It’s been a week since DC’s Batman v Superman follow up, Suicide Squad was released in cinemas. Over that time I’ve had various thoughts about the film. So, instead of my usual style of review, I have instead listed 10 conclusions on the film instead.
Editors note: There are spoilers below. So if you haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet and want to go in cold I advise saving this page and coming back to it when you’ve seen the film.
*It’s clear early on that Suicide Squad went through a lot of problems during production. Even if you’re not one for following film news on a daily basis and went into this film cold, it’s obvious things did not go all that well. There is some hasty editing on show, characters seem to disappear and reappear without reason, back story’s are told then re-told as if the audience have forgotten what they were just told and the whole narrative becomes a mess that is nearly impossible to follow.
* Speaking of the narrative, just what was Enchantress attempting to do here? She spoke of building a machine, and if I remember correctly, will be making the humans pay for years of ignorance or something very similar. Instead Enchantress does little more than dance continually as if a teenage boy were rewinding Salma Hayek’s dance scene in From Dusk Till Dawn. What machine did she intend to build and why did it all look like the final scene from Ghostbusters? Oh and what was with Enchantress’ brother who suffered from poor CGI and going to the bathroom at the wrong time!
* What happened to the Joker? Much was made of Jared Leto’s incarnation of the Joker prior to the film being released, but you would be forgiven for thinking it was all a ploy to get people talking about the film. It would seem that many of the Joker’s scenes have been left on the cutting room floor, a point which Leto himself has publicly talked about being disappointed with. His beef is understandable and what’s more the shame is that he looks to be onto something with his version of Mr. J. Maybe a couple of his lines do echo Jim Carrey as The Riddler, but there’s enough creepiness and physical presence here to demand that we see more of him. His gangster style may not sit well with everyone, especially after Heath Ledger’s award winning anarchist, but there are layers to the Joker we’ve yet to see and Leto clearly wants to explore that. Let’s hope DC do the right thing and let him.
* In terms of the Suicide Squad the most memorable characters are Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Smith’s Deadshot has the right level of sass and charisma to make him watchable, while Smith is clearly having fun at being an out and out bad guy. It’s not something we’re used to seeing from the former Fresh Prince and it’s a welcome change of pace. Robbie’s Harley Quinn threatens to steal the show and is as twisted, if not more, than the Joker. It’s a role that Robbie completely owns and we can only hope her planned solo film gets the green light.
* It’s notable that the films heart comes from an unlikely source in Jay Hernandez’s Diablo. The former gang-banger with a penchant for self combustion has a heartbreaking tale that brings some emotion to the rock and roll going on around him. A sad story is backed up by an a character who is finally at peace with himself and his powers, but who is called upon to do the one thing he’s forgotten how to and be very, very violent.
* In a strange turn of events Jai Courtney is actually very enjoyable as Captain Boomerang. If Courtney were allowed more parts like this and he were allowed to show some more of that rugged Aussie charm, he would gather a few more fans and be a lot more likeable.
* It was inevitable that some characters would suffer with so many vying for our attention, but none suffered more so than the trio of Slipknot, Katana and Killer Croc. Croc could really have benefited with more of a back story to flesh out the character and a more imposing look than the watered down Goomba from Super Mario Bros. we get here. Katana and Slipknot seemed wholly unnecessary to the plot of the film. Quite why the top military man in the United States; Rick Flag, needs a bodyguard in the shape of Katana is beyond reason and her introduction was so tacked on it was embarrassing. As for Slipknot, really what was the point?
* In an effort to mimic Guardians of the Galaxy’s success, the soundtrack was an eclectic mix of rock and pop. And for the most part it worked really well, helping to give the film a fun vibe, something that the DC Extended Universe could learn well from.
* Why weren’t we shown more of Harley Quinn’s previous life as Dr. Harleen Quinzel and her budding relationship with the Joker? Furthermore to a lot of the Suicide Squad ending up on the editing room floor, one of its biggest crimes is not showing us more of Harley’s journey from Doctor to psychopath by way of her dangerous relationship with the Joker.
* Despite the Suicide Squad featuring some of the most dangerous people on the planet, it’s Viola Davies’ Amanda Waller who is the most terrifying. Her win at all costs attitude ensures she is in the driving seat throughout the film, even when she is captured by the Enchantress. Her figure looms large over the film and it says something about the character, who is clearly feared by this team of villains and is referred to as the Devil by Harley Quinn.
As a whole, Suicide Squad is quite enjoyable despite its faults. Yes it’s a mess and yes it has some very obvious problems, but it is fun and is a very enjoyable summer blockbuster. It may not be the home run that Warner Bros. and DC were hoping for and it doesn’t distance itself from Batman v Superman the way many hoped it would, but there is enough playfulness and energy to keep audiences entertained.