The DC Cinematic Universe is back with its 3rd entry in its franchise. Now if I’m honest, I am not the hugest Suicide Squad fan. I read a lot of the comics, I have read most of their new 52 stuff up until New Suicide Squad got boring and repetitive especially only having one excellent story arc, and even then there were some problems with that. I am currently reading the current Suicide Squad book though I am keeping my options open as to whether I am going to continue reading it. DC is clearly counting on this to be a massive success because they have made it one of their twice monthly issues which has been reserved for characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman and this could come back to haunt them, because if the film is not a success it may not lead people to buy the comic. The film is also coming off the back of Batman V Superman which I recently reviewed for the site and as of when I wrote this review I still had not seen the extended cut so I can’t give an opinion on it just yet. If the worst comes to the worst you will see it in my best and worst films of 2016 list. With Batman V Superman being a rather polarizing film it means that Suicide Squad is coming off of one of the biggest flops for DC, but whichever way you judge it, Batman V Superman was not a success and I thought that film was ok. I kind of liked the look of the trailers for Suicide Squad, though my cynical head said, this is just DC trying to get a 2nd team so they can compete with Marvel which now has 2 movie teams with Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. It also seems like a really quick way to introduce a ton of villains to the DC Cinematic Universe. The trailers do look really good though and I am impressed by some of the casting.
The film is directed by David Ayer who is a decent director and I thought he could do some good work with this material. Now I saw this after coming back from a music festival so I wasn’t at my freshest seeing this and I really wanted something good to come from it, since I do believe a good Cinematic Universe is possible, the problem is that Zach Snyder is the producer of this film and I am wondering how much control he has had over it. I am certain that most people are aware of the ending of Batman V Superman, but to keep everyone in the loop, I am going to make sure this not only a spoiler free review of Suicide Squad, but I will do my best to not give away any spoilers of Batman V Superman.
The basic plot of Suicide Squad is that it takes place shortly after the events of Batman V Superman with the government feeling the pressure following the end of that movie and the new potential metahuman threat. After a city is taken over by the enchantress (played by Carla Delevinge), Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) assembles Task Force X a group of prisoners with special abilities and skills to go in on suicide missions for the government and if they get caught, it’s their own fault, they are thrown under the bus. The team consists of Deadshot (played by Will Smith), Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (played by Jai Courtney) and El Diablo (played by Jay Hernandez). They are now led by Rick Flag (played by Joel Kinnaman), but there is another problem on the rise. The Joker (played by Jared Leto), having got wind of the operation has assembled his team to get Harley Quinn back and the two sides are heading for a clash.
Suicide Squad is basically another entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, it has a lot of strengths and a lot of weaknesses, however, out of all the three films so far Suicide Squad has the least amount of weaknesses. Yes, I am just as surprised as you are, I read the rotten tomatoes score, this film has 26% at the time of writing this review and I don’t think it deserves that whatsoever, this is a much better film than a 26%. I would like to remind you that Grimsby still has 38%!! I’m going to start with the positives as there are a lot of positives in this film. For a start, the costume designs are fantastic. The cinematography is also great plus the humour and characters are actually pretty good and so is the humour. I will go into more detail about that later and there are a ton of cool moments. Like Batman v Superman there are some really good ideas here, however, much like Batman v Superman they don’t take those good ideas and run with them and it feels like the film is half concerned with what it’s trying to be. Suicide Squads biggest strength, however, is it is not as ambitious as Batman v Superman. That being said it does suffer from the same problem given the lack of back story in the Cinematic Universe at this point so as a result the first half of the film where it introduces the team and various characters, all, who have not appeared in films prior to this feels very slow and truncated. The first half of this film moves at a snail’s pace. As a result, it just kills the momentum, the film seriously makes up for it in the 2nd half but it almost feels too little too late. I do admit I was drawn to these characters a lot more than I was to a lot of the characters in Batman v Superman but I’m just not feeling it. That the same for this whole film I wanted to love it and I knew there were some good things on screen, but I didn’t love it and I wanted to love this film!
The biggest issue is with the villains. Anyone who complains about the Marvel Cinematic Universe villains again, I will point them to this movie, these villains are bland and forgettable. Enchantress is built up as a member of the squad in the trailer’s but she acts purely as the villain this time along with her brother who looks like a left over effect from God’s of Egypt, who is played by rapper Common, but the biggest disappointment is definitely The Joker. Now the trailers and my plot synopsis and the trailers make it sound like the Joker is going to be much more in the film than he really is. He is barely in the movie! As a result he doesn’t leave much of an impression, which is a shame because Jared Leto is trying his best and it’s not entirely his fault. I suspect there are a lot more scenes of him that were meant to go in the final product and we will see that when we get the ultimate cut, but it feels, once again, like another case of Warner Bros not knowing what to cut and what to leave in. So now, as a result, the trailers feel like a lie! I will say I never really felt the spirit of the Joker with this version, it’s there at points and some scenes are absolutely fantastic, but they feel few and far between and as a result The Joker feels rather pointless. This is a borderline cameo! I may have said that I liked the 2nd half of the film for the most part, but I still feel, overall, it is a bit of a truncated mess. Granted, not as much as Batman v Superman, this film is smarter and has a free flowing plot, it just doesn’t quite work as a whole. It never reaches the high standard it needs to. The other issue is with the ending of the film. The film’s ending feels like a massive cop out. It also feels like it is building too much for a sequel that hasn’t even been announced yet. Granted, I think the film should earn its keep with its critics and audiences yet before it gets a sequel, I am just getting a bit bored with how many films that are sequel bating right now.
