Originally written on August 6, 2016
Reviewed By: Nick Poulimenakos
Ok… here we go… full Suicide Squad review *MILD SPOILERS*
Its been pretty evident that the DC Extended Universe is a very divisive series of films. Man of Steel and Batman V Superman displayed new takes on age-old characters that, while liked by some, was also vilified by others. Personally, I like where the DCEU is as of this moment. It doesn’t feel like DC is trying to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe formula and I like that a lot. Suicide Squad is no different and this film proves that the DCEU is heading in the absolute right direction.
Suicide Squad centres around a group of supervillains who are brought together by ruthless government agent Amanda Waller (played beautifully by Viola Davis) with the objective of stopping a supernatural terrorist attack in Midway City caused by The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), a 6000+ year old entity who inhabits the body of archaeologist Dr. June Moone. In Return for completing the mission, they get time off their prison sentences. The team includes DC Comics’ most deadly marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), the unhinged psychopath Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) who seems to be at an equal level of craziness when compared to her “boyfriend” The Joker (Jared Leto), Gotham’s resident reptilian cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the dangerous and hilarious Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), former gang member and pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and the master of ropes mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach). The group of rag-tag villains is led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who is backed up by his enforcer Katana (Karen Fukuhara).
What makes Suicide Squad so great is the undeniable chemistry between the cast members. Whether its El Diablo explaining his attempt to get on a road to redemption to the rest of the squad or Deadshot’s back and forth arguments with Rick Flag, the ensemble cast displays genuine chemistry when interacting with one another.
Simply put, Suicide Squad is the DC movie that comic book fans have been waiting for. Written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch), Ayer does a beautiful job of balancing the massive amount of characters packed into this 2 hour blockbuster. Aside from a few pacing issues in the beginning, Ayer blends together humor, dramatic back stories and blockbuster action sequences to a tee. The flashbacks with Deadshot and his daughter were emotional and captivating. Harley Quinn’s backstory was shot beautifully and gave a real look into the demise of Harleen Quinzel and the birth of Harley Quinn.
The characters that surprised me the most were undoubtedly Captain Boomerang and El Diablo. While usually depicted as nothing more than a villain with a big mouth who throws trick boomerangs, Jai Courtney brings some much-needed humor and emotional depth to the character. I would call this Courtney’s best film role to date. El Diablo was the character that provided the most emotion to the film however. From his story about how he became power-hungry and killed his family to his refusal to use his powers because of the tragedy, Diablo’s character progression in this film mirrors only Captain America: Civil War’s Black Panther. A character who makes a complete 180 from when the story began to when it ended.
This paragraph will be dedicated entirely to Jared Leto’s interpretation of The Joker. Leto’s take on the 75-year-old comic book legend was fantastic given how little screen time he had. He completely owned the screen every time he popped up. Joker’s role in the film consists of flashbacks with Harley Quinn and searching the city to get her back in his clutches. Leto’s version of the Joker looks to be like a mesh of different versions of the character. It’s a mix of Jack Nicholson’s gangster Joker from the 1989 Batman movie and Heath Ledger’s anarchist Joker from the critically acclaimed film The Dark Knight. It’s evident that there are scenes that were cut that featured the Joker, however that does not take away from this movie. Jared Leto’s Joker is a character that I would definitely want to see more of in future DCEU movies. If there is some kind of Suicide Squad Extended Cut out there then please include all Joker scenes that were cut from this movie.
Amanda Waller is quite possibly the biggest villain of the whole movie. The no-nonsense, ruthless government agent doesn’t shy away from getting her hands dirty should the situation call on it and it only adds to this great film. Viola Davis plays the character beautifully and displays just how evil this so-called “hero” can be. Viola Davis is another character that I hope pops up in future DCEU movies. Justice League perhaps?
No movie is without flaws and yet despite all the praise I give it, Suicide Squad has its flaws. I’d say that the villain is the biggest one. While Cara Delevingne plays a convincing Enchantress, the villain feels very generic. Although I will say that this did not bug me while watching the film. Had DC maybe gone with a bigger, more well-known villain, it would have enhanced the movie to an even higher degree. But Enchantress was fine for the most part. Pacing was another issue. The movie in the beginning felt slightly rushed. While doing a good job at showing Deadshot and Harley Quinn’s backstories, the movie felt a little choppy when it moved between them. However the movie’s flow improved as it went on which pretty much rectified the above issue.
The soundtrack for this film was absolutely fantastic. The song choices for each scene was just perfect. From Sympathy for the Devil to Black Skinhead to Seven Nation Army to House of the Rising Sun, this movie did not disappoint on the song front. Steven Price’s score is probably one of my favourites ever. It’s emotionally gripping, it’s exciting, it’s action packed, it’s everything I wanted in a movie score and more.
Oh, as for those two cameos that are in this movie. They’re fantastic. That’s all I’m gonna say about this.
All in all, this is now one of my favourite DC movies. The movie is a just a complete blast to watch. From the music to the characters to the cinematography, it’s the DCEU movie that fans have been clamoring for. Suicide Squad builds up characters that I can’t wait to see in future movies or a sequel. I gotta believe that there is an extended cut of this somewhere with even more Joker and a more consist pace but until that happens, I’ll continue to praise this great superhero, or I guess supervillain movie. Get your squad ready and go see this film.