Let’s talk about Suicide Squad shall we? I already wrote my spoiler-free review (go check that out first), so let’s get down to the juicy bits: spoilers. I’m just going to jump into it to save you some of the fluff. Let’s start out with what I liked.
Most of the Cast
WILL SMITH’S DEADSHOT
I had my doubts about Will Smith playing Deadshot, and not because I don’t like Will Smith, it’s just because I didn’t see Deadshot as a Will Smith character, but he did prove me wrong. Of course, it’s a Will Smith Deadshot, but it still worked. I did like that they did a little bit of an origin story for him too. I know some people want to see a solo Deadshot movie, but I personally don’t know how that would work. I think having Deadshot in the Suicide Squad potential franchise is better. Maybe have him pop up in other films – like that solo Batman film? I mean we did see him with Batman in the film, so it makes sense. Even his dream that Enchantress gives him near the end of the film is killing Batman. Nonetheless, I don’t mind seeing more Smith as Deadshot.
MARGOT ROBBIE’S HARLEY QUINN
Arguably, one of the (many) reasons people will go watch Suicide Squad is the first big-screen appearance of Harley Quinn, played by the lovely and great Margot Robbie. Harley has a good chunk of great moments in the film, even having that solo fight sequences in the elevator, but I liked that they actually gave her space away from The Joker (which I’ll get to later). Of course, we see flashbacks, although not all of them since scenes were cut from the film but that’s fine. Robbie does really channel Harley from beginning to end, but there were times where I thought they may have taken it just a little over. Some have already said the film is over sexualizing her, which you can’t really disagree with, but at the same time, it’s who the character is. That’s not a valid answer, but it is what it is.
VIOLA DAVIS’ AMANDA WALLER
I think this was one of the most perfect casting the film made. Davis has a demanding presence onscreen that you believe she’s this cut-throat, no nonsense government agent that is willing – as she does – to kill her own people to serve her own purpose. Although, the mid-credit scene sort of strips that away somewhat, as she makes a bargain with Bruce Wayne to protect her from the fallout of Midway City – also knowing that Wayne is Batman is a nice touch. It’s in that scene that she’s actually seems scared, something we don’t see from with the exception when her chopper goes down and is taken, of course not before killing some of Enchantress’ monsters. Waller isn’t someone who scares easy, hell she calls Enchantress a bitch before Enchantress taps into her mind to take defensive weapons. That might be a bit nitpicky, but it should be noted, either way Davis was great as Waller.
JAY HERNANDEZ’S DIABLO
I know many will probably be talking about Harley Quinn and The Joker, but for me, one of the character standouts was Jay Hernandez as Diablo. Probably the biggest wildcard of the group since we didn’t really know what to expect from him, but did he deliver. Also, he’s the only member of the Squad that wasn’t captured, he turned himself in after accidently killing his family. The scene where he talks about that, I wish they bought it up sooner because just that scene alone makes him, arguably, one of the most well-rounded characters in the film. He actually feels remorse, not like everyone else, especially Deadshot who tells Harley you can’t feel love and do what we do. Diablo is also, really, the only meta-human on the team, but doesn’t see his powers as a blessing, but a curse. Ultimately, Diablo makes the sacrifice for the team taking Incubus – Enchantress brother and other villain of the film – to the bomb site taking both of them out.
Once the action starts in the film it hardly lets up. While it would have been nice to see the Suicide Squad go at it with each other a little, having them come together as a group right away to fight off Enchantress’ literally faceless monsters was pretty cool to see. Especially in the first attack on the streets, where Deadshot literally takes over the situation, and mows all of them down with his weapons with a pretty great score behind it. The last act, while sloppy, does have that pretty cool sequence of the Suicide Squad coming together and taking on Enchantress head-on. Speaking of that final act Diablo vs. Incubus? That came out of nowhere.
Some of the Humor
The humor of Suicide Squad was something that was going to make or break the film, okay, maybe not the only thing, but one of them for sure. Thankfully, some of the humor is spot on and works. Captain Boomerang is essentially the comic relief with his light moment with Diablo, his random pink unicorn doll rightfully called Pinky, and his “exit” from bar after getting his freedom from Flag. Then of course there’s Killer Croc’s “I’m beautiful” line.
