Suicide Squad Review

To call Suicide Squad a disappointment would be an understatement. I wanted to see Suicide Squad after the cast and characters were announced, before I viewed any of the great trailers making the movie out to be one of the best super heroes movies of all time. Written and directed by Training Day writer David Ayer, staring one of my favorite actors in Will Smith, and featuring my two favorite Batman villains Joker and Harley Quinn, it was like Warner Brothers were making the perfect movie for me. After seeing Suicide Squad, I can’t help wondering how things could have went so wrong. Suicide Squad is nowhere close to the worst movie I have ever seen, but it’s a bad movie in so many ways. From a terrible story to lame uncreative action scenes, Suicide Squad managed to let me down every time I began to hope this movie wouldn’t be a complete train wreck. Great performances from Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo keeps Suicide Squad from joining the ranks of Green Lantern and the most recent Fantastic Four as the worst super hero movies ever.

Deadshot was one of Smith’s best performances in years, and anyone that enjoyed Independence Day, Bad Boys, or Men in Black should love what Smith brought to the character. While Deadshot is the movie’s clearest example of it betraying the idea that you’re watch truly evil people forced to do good, he had the two best scenes in the movie and his motivation to reunite with his daughter and do something she could be proud of was good.

Spoiler
While Deadshot had three introductions, the one where he’s at the shooting range making perfect head shots with every gun in front of Waller, Rick Flag, and many soldiers random soldiers or security guards was one of Suicide Squad’s good moments. This scene did a great job show casing Deadshot’s skill and should have been the only introduction to the character. I also liked the scene where he’s standing on top of a car killing at least 30 of Enchantress’ mostly harmless zombie things.

I feel very conflicted about Suicide Squad’s version of Harley Quinn. This version of Harley acts and talks like versions of the character that showed up in cartoons, comic books, and video games, but her backstory is ruined in the movie and some of her decisions go against what I believed the character would do. The biggest issue with her backstory, is that the viewer never learns or sees why she fell in love with the Joker. Suicide Squad shows several short flashbacks featuring Harley and Joker, but all of them take place after she was obsessed with the Joker and none of them do anything to sell the idea that Harley is a great super villain that would be a vital member of the Suicide Squad. There is a scene in the flashbacks and another scene during the Suicide Squad’s mission that could have been great moments for Harley, if the story went a different direction with them, but they ended up being another disappointment in a movie full of them. By the end of the movie, I felt that Suicide Squad focused too much on her looks and jokes, and didn’t care enough about other a parts of the character that made her one of DC’s most popular creations.

Spoiler
The scene where Joker kills rapper Common’s character Monster T after he declines Joker’s invitation to have sex with Harley had so many issues that I’m not sure what writer and director David Ayer was trying to show the viewer, because it failed to make Harley or Joker threatening. Watching the scene I thought Harley was only pretending to be attracted to Monster T to catch him off guard and kill him. This would have been a great way to defend Suicide Squad’s decision to give this version of Harley one of her more skimpy costumes and maker her very sexualized. I’ve never interpreted Harley as a character that would flirt with other characters as a way to mess with them, but I’m not as familiar with 2011 reboot of the character that is the inspiration for the movie version. I though Harley only had eyes for the Joker, and the few comics I read involving the 2011 reboot version made it very clear that Harley and Joker are no longer together, so any flirtations or relationships with non-Joker character did not go against Harley’s core motivation. Since Suicide Squad started with Harley flirting with security guards to convince them to enter her cell in order to kill them, as shown when they enter her cell to release her for the Suicide Squad’s mission and she begins to attack all of the guards, it made the decision to not have Harley kill Monster T in the flashback even stranger. Initially Suicide Squad suggested that Harley was a crazy villain that used seduction as a weapon to help her commit murder, but then dropped that idea after about a third of the movie and she basically became a somewhat reluctant hero that will defeat the evil Enchantress to protect her friends that happens to wear a skimpy outfit. I also hated that Harley decided to rejoin the Suicide Squad and was basically the same character after she believed Joker died in the helicopter crash. Harley’s dream was to someday start a family with Joker, so why did she only spend a few minutes mourning his death then cheerfully join the remaining member of the Suicide Squad to finish her mission? What would someone who destroyed her life and became evil to earn the love of one man do when that man dies? It’s a shame the Suicide Squad decided not to explore what could have been a great storyline.

Amanda Waller was a highlight of Suicide Squad despite issues involving her role in the main plot and mission of Suicide Squad. Waller’s presence in every scene involving members of the Suicide Squad sold the idea that she was capable of keeping super villains inline and is a character I would like to see return in future DC movies as an eviler version of the MCU’s Nick Fury.

