The third film in the DC cinematic universe has finally arrived, and it is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The trailers have been fantastic and got fans hugely excited.
Now when it comes to reviewing films I avoid any reviews before I see the film, and I also try to avoid the general critic or populous feeling and buzz about it, however the news on the poor reception of Suicide Squad has been a massive story and impossible to avoid without staying off the internet completely. It has even sparked a petition and Twitter accounts dedicated to the removal of review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. I still obviously tried to put all of this aside when I went in to watch the film (in what was a completely packed screen so it seems like the reviews haven’t hurt ticket sales too badly).
And the first thing that you’ll take from the film is how good some of the cast and characters in the film are. This iteration of the Suicide Squad has some great iconic DC characters, and some lesser-known ones who are really cool. The two who get the most in the film, and are really the leads despite the film’s ensemble nature, are Deadshot and Harley Quinn, played by Will Smith and Margot Robbie respectively. Will Smith is a proper movie star. It may have been a while since he really brought us anything great, about 10 years to be honest, but he brings such charisma and fun to role of Deadshot. He is such a commanding presence that he helps carry the film. Robbie steals the show when she’s on screen. Harley is one of the most people characters around, and she is near perfect in that role. Honestly the Harley Quinn stand-alone film is coming, and after having seen Suicide Squad, that can only be a good thing.
Other members of the Squad, like Rick Flag or El Diablo, might have their moments to shine in the film (although they don’t compare to Deadshot or Harley), but several characters really get the short shrift. Captain Boomerang pretty much only exists as comic relief in the film, and Jai Courtney actually does that pretty well, but characters like Killer Croc and Katana get almost nothing of substance to do in the film. I’ll come back to the villains and their roles later; instead I want to talk about Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker. I really liked what I saw of him in the trailers, and I fully supported the fact that had to make him different from what Ledger did in The Dark Knight. However, I wasn’t as convinced by what I saw in the film. But a film where he properly plays the villain could be what is needed for him to truly shine in the role.
However, there is a big problem with Suicide Squad. The story is pretty poor. It feels so disjointed throughout the film, it really doesn’t flow like actually events often. Instead you really get the sense that the writer brought stuff out of nowhere to just move the plot along. Such a weak villain in Enchantress doesn’t help this. I still have no really idea what her evil plan in the film is, there’s a floating weapon ring of some kind that will apparently destroy the earth. She’s assisted by a character only referred to as ‘her brother’. There was some real laziness on show there that they didn’t bother to name one of their villains or actually tell us what she was planning to do outside of ‘build a machine’. On top of this, I’m not sure why the Joker plot, outside of the flashbacks, is here. It adds literally nothing to the story, it’s pretty much just a marketing tool to have more Joker so as to try and sell the film more based on that fact. If they’d spent less time trying to cram that in, and more time thinking of a convincing and engaging mission for the Squad to be undertaking then the film could have been some much better.
I do have to say that some of the action was really good; something that I have attributed to all of the DCCU films so far. Every character has his or her own unique style, and everyone gets so moments of showcasing that. There is in particular one Deadshot scene that I found very cool. I also loved the soundtrack; there are so many great songs, something that shouldn’t come as a great surprise given the trailers. What did surprise me is how badly done some of the music cues were. It really took me out of the film at times, and if they could have gotten that right we could’ve been taking about the music in this film in the same way we talk about it in Guardian’s of the Galaxy.
On the whole Suicide Squad is a film that has problems, and big ones in the story department. But it is a big, dumb, entertaining, summer blockbuster. It could have, and possibly should have been great. But with the star power of Smith and the performance of Robbie as Harley Quinn, the film is elevated from a generic disappointing mess to a good fun summer movie, and one that is worth a watch.