The Editing & Thin Story
Suicide Squad unfortunately suffers from Dawn of Justice problems in editing. The film literally has two different openings with one being the introductions to Deadshot and Harley, and Waller walking into the restaurant to meet with the government officials to pitch Task Force X – again in the film’s timeline – and reintroduces Deadshot and Harley, along with Killer Croc, Diablo, Captain Boomerang and June Moone/Enchantress. Sure it works for fans that don’t know these characters, but reintroducing characters is always a bit dumb, and sometimes it’s good to see characters introduced the old fashion way, by their actions. Also, the random Joker flashback with throwing Harley in the vat of chemicals kills the pacing the film had going for it. I didn’t mind the flashback, since it’s important to Harley’s story and transformation, but it’s really out of place. Then there’s the sloppy third act, although that has to do more with the underdeveloped villains and “story.”
Speaking of story, that third act really felt like Warner Bros. told Ayer, we want to up the stakes for the hell of it. I don’t think the film needed the Squad to stop Enchantress from releasing her “weapon,” it could have been about them forcefully being put together and learning to work together, or having the rug pulled from them after realizing that their plan all along was to save Waller and getting thrown back into prison.
Let’s go back to the villains in Enchantress and her brother Incubus. Their plan is kind of dumb. Enchantress says the humans worship machines now, so her plan is to build a machine and destroy them. Not only that, we don’t get enough time with Enchantress to really view her as a big threat. Sure she can pop in and out of anywhere she pleases – which she doesn’t use when she’s weakened at the end – and can make anyone her faceless monster slave by kissing them, but that isn’t really enough to warrant a good villain. She’s also not that threatening. Her design in off with too much CG, and again, we don’t get too much screen time with her. Neither is Incubus, whose design was terrible. I don’t like comparing designs, but Incubus looks like a knock-off Destroyer from Thor, but not even a good knock-off. Also, Incubus really doesn’t do anything worthwhile throughout the movie. He just stands there shooting tentacles out of his hands, and his only highlight moment is fighting Diablo.
Part one of her plan is to have meta-humans on Task Force X aka the Suicide Squad, but she only gets two – three if you count Killer Croc – meta-humans on the team: Diablo and Enchantress. That kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
Second, and this one really hit me afterwards. Waller’s plan for the Suicide Squad is to send them into Midway City to secure an unknown person. Not you know, THE GIANT PORTAL IN THE SKY. I’ve already mentioned that Waller is hardcore and ruthless. Again, she kills her own people because they weren’t cleared for the situation. But her plan is to put the team together to go save her in the middle of a warzone, with two gigantic threats in the same city? What the hell was the point? And why was she even in the city to being with? What if the Squad failed? She’s stuck in the city, and probably would have been caught by Enchantress anyway – who she undoubtedly mishandles and lets loose – I mean, did she really think she could handle an ancient witch? Or worse, when her plan goes down she could have got killed by The Joker. Speaking of which…
Jared Leto’s The Joker
Probably the other reason why many fans were looking forward to Suicide Squad was Jared Leto as The Joker. One of the problems with this was that no matter what, and no matter what anyone said, it was going to be compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker only because that was the last Joker on the big-screen. Which is unfair, but Leto knew that. Then came that picture that showed Joker radically different with him being all tatted up and with a grill. That wasn’t a good start for me. But, I did the right thing and put all that aside. Then I watched the film and… I didn’t like this performance. I wanted to –and I’m not a huge fan of Leto’s like others – but his performance of the Joker left a lot to be desired , much like the movie itself, and his nuances and ticks didn’t fit and it felt like he was going over-the-top when he didn’t need to.
The scene with him and Griggs (Ike Barinholtz) – the security guard – was what lost me. Joker literally purrs, at least what I assume was a purr, at him. I don’t know about you, but Joker doesn’t purr. At all. I literally thought it was the guy that was snoring before the trailers started, and fell asleep again. I know a lot of scenes where cut from the film – some are in the trailers – and some were even altered. One example was originally Joker pushes Harley off the chopper – after he saves her – to kill her, and in the film, they reworked it so he pushes her to save her.
I know Leto went all in to nail The Joker, and I applaud him for it I really do. I also appreciate that they went with the fact that Joker may actually care about Harley, which is why he goes through everything he does to get her back, but it just wasn’t enough for me.
Harley and Joker Painting Comes to Life
In what was a nice surprise, we see Harley in her jester outfit briefly in what can only be described as a fan service moment. The famous painting by Alex Ross was brought to life showing Harley in the outfit and Joker wearing the black suit. Nice little moment, but somewhat out of place too.
