are Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Adam Beach’s Slipknot and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc who all felt incredibly one dimensional. Similarly, I was rather underwhelmed by Will Smith’s performance as Deadshot where Smith phones it in once again by playing the smart mouthed Will Smith-ish character that is no different to any other character he has played over the years, only this time around it felt rather forced. I can’t even begin to describe what was going on with Cara Delevingne as the villain Enchantress, who appeared to be doing a poor imitation of Sigourney Weaver in the first Ghostbusters. I half expected her to blurt out “I am Zul, are you the key master?” every time she appeared on screen. Despite this, for every iffy or underdeveloped performance, there was an absolutely perfect piece of casting that worked nicely. Margot Robbie managed incredibly well with her portrayal of Harley Quinn. I’ve always been a huge fan of the character of Harley Quinn, having grown up watching her in the 90’s Batman animated series, so I was a little bit nervous to see how they would translate her to the screen. But I think they absolutely nailed the character! She was funny (offering most of the comic relief), charismatic in scenes, unpredictable and a wild card, yet also had a few heartbreakingly touching moments. I also really liked Jared Leto’s take on The Joker, despite what a lot of other reviews have stated. It’s certainly a very different interpretation of the character, the ferocious gangster that occasionally reminded me of Tim Curry doing a dodgy impression of a clown in a Marilyn Manson video, but it worked for me. Leto’s Joker just seemed to exude this brooding sense of threat that made him dominate every scene he was in. My only real criticism of The Joker in this film is that I thought they could have used him a little bit better, it felt like he was meant to have a much bigger role in the film that was thrown away at the last minute to focus on some other things. That really isn’t a criticism of Leto’s Joker in-and-of-itself, but is more of a criticism on the director and the overall film.
Although I said I really enjoyed Harley Quinn and The Joker individually, I thought they handled the relationship between the two characters incredibly badly. If you distil the relationship between The Joker and Harley Quinn down to its purest form – it’s a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of domestic abuse and manipulation. The Joker simply isn’t capable of showing affection. Meaning that the relationship is entirely one sided with Harley being infatuated with The Joker and The Joker beating her in return. But unfortunately director David Ayer and the people at DC decided to sacrifice this incredibly important message in favour of a slightly ill-fitting Bonnie and Clyde rip off that didn’t do either character justice. Not only did this completely ruin any form of depth that this film could have had, it potentially destroyed our chances of seeing one of the most interesting dynamics ever to appear in comics on the big screen. The only reason I can think of for overlooking this crucial side of the relationship is simple – money. The lure of matching his and her Harley Quinn/Joker merchandise proved too powerful for the people in charge of this film, and I feel like both characters suffered with representation as a result of this choice.
This leads pretty nicely into my biggest complaint of the film, and that’s the way it was envisioned and put together. From a structural standpoint it resembles a strange Jackson Pollock painting, with bits and pieces thrown at it left right and centre. The entire film had this strange early 2000’s MySpace/Hot-Topic vibe that looked as if the director had drunk a gallon of neon paint and spat at the screen in a desperate attempt to evoke some of the quirky-ness that “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World” or “Guardians Of The Galaxy” had. I’m not entirely sure why they went for this aesthetic as it looked incredibly promising with the dark tone seen in the early teaser. The script was also a bit of a mess, jumping all over the place and with some almost laughably bad bits of dialogue. The erratic nature of the script was also not aided by the fact that the person responsible for the editing reminded me of an old man on a metric tonne of LSD, dancing around cutting the film like a serial killer in a desperate attempt to seem “down with the kids”.
Individually there was a lot in this film that I liked. It had a number of incredibly well executed scenes that I thought worked really well, such as the interactions between the members of the squad in the bar, and a touching scene involving Harley Quinn sitting on a car. But that’s all they really were – set pieces and outstanding moments in an otherwise constant sea of “meh”. For a film who’s marketing prided itself on being “fun” and “wacky” I found myself remarkably bored for the most part. Suicide Squad is essentially a film at odds with itself, every single step the film takes in the right direction is almost always counteracted by a ridiculous moment that drags the film back. I have no doubt that there is a decent Suicide Squad movie somewhere amongst the reels and reels of footage that was shot. But what we essentially have is another case of “too many cooks spoil the broth” where the studio has basically swapped out a good movie for corporate brand recognition.
It’s a shame, it really is, as I was rooting for this film to be the film that puts DC’s cinematic universe back on track. But sadly that isn’t the film we got. As much as I desperately wanted to give this film a positive review, as a reviewer and as a fan, we can’t keep giving them easy passes due to nostalgia and fandom.
So as a result, it is with a heavy heart that I have to give Suicide Squad – 5.2. It wasn’t the worst film ever made (as many people have said) but at the same time it certainly wasn’t very good.
There we have it! Those are my thoughts on Suicide Squad, I really wanted this film to be good (as I hate writing bad reviews) but I had to be truthful with you guys. Have you seen Suicide Squad? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Also while we’re at it, what did you think of Jared Leto’s Joker? As I seem to be in the minority liking him, but I want to find out what you thought. I hope you have an incredible week, thank you so much for reading my blog.
Till Next Time … DUDE OUT!!