Okay, there are a few things you should know before going into this review...While I have written what seems like a ton of comic book reviews, I have never written a movie review and I wasn't even planning on writing this one so I actually just went to the movies to sit back and enjoy the picture show. The kids still call them picture shows, right? Because of both of these factors, please don't expect a fancy review like you'd get from the New Yorker or Cat Fancy. However, if you are looking for a review from a DC Comics fan who thinks that Bloodsport and American Ninja are two of cinemas greatest feats, then you have come to the right place! So, without further ado, here is my attempt at reviewing the Suicide Squad movie.
Going into the Suicide Squad movie, I was really looking for one thing...FUN. That's spelt F.U.N. in case you didn't know and at times, I was wondering if David Ayers needed that lesson. Sure, the concept of the Suicide Squad is dark enough...villains (super and otherwise) going on black ops suicide missions to work off their prison sentences isn't exactly Sound of Music territory, but it certainly should lend itself to some fun. Right?
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting this movie to be DC's answer to Deadpool, despite what the media tried to convince me going in, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for it to be somewhere closer to Guardians of the Galaxy. I don't want to hear the argument that DC needs to forge it's own path because they have tried and they have gotten themselves lost in the woods. I'm not saying they should rip off Marvel, just learn from them and make yourself something even better. Unfortunately, this is not that something better.
The biggest problem with the Suicide Squad movie is the story. To quote Roger Murtaugh, It's "pretty fucking thin." I'm not talking about the character setups and back stories, I'm talking about the actual story that is supposed to push everything forward. It reminded me of a combination of Escape from New York and Ghostbusters but without the fun of either of those moves. There's that word again. The worst part is, the actual threat is part of Amanda Waller's grand plan and was actually the thing that got the Suicide Squad program green lit. I thought Batman was the only one who made his own villains! As I walked out of the movie, my son actually said to me, "For a movie with a lot happening, not a lot happened." I don't know if that makes sense, but it sums up the story of this movie perfectly.
Before you go off and think that I hated this movie, I will tell you what it got right...The characters. While there may have been a few too many in the movie, I liked most of them and loved Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Actually, I have to change that to loved Deadshot and liked Harley a lot. If you got anywhere near the hype machine leading up to this movie, you couldn't escape the Harley Quinn/Margot Robbie victory parade that proclaimed her the best thing since anything. I thought she did a good job, but Will Smith stole the show, if you ask me. He played Deadshot as a weary, seen everything, but only wants to see his daughter hit man that doesn't have a heart of gold, but at least still has a heart. My biggest fear was that him and David Ayer would force this to be his movie, but instead Smith gives a subtle performance amongst the craziness going on around him...and made it his movie.
Robbie didn't go for subtle in her performance. That's not a bad thing since Harley is an over the top character and Margot plays it up to it's full effect. While I think that she started the movie off with a bang and slowly came back to earth as the movie progressed, I think she did a good job overall. However, at times, she seemed to only be in the movie as a delivery system to get Joker in as well.
I may be in the minority here, but I thought Jared Leto did a pretty good job as the Joker. It sure felt like he was going for an updated version of Heath Ledger's Dark Knight Joker and I thought he came very close to nailing it. However, that didn't change the fact that I wish he wasn't even in the movie in the first place. To me, he was more of a distraction than anything else and his screen time could have possibly led to a little more actual story progression. Seriously, the whole movie is him trying to free Harley Quinn and I kept thinking, "but Joker, she is one of my favorite things in the Squad...just leave her be!" Plus, why wasn't Batman doing anything to stop him? I guess he checked out after his quick early scenes.
I do think that Viola Davis played an outstanding Amanda Waller, though she wasn't a bit likeable and Joel Kinnaman did a good job as Rick Flag, though he wasn't as sympathetic as Ayer wanted him to be, but that's kind of where the positives end for me.
As far as the other character, Jai Courtney's Boomerang and Karen Fukuhara's Katana were both underused and it's a shame because both characters seemed like they had a lot of cool potential. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Killer Croc was not used much either and that was fine with me. Croc just didn't seem to fit in the movie and it may have just been me, but I could hardly understand anything he said.
That leaves El Diablo and Enchantress. Jay Hernandez did a good job as El Diablo, but his character progression was so disjointed that some pretty good moments ended up feeling more forced than they had to. El Diablo is a huge part of this movie, but he seemed to fade into the background until he was needed.
The same can be said for Enchantress. Cara Delevingne does a good enough job with the material she's given, but that's the problem, there just wasn't much there. She is a major part of the movie and yet, by the end, you still don't know much about her past her origin story. There is no character development at all and her motivation is as cliche as it is confusing.
I know that I sounded pretty negative throughout this review, but despite all my problems with the movie, I'm still glad I saw it. It's got plenty of action and some jokes that might be best served if you haven't seen any of the trailers. The Suicide Squad is a frenetic combination of good, bad and infuriating that just left me wanting so much more. Sure, it was disappointing, but it had enough character moments for me to hope to see it continue past this one film. Next time, though, I want some more fun! F.U.N.