Batman and The Flash Cameos
Let’s start off with the quick one, The Flash. The scene was actually shot by Zack Snyder as Ezra Miller was already in his Flash outfit since they are currently filming Justice League, and Snyder just sent the scene over to Ayer to put it in the film.
When it comes to Batman, we already knew that Batman was going to show up, and he actually pops in more than once. His first appearance is when he takes down Deadshot. Of course, he doesn’t do it in the typical Batman way, because he doesn’t want to hurt Deadshot in front of his daughter. Then he appears when he takes down Joker and Harley. The plus here is that Ben Affleck actually plays Batman, and it’s not some guy Ayer tried to pass off as Batman – well, probably expect when Batman was on top of Joker’s car.
Common and Scott Eastwood
Everyone thought they figured out who Scott Eastwood was playing in the film. People said he was playing Nightwing, a descendant of Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine in Wonder Woman), I think even Deathstroke was a possibility. NOPE. He plays a random soldier in Flag’s company, and his most memorable moment is when he sacrifices himself by detonating the bomb that kills Incubus and Diablo.
Then there’s Common. Common was already assumed to be playing a small role, and he does as he plays Monster T – a variation of the character Tattoo Man – who has literally about two minutes of screen time and then DIES when Joker shoots him after rejected Harley as “his gift.”
What the hell was that? It didn’t come off as creepy or part of the character, it came out off as she was having some sort of seizure or had to really use the bathroom in her skin tight dress. I actually somewhat cringed when I saw it.
Killer Croc and Katana On the Backburner
It was actually kind of a shame that Killer Croc and Katana didn’t get to do more. You can arguably put Captain Boomerang on the list too, but he acts the comedic relief for the film, next to Harley. Sure Killer Croc and Katana have their moments, especially Killer Croc who literally man handles, or Croc handles, Enchantress by slamming her into some pillars. But it would have been nice to see them do a little more. Kudos go to Katana actress Karen Fukuhara since this is her first movie and she does a pretty great job in the limited capacity she had.
*Sigh* someone needed to die right? Also, I literally felt how uncomfortable people when he was introduced and hit the woman then saying “she had a mouth.”
June Moone Lives
This is one that I mauled over. We didn’t get any screen time with Rick Flag and June Moone as a couple, so we have no real connection to them as a couple. We’re just told they are a couple that was brought together by Waller so June has something to hold on to and come back. But with Enchantress about to die, after having her heart literally ripped out, Flag pleads with her to return June. When she doesn’t, Flag does what he promised June, kill them both. Then, somehow, June peels away Enchantress’ skin and embraces Flag. That would have been a greater emotional moment if we saw them as a couple. Instead it’s just a moment that happens. And since June herself isn’t in the film enough we don’t really care.
The Post-Credit Scene
I briefly mentioned the post-credit scene earlier, but another thing about the scene was the Bruce asks Waller for the folder of meta-humans, and shows Barry Allen and Arthur Curry aka Aquaman. This leads directly to what we saw in the Comic Con Justice League trailer, where Bruce goes to them. The only reason I bring it up, is because Bruce already has this information! He got it from Lex’s computer. Why would he need Waller to give him a file if he already had their names, and probably where to find them? Nitpicky I know, but it does need to be mentioned. Moreover, we can assume that Waller thinks anyone with powers is probably dangerous, but why does she files on people like The Flash and Aquaman? They haven’t done anything wrong?
I don’t want to bash on the whole scene though. It was cool to see Waller and Wayne have a bit of a war of words. Waller knows Bruce is Batman, and Wayne tells her to shut down the Suicide Squad or his “new friends will.”
Relies on a Bit Too Much on Fan Service/Knowledge
Like other comic book movies, if you know a bit about the characters before hand it helps. It’s true on two occasions: Joker and Harley’s relationship and Katana. With Katana, it’s mentioned in passing that her sword holds the souls of people she kills with it, but there’s a lot more to her character that the film doesn’t touch upon. It’s kind of a shame considering this is also Katana’s first big-onscreen appearance, and she’s a great character.
With Joker and Harley, it helps if you know a little from the comics and a little from the animated TV show. Their scenes are okay together, but again, with the scenes that were cut it could have been established their on screen relationship even better.
Okay, I know I probably missed something that I wanted to talk about, but these are the big ones that come to mind. Suicide Squad wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a great movie either. I think some of the hate is a bit harsh, but not without merit. Suicide Squad won’t kill you, it will just hurt you really, really bad. However, I do say you go watch it to make your own opinion.