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Suicide Squad Review

#SuicideSquad Review - FULL SPOILERS

So, let me start off by saying something I've wanted to say for a long time. And here it is:
There's a huge, HUGE difference between stating that "something is objectively good" and "I liked it." For a long time now, people on the internet try to equate the two. As if liking something means that it met any kind of standard criteria for being a quality piece of work. That's like saying that the Green Lantern movie was on the same level as The Shawshank Redemption just because you liked it.

Having said that, I really liked Suicide Squad. I really enjoyed it for what it was. But it wasn't a good movie.

Suicide Squad is an obvious studio-interfered-with movie that's attempting to do many tail-wagging-the-dog things. It's trying to:
  • "Lighten up" the DC universe because of all the negative flak Batman vs Superman got for being so morose
  • Create a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe since that was a sleeper hit for Marvel
  • Be a two hour trailer for the Justice League, since Warner Brothers is trying to reverse-engineer the success of The Avengers

But what it doesn't do is actually tell a cohesive story. It's a bunch of scenes strung together that are cool to look at. Dipped in a kind of neon-noirish candy coating. So the end result is a movie that is precisely a cartoon feature with adult themes that they shot with live action actors instead of voice overs.

If they had picked a theme (because there were plenty available) and told any one of those stories, it might've been a different movie. They could've talked about redemption; about US goals; about personal freedom; about leopards changing their spots; about justice; out of control power; about being human vs. being a monster; so many ideas available. They just touch on them, so the movie's about all those things and none of those things.

As it stands, the movie goes like this: Waller assembles, as she calls it, "the worst of the worst" to deal with metahuman threats. And that's in case the "next Superman" doesn't share United States values. What immediately happens is that Enchantress(who was the character in the movie with the most potential) double crosses her, escapes, and frees her brother.
Waller had demonstrated a level of control over Enchantress by having her heart in a box. No, seriously. The movie made it seem like her will was subject to whatever Waller told her to do. That is later undermined by Waller just stabbing the heart voodoo-style and causing E pain from a distance.

So the team is actually assembled to stop Enchantress' plan to build a machine that will wipe out humanity, raise she and her brother an army, and help them take over the world. Real Ghostbusters style visually. 

Both Batman and Flash show up in the opening scenes/montages. Batfleck's appearances were pretty cool. Flash's was brief. But here again, as the movie introduces the characters, it does so in a Parker-Lewis-Can't-Lose-Neon-Archie-in-Riverdale-on-an-acid-trip kind of way. Which means you can't really take any of it seriously.
So they go after Enchantress, and along the way, Harley double crosses them and runs back to Joker (literally so in one scene) and would have abandoned them. Joker in this movie is kind of an annoying skin rash that keeps popping up and won't go away. Waller takes down Joker's copter, so Harley comes back. And then they just kind of move on. Waller does make good on her threat one time, and explodes one of the Red Shirt villain's head.

