One of the most anticipated releases of the summer, Suicide Squad, hits the cinemas this Friday and we were lucky enough to see it last night (Monday). The atmosphere in the theater was pretty much at fever pitch, with lots of cosplayers dressed up and more DC Comics t-shirts than I could count.
Suicide Squad follows Intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) as she decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Figuring it has nothing to lose, the U.S. government supplies weapons to Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and other despicable inmates. Dubbed the Suicide Squad, the united criminals must defeat a mysterious and powerful entity while contending with the antics of the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto).
First and foremost, this movie is really fun, especially for a comic book nerd such as myself. There are lots of fun Easter Eggs and fun shout outs to the comic books. They added to the origin story of a few characters to make them more sympathetic, which was a good choice, in my opinion.
These actors really acted their hearts out in these roles. I was particularly impressed with Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, and of course, Margo Robbie as Harley Quinn. This was Will Smith’s best role that I’ve seen him in in a very long time, and Harley Quinn steals every single scene that she’s in with her quips and her quirkiness. Jared Leto’s Joker is genuinely frightening. My skin crawled and as our fearless leader Kevin put it: “you’ll want to take a shower after watching him.” The rest of the cast does great too. Ultimately this is a very well acted film.
The movie worked best when the characters play off of each other. Some of the characters definitely weren’t as well realized as others, but the film is the most fun when the characters were showing their personality. The action scenes were fun, but I think the trailers give away most of them so I was not floored by much of anything in that way.
Where the film doesn’t work is the script. It had some really clunky writing and the plot didn’t work for me. It stopped and started multiple times and in the wrong places. Some of the dialogue was less than ideal. Also, the tone of the film was all over the place and the opposing tones felt jarring to me. Just like Batman V Superman and Man of Steel (both of which I liked more than Suicide Squad), WB really seems to think it can make up for bad writing with amazing special effects, which is worse in this film because the effects weren’t nearly as good as those other two films.
It felt like the filmmakers were trying to go for the same effect as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in more ways that one (it was released on the same weekend as that film was 2 years ago, it uses iconic 70’s songs as its music, and it takes a group of snarky and disparate misfits and sends them on an adventure together), which makes it hard not to compare the two films, which in turn makes Squad even less appealing. Guardians is one of the greatest comic book films of our time with probably the sharpest script in any comic film to date (certainly since the release of The Dark Knight).
Ultimately, Squad is a lot of fun and I think will please general audiences. It certainly has more good than bad. Try not to compare it to other films and expect some surprises.