Suicide Squad (2016) Review

I’m going to be real, I was really looking forward to this movie only for Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jared Leto (Joker) and to see what Viola Davis would do with Amanda Waller.
Pros:
Cast/Characters. I’m not going to name everyone but the people who stood out.
  • Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn). This was good casting and she owns this role. Considering how insane Harley is, Robbie does such a good job keeping her humorous, sexy, and out of her mind but self-aware. At the same time, there are times when she’s emotional or appears vulnerable and Robbie gives another side of Harley Quinn that’s not always shown. She also comes off like she’s the only one who enjoys doing what she does. Everyone may have had their reasons but she loves doing it. She’s unpredictable and Robbie portrays all of that (there’s a great flashback scene between her and Batman and a bunch of water). A lot of the humor in the film comes from her.
  • Will Smith (Floyd Lawton/Deadshot). I was curious to see how he’d do since he’s usually always playing a hero type and to be honest, he still plays that here. His character is probably the one with the most humanity out of the Squad, he falls easily into the “leader” just toeing the “hero” line. He’s given a backstory enough to the point that we know his character more than anyone else’s. He does well in playing someone who’s mean, awesome with a gun and who will knock you out if you piss him off. But he still makes that face where he looks like he’s about to cry lol.
  • Jared Leto (The Joker). I already love Jared Leto, so I tried to make sure I wasn’t just biased. It wasn’t enough to have a full judgement personally, but with his role (small, don’t expect a large role) I enjoyed him. You hardly see the tattoos which is what most people were upset about, he’s wearing clothes and the camera isn’t panned so much on him that you can see the “damaged” tattoo on his forehead. I like the fact that he was like a mob boss and that he irrevocably loved his girl. I can’t wait to see more.
  • Jay Hernandez (El Diablo). I wish there was more of him in this film. He has these really cool fire powers, he’s a metahuman, he was born with his power and before he used it to his advantage and now after being personally affected by it, he’s trying to change his ways. He was great in how he tries to remain in control of himself and how he refuses to get involved because he’s afraid of himself. When he does let loose, it’s pretty awesome.
  • Viola Davis (Amanda Waller). I love me some Viola Davis and Amanda Waller is ruthless and it reminds me of her character in How To Get Away With Murder just with a bit more darkness in her. She will do whatever it takes to reach her objective and the interesting thing I find about Davis, is that she doesn’t physically look intimidating but she puts all of that into her eyes and she does this little pursed smirk that makes you take a step back. So the fact that she comes off unsuspecting but then turns around and loads off some bullets… oh yeah.
The Chemistry/Camaraderie. It’s really easy to have an ensemble cast like this and focus only on a few characters and everyone else is just there… which this does happen and I’ll talk about that more later but overall, the team has some great chemistry with each other. This isn’t Smith and Robbie’s first movie together and they just have a natural companionship between them and Harley and Floyd are the main ones who gravitate towards each other. I’m not sure if it’s because he feels kinship in her, or because she’s so insane that he for some reason feels protective of her. I’d want to argue a bit of both. They all recognize that each has their own thing and they’re really good at it but they crack jokes at each other, exchange looks and understand each other. That part I think, is one of the better parts of the film.
The Soundtrack. Man, the music is awesome. The songs chosen to fit certain scenes, to introduce certain characters was handled so well that it becomes it’s own life instead of just being part of the movie. It is a soundtrack that I would listen to it on it’s own due to the fact that the songs were great choices and the pieces created for the action scenes, emotional scenes or more “somber” parts were also great. The song playing when the Squad is walking together towards the end was a great theme for the team itself.
Costumes. There’s not much to say being as no one is really wearing a “costume”… kind of but I liked everyone’s unique look. The time that had to go into developing Killer Croc’s look had to be long because he looked awesome! Watching him swim in the water… wow, the care in his appearance is obvious. Enchantress’s first appearance is definitely creepy, I liked the whole look she had going on when she’s all decrepit, dirty and looking like she’s disintegrating. It was a really interesting take on her look and I liked it. She has another look later that is a result of her obtaining something (trying not to spoil lol) which was fine but I preferred the other look. I liked a lot of the Joker’s mob boss outfits, business man like looks, same with Harley, I liked her outfit, yeah it was skimpy and her shorts could have been longer but she’s worn stuff like that in the comics.
