You’re probably aware that DC is launching a film universe built around their most famous group of superheroes – The Justice League. We’ll see how that movie does next year, but for now we’re presented with a comic book team you probably never heard of before now. The Suicide Squad.
Made up of a number baddies – the most famous of which is The Joker’s number one gal pal, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) – The Suicide Squad is a cute little nickname for Task Force X. Earning some time off their sentence and really faced with no other choice, the rag tag group is assembled as an off the books solution to impossible situations. Sort of like the last season of The A-Team but with more comic book villains.
Now for those who might not be following such things closely, a little backstory on the development of this film is warranted. Coming off Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Brothers was greatly concerned. While the movie had moderate blockbuster success, it wasn’t the home run they were hoping for at the box office, and seemingly more critics and audiences hated it than otherwise. Suicide Squad (something of an off the wall choice so early in the connected universe game) was already in production but represented an opportunity for course correction of the DCEU. Now I’m hearing reports that this studio intervention is responsible for creating a bit of a mess, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Is this movie enough to get audiences excited about the upcoming DC film slate? Read on.
First off, this is a team origin story. A necessary evil, fine, but do we really have to spend so much time on flashbacks explaining each villain’s abilities, backstory, and how they ultimately ended up in custody? I didn’t time it, but I would swear the film spends a good half hour on these flashbacks that feel like they were edited together by shaking up the clips in a kaleidoscope filled with spray paint and Lisa Frank stickers blazed out of their minds. A lot of comic book movies have gone the “dark and gritty” direction, but this is the first I’ve seen that could be described as “bright and grimy.”
Deadpool showed how a movie about anti-heroes could be done in a humorous, subversive way that appealed to adults. It was fantastic. Suicide Squad goes for a similar off kilter sort of take on bad guys being the heroes, doing bad things to badder guys, albeit for a more inclusive PG-13 audience. It fails. The quirkiness feels forced and the hard edges a more blunt than sharp. For everything it tried to be, it mostly ends up rather bland.
Much has been made of Jared Leto‘s unique take on The Joker. It’s true, the clown gangster seems to be fueled by Ecstasy and Instagram rather than anarchy and insanity. It’s an interesting angle to be sure, but fear not – if you don’t like it, he’s actually barely in this movie. True story. Robbie’s Harley Quinn looks the part to be sure, but she also feels a bit off – more like someone playing the part of a well known character rather than the character herself. The real star here, which may or may not surprise you is Will Smith.
Playing the more or less leader of the squad, Deadshot the deadly assassin, Smith is on his A-game here for sure. Combining the badassery he’s loved for and the dramatic chops he’s respected for, he’s the undisputed star despite being left out of much of the marketing for this movie. Do you know what I would really like? I would like whoever is in charge of Netflix’s Marvel series’ to take Deadshot and do the same with him. I’d watch that show all day. This movie, not so much.
Will Smith and a few cool scenes that connect the DC universe are about all the good this movie has going for it. Even the soundtrack falls on its face – it’s made up of all the best songs for this kind of movie, but can never decide which ones it cares about so just plays small parts of all of them while patting itself on it’s back for some clever musical references that make other people groan.
Plot holes abound in this clunker that reads like a poor copy of the second Avenger’s film in many ways. Plus any number of other Marvel flicks. The team is fighting a problem they created, and Nick Fury even shows up after the credits. Well, sort of. That after credit’s scene, by the way, kind of makes the whole Suicide Squad concept seem kind of pointless. Not to give anything away since it’s actually one of the better scenes in the movie, but if you see it, think about it.
Surprisingly dull and bland with no emotional connection or genuine feeling it has a weak plot and no real point. If I had to summarize what the moral of the story was, I’d say it was that “Bad people aren’t so bad if they have a sob story, and the most evil villain is actually the government. And ancient witch gods, they’re pretty bad too.” I’m not so sure that’s what they were shooting for here.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this movie
Brother Hamster says:
“Well, it was better than Batman vs Superman, but it doesn’t take much.” And also something else much more pithy, but I forget what it was. He’ll have to remind me.
My rating: Two out of five hats