Enchantress, after some hocus de la pocus from her brother becomes a different, cleaner, more Asgardian version of herself, and sends these Tar Wart ex-humans after the team. Long story short, they eventually figure out they have to blow up her brother and cut out her heart to beat her. So Diablo, who they've been unveiling all movie long as more and more unstable and dangerous, basically becomes Ghost Rider to stop the brother. Underwater Croc and his seal team set off a conveniently radius-contained HUGE bomb. Then Harley feigns submission to Enchantress and grabs a sword at the last minute to cut out her heart (and much too easily given Enchantress' power). Then Waller shows up again, alive, and puts them all back in jail with a few new accommodations because of their service. Extra credit scene is Waller and Bruce Wayne. She gives him what he already had in Batman vs. Superman, a dossier about metahumans, so it was really redundant.
Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang?
Again, he's the King of Meh.
Everything he does, you saw it all coming except the Ghost Rider manifestation at the end. Will Smith's Deadshot had the best lines ("I'm gonna rain on you like the Holy Ghost" and "If she doesn't make the cut with her grades I'mma need you to white people that thang"). His character also had the most grounded and emotional arc. Will Smith plays a man that loves his daughter to perfection, but he's Will Smith, it's what he does.
Killer Croc was the most ghetto, racist, stereotyped character I've seen in a while. He even TALKED like a slave, or a pre-Civil Rights Act step n' fetch it character. He continually made it clear that he was comfortable in the sewer which was a metaphor for the Projects, and he asked for the BET cable station as his reward. Ugh.
The Enchantress
was the single most interesting character for me. She had a Jekyll and Hyde thing going in. She was the only character that didn't embrace her inner monster; everyone else accepted theirs, but she fought it. And was victimized by it, because Enchantress possessed June's body against her will initially. There was such potential to develop
her, and I hoped against hope that they'd go deeper with it. But she became a less dirty version of herself, and then reverted back at the end after her brother was defeated. Wasted potential.
Katana, however, wins The Most Wasted Character award. She just shows up out of the blue in one scene, and just kind of does her thing for the rest of the movie. There's a little drama at the end when she's talking to her husband in the SoulSword, but she got no real development. I love Katana from the comics, so this was disappointing.
Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flagg character to me was so useless until he's barely worth mentioning. He was a vehicle to move the pseudo-plot along, nothing more.
And the biggest overhype? Once again, the stupid Joker. I will admit, I am Jokered out. There's no tension with him as a character, because we know he can't be hurt or killed. And Leto's performance? It was, unequivocally, non-distinctive. He pulled from Nicholson, he pulled from Ledger, he pulled from Hamill. Other than those stupid grilled teeth however, we didn't see anything from his version of the Joker that we haven't seen before.
Harley, on the other hand, was a delight every single time she was on the screen. We've never had a full live action version of her (just the back of her head on Arrow). Margot Robbie OWNS this role. They even showed some of the Joker-Harley backstory, and her falling into the pool of paint or chemicals to prove her love for Jokester was exciting and intense. Joker asked, "Would you die for me?" Harley said, "yes." Then he said, "Would you live for me?" and she said "yes" again. They pulled that relationship off well, but she was still the one to watch. She also unfortunately had main character shield powers because she should've been dead fourteen times over. She's not a meta. But oh well. Harley owns her inner monster better than anyone else in the film, and is always onstage. And it's endearing beyond description.
Best scene in the movie? It's towards the end, where Enchantress bewitches all of the Squad to see the life they really want. Guess what Harley wants? She wants to be normal. She wants to be married to a non-chalk skinned Joker Leto and have kids. Go figure. Margot made Harley beam in that scene with happiness.

On a technical level, the movie was far too dark in most places. Hard to see what was going on. And the fight scenes? Argh, the editing was horrible. You couldn't really follow the action except for the slo mo shots. The best example of how to do fight scenes to this day is The Matrix. You got to see all those wonderful moves. But in this movie it's kind of a darkened blur, and your brain just accepts that they're fighting. It doesn't get clear in most cases until the kill shot. Bloody mess. It's like they got drunk, turned down the lights, put a dark filter over the movie, and pieced it together. Double ugh.

So again, this movie is impossible to take seriously. There are just far too many plot holes and logical inconsistencies for this to be anything other than a live action cartoon.
Amanda Waller is the real villain of the piece. She's a heartless, calculating, relentless succubus that takes pleasure in flexing her muscles. And causing pain to the villains. Viola Davis gives a convincing performance here. There's only a very small amount of compassion in Amanda Waller, and its appearances are fleeting. I'm assuming there will be a sequel, but if not, I'm sure some of these characters will show up in other future movies.

You can enjoy Suicide Squad for what it is. Just don't expect too much from it.


  1. I knew they were going to snub Bae Kitana

    1. Yah, I was really disappointed at that. Kitana deserved much better.

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