Don’t get me wrong, Suicide Squad still has a ton of merits. The characters are very endearing at times, especially Will Smith’s Deadshot, who I liked a lot more than I expected to. Harley Quinn is really cool and the spirit of her character is completely in the film, and despite the fact that he is bit of a plot device more than a character, I did kind of like El Diablo. As proved with the audience I went with, general movie goers and a general audience won’t be able to predict where this film is going. Comic fans will. If you are at all familiar with Suicide Squad, you will know where this film is going. The film actually feels rather similar to Batman Assault on Arkham, which was essentially an animated Suicide Squad film, but I think that film did a much better job than this version. The one thing that stands out, however, is that when it does get the team dynamic down its is really damn good and there were a ton of really cool moments, it just feels like a bit of a slog to get there and a couple of characters feel more like plot devices. Anyone who is familiar with Comics knows that not everyone is going to make it out alive, especially in a film called Suicide Squad. I won’t reveal who actually gets killed but let’s just say, one of them is very, very obvious. Also a couple of characters feel a bit added on. Katana, for example, feels completely like she has been added there to build up the numbers. I will give the film credit, it doesn’t try to build up too many future movies, although we do get the first experience that one of the main heroes is going to be in future films and we get more build-up of the Justice League movie, oh and stick around for the credits, because this time there actually is a post credit scene, plus there is actually a cool closing credit sequence. Overall, it’s an ok plot, but that plot should have been a lot better than it was.
As for the performances, there are quite a few standouts actually. The writing may not have been brilliant in this film but some of the actors really try to do their best with it. The best performances, by far however, are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, who both get their characters down perfectly. Will Smith was slightly better than I thought, but then again, it’s Will Smith, the guy is the king of cool. The only thing I can say though is that it is just another Will Smith performance, he has not entirely embodied Deadshot, better than I thought it would be, but it doesn’t entirely work. Jared Leto is trying his best as the Joker, and I think he could play an amazing Joker, I just think he needs a better film to do it in and I’m not just saying that cause he’s in the shadow of Heath Ledger’s Joker. There are no real weak performances in the film. The only one who doesn’t leave much of an impression is Common, who I didn’t even realise was in the film until the closing credits. The actors are pretty good for the most part and I think the performances are what can really sell what is a quite shakily written film.
Right, now let’s get to the action scenes, because actually, the action scenes are pretty damn good in this film. Some of them are shot pretty poorly towards the end but for the most part they are pretty well choreographed and very well edited. The martial arts are all well choreographed, there are some excellent scenes and some of them are very exciting, plus the camera work means that we get to see most of what is actually happening and you can tell what is going on. The downside, though is, some of the scenes at the end miss the point entirely and we get some really awful ones at the end. Not that they break the film, but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it.
I saw the film in 2D and despite the fact that I didn’t see the 3D, I wouldn’t recommend that format. The film is shot in the dark half of the time and the darkening effect of the glasses would definitely ruin the 3D. The CGI and the special effects in general are pretty good and the character designs are actually fantastic. I wasn’t really feeling the Latino sort of Gangster joke that they had going on but I think Jared Leto makes the best out of it and really suits the character as a result. Killer Croc is also looking fantastic, he resembles closely his incarnation in the Arkham Assylum video game series. Deadshot is looking pretty close to his character counterpart in the comics and Harley Quinn’s re-design is pretty good though they get a few of her classic iconic designs in there is well which is very much appreciated. The cinematography in this film is absolutely fantastic, this has some excellent camera work and excellent sound editing. That’s what I really appreciate about this film because it feels like there was a real effort to make something good here.
Suicide Squad is a film that I think is ok. Not good, not bad, just ok. I think it had a lot of good points and a lot of bad points though I am not sure which one outweighs the other. I have very similar thoughts to this as I do to Batman v Superman. The real strengths, however, are Harley Quinn and Amander Waller who I think were both perfectly captured in this film. It doesn’t spend too much time building up The Justice League movie and told its own plot in a decent way, it just missed the mark on a few occasions, most notably in the fact that there was not nearly enough of the Joker in this film, despite how he had been built up in trailers. If you are a fan of the comics, I would say give it a go although I would sooner recommend seeing Batman Assault on Arkham which is a film that did a much better job with the Suicide Squad. General movie goers and fans of Batman v Superman should probably check it out although I would urge a word of caution, this film is rated 15 for a reason, this is not a film for little kids. It’s other big weakness is the fact that the film is incredibly slow initially and doesn’t pick up the pace until the last minute mark and it still doesn’t feel like there is much back story to this DC Universe, but I think that will be fixed in time.
I didn’t see any other films in between this and Finding Dory so I will skip that part.
“So what are your thoughts on Suicide Squad, did you agree with me or do you have a different view?”
We have one more review left for August. Come back on 26 August where I will be giving my review of the latest adaptation of Swallows and Amazons.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and go read my review of Batman The Killing Joke now, if you haven’t already done so.
Calvin – Nerd ConsultantShare This Post: