REVIEW: SUICIDE SQUAD MOVIE
GARETH GOTHAMCITY R&D 09-AUG-2016 Being essentially the third movie in the new DC live action movie universe, Suicide Squad doesn’t change up much from the formula. This was not a movie I had any interest originally to see, since the trailers made it look like Guardians of the Galaxy.
Why to I bring Guardians into this review? To me it’s obvious that Warner Brothers is trying to match beat for beat to catch up on the trending success Marvel has had with their answers to other properties. They are trying to run before they can walk with their unified movie franchise, and once again they miss the mark. More on that, in detail, later in the review.
This version of Suicide Squad comes almost exactly from the New 52 comics – or at least where Harley and Deadshot come into play. My feelings on New 52 are fairly dismal and reinforced by the sales numbers and recent abandonment of the branding in lieu of the recent Rebirth initiative.
The casting for the most part, is great. Some are fantastic in fact. This seems to be a trend with the DC movies and the universe they are building. Where ever the stories are going, and who ever hopefully takes it out of Snyder’s hands, they will have a fantastic collection of people to play future roles.
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller feels dead on. When she’s in a room she’s in charge and can be just as intimidating as the Wall from the comics.
Smith’s Deadshot isn’t the character from the comics aside from the singular character trait of “Shoots. Doesn’t miss.” He has a daughter, like the original character, but everything beyond that is essentially Will Smith with a gun. He’s fine in the movie, but there’s nothing more to the character. It’s the same problem as Jack Nicholson in Batman ’89 – it’s just Jack Nicholson being Jack Nicholson. Smith is a fine actor, but he only ever really plays one role.
Boomerang is obnoxious, and tends to be mess of a character. As much as I hate characters like this, it does seem to feel true to the character despite how little he does in the movie. He’s mostly in the movie for comedic relief, avoiding any fight he can. When you’re introduced to him, you also get a nice moment with Ezra Miller’s Flash.
Mostly every character you meet, from beginning introductions to the end of the film, have no character changes. No one has a character arc, shows growth, or anything that actually comprises forward development. At the end of the movie there’s a feeling of emptiness from the story not changing anything to the universe it’s set in. Except El Diablo.
Somehow, by some miracle, the movie actually has a character with a nearly complete story arc. You get a typically tragic backstory; and he’s come to terms with what he’s done when you meet him in prison. While most of the Squad is all about getting out and causing mischief, El Diablo wants no part of any of it. By the end of the movie, without spoiling anything, he comes to terms with his powers and feels fully realized.
I’ll start by listing a few of the other members of the team that didn’t do much for me before moving onto anything else.
Killer Croc is a justifiably menacing character in the movie, but they do nothing with him. He has just a few lines in the entire movie, mostly sneering for his turn reacting to banter. There is so much more they could have done with him with small moments here and there, but I feel the writers just didn’t care beyond having a scary looking guy to drive home the idea that these are bad guys.
Margot Robbie is the focus of almost all the advertising, and seems to be the only character anyone cares about thanks to the cult status of Harley. I didn’t like most of what I saw in the movie, because her entire character is dumbed down to “Does anything she can to be with Joker.”
There is so much potential with Harley and it is almost universally wasted. Nothing against Margot Robbie, because she’s alright in the role – they just chose to waste her talents on what has long been changed for the better. Her portrayal feels very much like the Harley from the very beginning of the New 52 Suicide Squad comics, for the worst. Absolute waste.
The visuals and soundtrack for the movie makes the easy comparison to Guardians of the Galaxy. There are a ton of songs from the last few decades, but they feel completely shoved in to pander to the audience. There is no real reason for the music to be in the film, aside from pandering to the audience. This is especially obvious in the first moments of the movie with every member of the Squad as they as were shown (and told the background of via narration, another bothersome detail).
It’s night for most of the movie – turning it into a dark mess of visuals. Everything looks muddy or shadowed, which was probably done for ease of blending the effects. There were many times where the movie felt like a big budget SyFy original.
Let’s get this out of the way first thing in the section. Joker is absolutely horrible, and doesn’t belong in the movie. Period.
Every scene with Joker could be removed, and it wouldn’t affect the movie. He could be replaced with a lampshade and nothing would change. Every moment when he is on camera was painful, and not in the “Joker is supposed to be scary/sadistic/evil” kind of way. There was zero reason for him to be in the movie aside from Harley being in the movie.
Enchantress. Not sure where to even begin with this one. Everything about the character was wrong. Even taking the insane version of the New 52 Justice League Dark into account, it was just a total mess. She’s a character I liked during the Shadowpact days, but there is zero subtly and zero character arc in the movie. I could speak more to what was horrible, but that leans into spoiler territory and I try to shy away from that kind of thing with my reviews here.
Overall, putting the movie in comparison with other DC live action universe movies? It’s better than Batman v Superman, but not by a whole lot. Despite everything I didn’t like, Suicide Squad actually had a plot and a coherent narrative. It felt like a proper Suicide Squad story, despite lacking any old school sensibilities.
In the end, it’s not a great movie. Not the worst I’ve seen, but the animated movies under the DC banner have fared much better. Suicide Squad is like going to a bad restaurant with getting bad service only to go home and not remember if your order was right or not. Suicide Squad is entirely forgettable, except for those few stand out parts that make you squirm a little to remember.
Overall Score: D