***Disclaimer: Do not see this film in 3D. Save a few bucks to see it in standard def, or go all out for the IMAX Experience (do it for the screen size, not the 3D).***
Suicide Squad is DC’s third and latest DC Cinematic Universe film to hit the big screen. It features a star-studded cast of baddies who are hired on by the complete badass that is Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to assist the US government in exchange for some time off of their sentences. At the time of writing this review, I have never read any of the Suicide Squad comics (but I will now), so I have no place in comparing the film to the source material. What seems like a very promising concept is executed in a hit-or-miss fashion, unlike one of the film’s main characters Deadshot (Will Smith) who never misses. The plot is not dull enough to bore you but doesn’t offer enough consistency to put it where it could’ve been. When the film hits, it hits hard and right on target, but slow pacing and some unnecessary plot points are scattered in between.
David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad kicks off by giving most of the main characters their own introduction, save for Adam Beach’s Slipknot who really deserves no mention at all. The film provides some character development throughout for these characters we have never seen on the big screen before, but left me wanting more. Squad doesn’t truly offer enough build-up for any of the characters to make you emotionally invested beyond the surface, but thankfully their casting saves the day and will likely leave you excited for what’s to come from them. The on-screen chemistry amongst these characters is one of this film’s strongest assets, and often can make you completely disregard the lacking character development. Sadly, this film’s biggest downfall is the inconsistent plot that, on top of the aforementioned lack of character development, doesn’t present itself as anything beyond mediocre or borderline lackluster. The antagonists feel like they were cut and pasted. A character that I felt held a lot of potential to be one of the show-stealers eventually succumbed to a cut-and-paste fashion of pointless antagonist (I’m looking at you, Frost Giants).
What many people fail to accomplish is attending a screening of a DC Cinematic Universe film expecting a film that is not helmed by Marvel Studios. Just a quick reality check, Marvel Studios does not produce the DC Cinematic Universe films. That’s why you don’t see X-Men sharing the screen with the Avengers (wait.. That’s not accurate at all… anyways). The DC Cinematic Universe is still a baby in comparison to the well-established Marvel Studios films. If you go back and watch Iron Man 1 (the first Marvel Studios film) or, dare I say it, Iron Man 2, you’ll probably find a solid realization that it’s lackluster compared to any of the (insert most recent phase here) films. Give the DCCU a chance, especially considering that they’re really onto something with their casting, which is what I was supposed to be talking about this entire time.
Suicide Squad’s cast really stands out to me. Characters like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) stand out exactly as I expected them to. They are fan-favorites and the film treats them as such, but more so the former than the latter. Deadshot, as expected, is yet another great performance that Will Smith can add to his resume, and he’s the only Suicide Squad character I think the film really gives you a reason to invest in beyond the surface. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) brings some comedic relief to the table from a character that, prior to the film, I don’t think anybody really cared who he was. Batman (Ben Affleck) makes brief appearances, equipped with the voice changer we all wish we had when we were kids. I like Batfleck, so no complaints on that end. Davis’ Amanda Waller character is a stone-cold bitch, but you’ll fall in love with the character for that exact reason. Aside from more minor characters, that brings us down to the character everybody was on the fence about: Jared Leto’s Joker. I am sure I’m not a part of the general population here, but Leto’s Joker did nothing for me. Sadly, he was written into the film as some type of gangster character, but his persona doesn’t do the character any justice either. Joker is an over-the-top character in all of his iterations, but it feels like Leto is trying too hard to be maniacal. At least with the critically panned Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor character from Batman v Superman, Eisenberg is able to pull it off while looking and feeling like a natural, narcissistic maniac. I’m going to give the character a second chance here, and hope that he fills the shoes better in future films, but Suicide Squad’s Joker left me feeling underwhelmed if I’m overexaggerating.
I know that Harley Quinn, traditionally, is infatuated with the Joker. I also know that she has some type of emotional attachment to Deadshot. Both of these are touched on in Suicide Squad, but that’s not all that Robbie’s Harley Quinn is touching on. Quinn is very flirtatious in the movie towards many characters, and they really portray her in what seems to be an overly sexual manner. Now, this movie doesn’t have any sex scenes, but it does have sexually driven material. It feels tacked on. Everything from Harley Quinn working for Joker’s “dance” club to her kissing a multitude of men like she’s in college (we all kissed a multitude of men in college, I mean am I right?) makes it feel forced, but it doesn’t harm her character’s integrity and they do attempt to justify it by utilizing Quinn’s psychopathic personality.
Suicide Squad’s soundtrack, sound, and effects are all pretty solid. Working in reverse order, the effects surrounding all the characters look pretty good but do have their cheesy moments. Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) looks worse as the film progresses and there’s a couple spots where Killer Croc’s movements look almost humorous, but there’s enough good to well outweigh the bad. The sound in the film is appreciable as everything from the gunfire to the thudding when they let the bodies hit the FLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR (does anybody ever avoid the opportunity to do that?) all sound exactly the way they should. The soundtrack is truly phenomenal. It features some music designed specifically for the film like Sucker for Pain by Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Logic and Ty Dolla $ign as well as the legendary Bohemian Rhapsody, covered by the not necessarily legendary Panic! At the Disco. Nonetheless, the soundtrack feels fit for a superhero (or villain) film and it was one of my favorite parts of the movie.
Suicide Squad takes a star-studded cast with nearly infinite potential and places them in a plot that’s difficult to care about. Nonetheless, it ends up being a fun time with many thanks to the incredible cast, a stellar soundtrack, and enjoyable visuals. Squad lacks in character development, but makes it up with good on-screen chemistry and leaving it open for future installments. Suicide Squad is the DC Cinematic Universe’s second step (BvS: Dawn of Justice being the first) towards a fully integrated, big screen universe, and I think developmentally it is better than BvS. Suicide Squad is not without its flaws, but it is a worthwhile investment and a necessary step in the right direction.