Spoiler
The plot twist that revealed that the Suicide Squad’s mission was to extract Waller made no sense. Why would Waller be anywhere near the location the Suicide Squad’s mission takes place? If the main point of creating a Suicide Squad is to send them places where they are likely to die, shouldn’t you avoid going to that same place? While to the Suicide Squad was called after Enchantress went rouge and many of Waller’s soldiers were turned into the worst zombies ever, Waller had to have known the mission she was sending Enchantress, Rick Flag, and the soldiers on was dangerous enough that she should have stayed in a safe location far away. If the mission was just to extract Waller, would the Suicide Squad ignore whatever Enchantress was doing and went back to jail had Waller’s helicopter near been taken down? These questions with the fact that the world ending threat Suicide Squad faces was created by Waller led to Suicide Squad having a worse story than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

El Diablo was the surprise standout character in Suicide Squad, because his character is probably the best example of what Suicide Squad could’ve been had it embraced its concept of forcing bad people to do good. While Suicide Squad repeatedly tells the viewers that these are awful villains, El Diablo is the only one whose backstory shows he was a truly evil person and the Suicide Squad’s mission is shot at redemption. But like every positive in Suicide Squad, there is a negative aspect that keeps El Diablo’s story from having the emotional impact it should’ve had. Without spoiling anything, when El Diablo does everything in his power to help his teammates, it comes off as laughable instead of emotional. Since Suicide Squad does a terrible job showing this group of people as friends or soldiers that band together to get through a hellish experience, it seems unlikely anyone in the audience would buy the idea that El Diablo and any member of the Suicide Squad put themselves in harms way to help their teammates. With El Diablo being the most believably evil character, some people could have issue an issue with one of the few Hispanic characters to show up in a superhero movie being shown this way. While El Diablo would have still been a Hispanic former gang member if Suicide Squad committed to showing all members of the Suicide Squad as truly evil people that use this mission as their shot at redemption, El Diablo would have been just another evil character among several evil characters and wouldn’t standout as much and the racial aspect of his character would probably be less of a talking point.

Spoiler
I rolled my eyes when El Diablo said, “I lost one family. I won’t lose another.” He has known these people for a few hours max, didn’t initially want anything to do with the Suicide Squad or their mission, only used his powers to make Deadshot shut up and protect himself, and his big emotional connection to his teammates was one conversation in a bar, but I’m suppose to believe he would sacrifice his life for these people.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing Slipknot, Katana, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc, because Suicide Squad doesn’t spend a lot of time developing them. It’s easy to forget some of them are even there during most of the movie and almost none of them have any real relevance to the plot.

Characters that do have relevance to the plot are Rick Flag and June Moon/Enchantress, and these two characters alone kill any chance of me giving Suicide Squad a passing grade. Flag is suppose to be the ultimate soldier, but is consistently shown to be the worst member on the team and appears to be completely incapable of defending himself. June Moon/Enchantress is one of the worst characters I’ve seen in any superhero movie. Her powers are unclear, her ultimate goal in the movie is somewhat unclear, and she had some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. And to make matters worse, Flag and Moon have a relationship that is extremely underdeveloped and ended up being one of the worst love stories I have ever seen.

Spoiler
I have never been more upset about characters not dying than I was to see Flag and Moon together and still breathing after that train wreck of a final battle. While Flag and Enchantress do not seem important enough to show up in any future DC movies, I would’ve liked that possibility to be much closer to zero percent than it is.

Before getting to the villain most people that go to see Suicide Squad are looking forward to, let me mention how terrible the main villains are in this movie. They make even some of the worst villains in Marvel movies look good and make me almost appreciate BvS’ Lex Luther. While it is possible to have a decent movie with poorly designed villains, the rest of the film isn’t close to being good enough to cover up the bad acting for one villain and bad CGI for the other. These villains lack any motivation beyond being pure evil and they have the worst henchmen you’ll ever see in a superhero or action movie.

Spoiler
I decided not to mention Enchantress and her brother are the main villains, because the trailers didn’t make it 100 percent clear that Enchantress was the primary villain, so I decided to make it a spoiler to play it safe.

I can’t say I saved the best for last, because the Joker that shows up in Suicide Squad is the worst version I have ever seen of the character. While Joker seemed to have less than ten minutes of screen time, what little I saw of the character made me hope this was the last time I ever see this Joker in a DC movie. Jared Leto’s Joker wasn’t intimidating or scary, didn’t seem to be sadistic or unpredictable, and was a mostly generic gangster with odd mannerisms. This version of the Joker could easily be a mob boss or gang leader that shows up in any action movie and not the iconic villain most people in the theater expected to see. I don’t know if Suicide Squad would be a better movie without Joker, but it definitely wouldn’t have been a worse one.

Spoiler
Going back to the club scene where Joker kills Monster T, Joker’s decision to just shoot him was the moment I loss all interest in seeing anymore of this Joker. First Suicide Squad left Joker’s motive for killing Monster T up for interpretation. Did he kill him because he enjoys killing and Joker routinely murders people that checkout his girlfriend, or did he kill him because Monster T declined his generous offer to have sex with his girlfriend? Second wouldn’t Joker do something more interesting than shooting a person? I don’t need Leto’s Joker to tell a fake story about his abusive parents, claim to do a magic trick and kill someone by slamming their head into a pencil, blow up a hospital, or do anything Heath Ledger’s Joker did, but I need him to do something more shocking than shoot someone with a gun. I had no interest in seeing the upcoming Spider-Man movie before seeing the new Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, but the new Spider-Man’s performances and his entertaining interactions with the other Avengers made me want to see Spider-Man’s next movie. If Suicide Squad gave Joker one great scene showing why people should want him as the main villain in the upcoming Batman solo movie, I could have forgave his lack of screen time despite being a major part of the marketing and little relevance to the plot. The club scene was one of the few opportunities this Joker had to make a strong impression and it failed to make a mediocre one.
4/10

Final Score

Suicide Squad is a slightly worse movie than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and a movie I wouldn’t recommend anyone see.

Author: Michael Bronson

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