Come one, come all – because Jeremy and I are reviewing one of the most highly anticipated movies this year, DC’s Suicide Squad! We’re giving this movie a solid 3 stars, and we’re about to tell you why.
You might’ve read the last article where the meta-review went up, so we went in with that colouring our perceptions slightly. That’s totally fine though, so if you’d like to see what we thought – keep reading. Keep in mind, massive spoilers below – so unless you’re That Person, don’t read this if you haven’t watched it.
The movie itself has a very distinctive style, with its Sin City vignettes, catchy “youth” music and comic art colours. We felt that with the introductions to the various characters, but there was some obvious character bias – in that certain characters had more compelling stories than the others. As a whole, the movie was middle of the road – it was nowhere near as gritty as TDK but wasn’t over the top like Marvel’s outings so far. It almost felt as if Snyder’s vision for the current DCEU constrained director David Ayer’s style and thus led to the movie having a serious identity crisis.
The action scenes were well choreographed, as proven by Harley Quinn’s elevator fight scene, and had a comedic element to them, reminiscent of the comic series itself. Another standout scene was Deadshot showing his skills and leaving the team slack jawed as he singlehandedly took down numerous enemies. The scenes walk the line between being both impressive and humorous, and if only more of these existed throughout instead of what felt like filler for certain characters sidelined by the more compelling origin stories.
As a general rule, the special effects had us split 50/50. Killer Croc’s prosthetics were amazing (thank you, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, for taking 4 hours each day to wear the prosthetics), although they did leave him somewhat underutilized. Other than that, you had your standard ‘paranormal-disaster styled glowing light in the sky’ scene – which felt like a bit of a Ghostbusters rip off. A standout sequence would be Diablo’s transformation into his ultimate form. The fire looked realistic, so kudos to the post-production team that had to animate the physics of the flame to great effect. On the flipside, Enchantress’ brother Incubus looked like a displaced behemoth mummy with his outdated CGI and odd gait.
If we’re talking pacing, Suicide Squad tries to throw you headfirst out the window into the dumpster with a first act that’s full of action.The storyline of the entire movie is very basic, although the integration with the DCEU’s previous offering (Batman v. Superman) and teasing us for Justice League was a nice touch. For longtime fans, there are some choice easter eggs. A few things were definitely missing: the mechanics of Enchantress’ death ray should’ve been expanded on, and Incubus fell prey to the Stormtrooper Effect trope. The stinger during the mid-credits scene felt very Marvel to us, and we’re not sure if it’s because Marvel’s been doing it longer or if the vibe was just very MCU.
The movie is marked as PG-13 and we felt that the movie suffered for it. First thing, thank you Malaysian censorship board for ruining the magic of the movie. The words they chose to censor weren’t completely offensive, but what offended us was the way they censored it. That one-second of complete audio silence detracted from the movie and broke the spell that had us hooked on every word. Even just bleeping it out would’ve worked so much better. We hold our breath in anticipation for the R-rated director’s cut at this point in hopes of a decent DCU movie.
That being said, we wanted more violence. It’s a movie about villains, they are the bad guys – a point they keep reinforcing throughout the movie. There needed to be more guns, more shooting, more violence. On a scale of Disney to Deadpool, this wasn’t even a 5. However – the movie was a smorgasbord of guns, with variety and customization. The amount of close up shots on bullet casings was enough to be every 13-year old COD player’s wet dream of a winstreak.
On the topic of wet dreams, can we talk about Harley? A highlight of the film is Margot Robbie’s gorgeous portrayal of Harley Quinn, the beautiful but insane former psychiatrist to the infamous Joker. Ignoring the cookie cutter plotline, the movie places emphasis on Robbie’s Harley where her hypersexuality and psychotic penchant for violence have her standing out for all the right reasons. Some fans were outraged at the oversimplification of the iconic character but we felt that her characterization worked within the scheme of the movie. Her character interactions were top notch, which we’ll go into in a bit.
Another stand out character is Will Smith playing Will Smith as Deadshot. We’re kidding (maybe). He’s obviously Team Dad, and the only one other than El Diablo with a conscience. Unlike Diablo, he’s willing to use violence when necessary while retaining a very human side, which makes his stoic behaviour and finesse all the more unique in an increasingly unstable band of murderers.
Viola Davis slays as Amanda Waller, and can be summarised in one tweet – courtesy of Hannah: “SLAY QUEEN SLAY. TOTAL QUEEN. TAKE MAH SOUL. MORE BALLS THAN ALL THE MEN IN THE MOVIE. #TEAMWALLER”.
The only other character worth mentioning (and will probably provoke the most polarising reactions) is Leto’s Joker. Stunted by limited screen time, this incarnation of the Joker is closer to an amalgamation of the comic book version meets blinged up LA gangster. His character’s almost sexual arousal from violence and mayhem would be an interesting concept to explore, given more screen time in the future. Given the current state of comic book canon, we’re also interested in how the relationship between Joker and Harley will evolve.
TL;DR – we’re giving this movie 3/5 stars because while we loved (some of) the characters and their portrayals, Zack Snyder indirectly ruined the movie. The storyline was forgettable and predictable, filled with tropes; but we adored the characters that stood out. The villains might be rotten inside, but as Killer Croc said to Harley: “I’m beautiful”.
And that’s all, folks. Now we’re just waiting for Wonder Woman and Justice League later on this year to see how the DCEU instends to stack the deck against the MCU, especially with Wonder Woman obtaining the honor of first female blockbuster superhero movie. Did you like the movie? Hate it? Think we’re wrong? Leave it in the comments, and we’ll hit you back. Alternatively, tweet one of us over at @hannahcyanide or @Husk1e and we’ll get back to you in 140 characters or less.