Cons:
The Villain. Meh. The idea was nice, I guess, and the design behind the character was also really cool but I don’t particularly care for that character being the villain because their motivations were rocky at best. I mean I get it, it was definitely stated but it was stupid and cliche. Considering what the villain wanted, I think they could have done something else than the typical “beam of light” in the sky thing. Unfortunately, there are very few comic book movies with compelling and interesting villains so it’s not surprising really.
The story. This movie definitely seems to be more character driven than actual story driven because stuff is just happening and the characters are involved. Sure, the story is about this group of villains who are forced into working for the government, or they’ll die, and they have to work together. Yeah, I get that because that’s basic. However, while that’s fine, because that’s all it is, the movie just becomes flashy and action packed. It falls flat because when the team actually comes up to face the villain, the whole matchup seems mismatched. Why couldn’t this team fight something else? Or maybe it would have been fine if the script had a bit of fine tuning.
Other characters’ development. Now I mentioned the ones who were standouts, everyone was more or less good but like I said, it’s obvious that even in this ensemble cast, Will Smith’s character comes off as the lead, as well as Margot Robbie so it was hard to get the other characters interesting because outside of being curious about them, they’re not interesting. Katana was awesome in action but she doesn’t add anything, while Diablo was great, his backstory is rushed and condensed to him narrating it and a quick flashback, Rick Flagg is their “official leader” but outside of being kind of a plot device, he’s fine. I liked Boomerang because he was funny and seemed interesting but there’s nothing really there for him, same with Killer Croc, or why was Slipknot (or whoever Adam Beach’s character was) brought as well outside of “he can climb anything” because that’s lame. I know that in movies like this it’s hard when there isn’t films before to set up the characters but there needs to be a balance and there wasn’t one.
The Overall Look/Lighting/Editing/Transitions. These are together because the issues kind of go hand and hand.
Fortunately, this film isn’t washed out like Zack Synder’s DC films, because the colors are there however, during fight scenes, the lighting is really dark where it’s hard to see what’s going on. There are two major fight scenes and they both suffer from this. I think it’s easy to tell there is a lot cut from the theatrical release. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another BvS thing where the theatrical cut was mediocre but everyone says the Unlimited Edition is so much better because if I didn’t care much for the theatrical release, why in the world would I pay more money to buy what should have been the theatrical version? Some transitions were cut quick where it was almost jarring to go from that to that and it’s like what….? When it comes to the fighting, while some parts were really cool, it was mostly because the camera wasn’t moving or it was in slow motion that it was actually easy to see who was kicking butt and who was getting their butts kicked.
Overall, I enjoyed Suicide Squad for what it was. I do think it’s much better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and I do think it gives hope for the DCEU but it’s not like “Ohhhh yeah! We got more to come!” I think we can save that for when Wonder Woman and Justice League comes out. I think this movie has some interesting characters, mainly in the standouts of Floyd Lawton, Harley Quinn, The Joker and Amanda Waller, they are easily the better parts of the film and Lawton and Quinn help carry it for the most part, with their easy companionship and chemistry. The music is amazing and helps build the atmosphere of the movie and it’s good enough that it can stand on it’s own enough to listen to without the film. While the Joker isn’t a main character, his scenes are great and I believe in Jared Leto’s portrayal of him in the future. On the other hand, the movie does suffer from a weak villain and the motivations for a climax, the film fails to truly give the other characters enough to make them interesting outside of being plot devices or a funny “sidekick” and it has technical issues in the weak story, dull lighting, choppy editing and obvious cuts.
Rating: 2.90 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Suicide Squad? What did you think?
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