Suicide Squad Movie Review

by

Suicide Squad is one of the movies I was the most excited about this summer. As a fan of the comics, I couldn’t wait to see what they would do with the franchise on the big screen. Is this the next big super hero hit? Probably not. Is it a good movie to sit back and enjoy? Most definitely.

–Mild spoilers below–

For those of you who don’t know, Suicide Squad follows a team of convicts brought together to go on dangerous missions that no one else can handle. The team is constructed by Amanda Waller who has been tracking down meta-humans and people with extraordinary abilities. The team is composed of Deadshot (the man who never misses a shot), Harley Quinn (the girlfriend of the notorious Joker), El Diablo (the devil who controls fire), Killer Croc (a crocodile/human hybrid), Captain Boomerang (A thief from Australia with an arsenal of boomerangs and knives), and Slipknot (the man who can climb any wall). They are put in the hands of Rick Flagg (a military leader who has a profession in every weapon in the army) and Katana (the samurai with a sword that will trap your soul). They are brought together against their will to conduct a search and rescue in a city where a terrorist attack is occurring.

The terrorist attack in question is being done by the Enchantress, a witch who has been alive for thousands of years and lying dormant. Humanity turned on her and sealed her away, but, now free, she is looking for revenge. After she starts her plot at the beginning of the movie, though, she is rarely seen until the end.

Plot withstanding, I have to say the acting was on point for the entire cast. I love these characters from the comics and each actor brought his or hers to life perfectly. I don’t think a better casting call for any of these characters could have been made. In particular, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and El Diablo  really shined in this movie and I loved every scene they popped up in. The characters of Rick Flagg and Amanda Waller were also perfectly captured, even though they didn’t really get an opportunity to show it during the movie’s runtime. The movie does a good job of showing the different personalities and styles of the team.

While the plot is very easily simplified, the characters are what make this movie. The characters that this movie builds can be thrown into any plot and I feel like it would work, as long as the plot contains action and danger. Sadly, though, even with the action being there, the characters never really feel like they are in danger. For a team comprised of the best of the best evildoers, this should be a good thing, but the enemies effectively look like they are made of glass during the action scenes. Some of the soldiers on the team outside of the squad build up these enemies as, “They can take a headshot and keep coming at you,” but then they proceed to die when Deadshot shoots them in the head or they get smashed into pieces with a baseball bat.

Unfortunately, the rest of the team really doesn’t stand out in these action scenes. They get quick cut away moments to how they are holding up, but overall it is either Deadshot or Harley that gets the screen time when action hits. They are also the only two characters to interact with each other outside of a battle minus one scene where one of the characters really talks for the first time. The rest of the characters seem to be pushed to the back and are only called during the action scenes. The rest of the time they do nothing more than make quick one-liners to the whole group or walk menacingly behind Rick Flagg and Deadshot.

Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and El Diablo are built up and used perfectly in this movie. They get just enough character development and backstory to make you feel them. Deadshot may be a murderer, but he is still loyal and has his moral set. Harley isn’t completely off the wall—she has wants and desires like everyone else. El Diablo’s motives and regrets are developed much deeper than the others. For a character I knew little about before the movie started, I felt like I knew him just as much as I already knew about Deadshot and Harley Quinn before this movie. Harley got the most flashback scenes in the movie, telling the story of her meeting the Joker and her path to becoming a member of the Suicide Squad.

There are plenty of references to the comics and nods to other mediums these characters have appeared in sprinkled throughout movie. Some brief cameos will have the theatre cheering from great nostalgia, as if to tell the audience that this movie was put together by fans of the comics. While these are few and far between, I loved every single one of them and I’m sure there are some references that I missed as well.

For the rich cast and characters Suicide Squad has, the movie builds everyone up to only do nothing with them. I would have loved to have seen these characters interact with each other more; they are a group of people with abilities like no one else that normally aren’t team players being forced to work as a team. I wanted to see some conflict or comradery among them, but instead none of that is present. Even the comradery between Deadshot and Harley is short-lived. I understand that this movie has a lot of characters to cover, but the movie did not do the best job of handling such a huge cast.

Killer Croc gets no flashback, background information, or character development, and only four lines (that I can remember) in the entire movie. I felt like he was thrown in because a part of the plot “required a guy who can go under water” and nothing else. Even in the one scene that appears to be meant for him, he is backseat to one of the other soldiers on the team he is with. Killer Croc is touted as this monster that kills anything and is treated like one in the prison he is kept in. Plenty of character development that could have been done for him, but nothing would be missing from the movie if he was cut out entirely.

Even worse than Killer Croc are Slipknot and Katana, who have no purpose in the movie at all. Neither of them ends up doing anything substantial for the plot. Neither of them are even slightly built up. Slipknot is introduced as the guy who can climb walls and Katana is the girl with a sword that can trap your soul. Throughout the movie these characters do nothing, as if the scenes where they were meant to come on the team were cut out of the movie for one reason or another. Katana’s sword plays a small role toward the end of the movie, but it could have been easily replaced with any sharp object. Katana herself has one flashback scene that is about three minutes long where she has more lines than the rest of the movie.

Joker looks like he was thrown into the movie just so they could say the Joker is in the movie. His flashback scenes with Harley function to show the kind of character Harley is and why she is the way she is. Other than that, the Joker’s scenes in this movie are pointless. The flashbacks involving him pop up at weird points, rather than appear in any logical sequence. The Joker has one really big scene in the movie that could have lead to an interesting subplot, but five minutes later things are back to status quo as if the scene never occurred.

One of the biggest issues with this movie is messy editing and pacing. The beginning of the movie starts with Super Smash Bros-style intro cards for each member of the team (minus Slipknot and Katana) which gives a description of how they were captured, where they are being held, and their skills. Essentially, it’s the audio from the first trailer played over colorful text. This is the only moment in the movie when anything like this is done, so it just feels out of place. Beyond that, scenes are timed strangely. Cutaways from one scene to another rarely make sense: for example, from an intense moment when the plot is developing to Harley Quinn smashing a window to steal a purse and uttering the line, “We’re bad guys; it’s what we do.” That was so out of place I was taken  out of the movie for a moment.

Nothing took me out of this movie more than the musical queues. The score for this movie is great, but the lyrical songs that are played during the movie don’t match the scenes at all. They fade in loudly, making nearly any dialogue playing during them impossible to hear, and then some even cut off mid-song as soon as the scene is over. It’s like there was a contract for the movie that promised certain artists their song would be in the movie, and the editing team was forced to throw it in somewhere where it doesn’t play right at all. This is the first time I’ve actually been taken out of a movie because a soundtrack was just so out of place, and not even in a comical way.

There is a scene where Amanda Waller wants to see what Deadshot is capable of and gives him an entire arsenal of weapons. He then proceeds to do what he can and shows perfect accuracy and precision with every weapon in front of him. The song during this scene just doesn’t match what is going on. It’s like they thought the scene wasn’t badass enough and needed something extra to push it over to that next level of badass but it just doesn’t work. A lot of action scenes are plagued with the same inconsistency problems.

Overall, though, I did enjoy this movie, but not as much as I wanted to. As a fan of the comics and these characters I really wanted to leave this movie and have it at the top of my recommended movies list. While fans of the comics will enjoy it, many will feel that there is something left to be desired. For regular movie-goers, though, the random cuts and edits may cause some people to leave the theatre not understanding some of the characters or why they were even there to begin with. I do recommend checking out the movie though, and I am very hopeful that a director’s cut does get released sometime in the future.