After Zack Snyder presented his dark and dull superhero opus, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was cause for concern in the DC Comic Film Universe. Snyder’s vision of the classic heroes polarized fans, one group of die-hard fans (who would love any movie Batman or Superman were in, even if they were just staring at a chair) wanted to wage war on the critics of the film. The critics group deemed this movie’s attempt to have two of the famous comic figures fight was just a bloated mess. Who could help save DC and Warner Bros. from letting this beloved stable of characters become a laughing-stock compared to the powerful Disney owned Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Enter director/writer David Ayer (End of Watch & Fury) and his gang of misfit villains known as Task Force X. The group nicknamed the Suicide Squad, which is also the title of the new film, is meant to revive hope in the DC Comics fan base. Instead of focusing on the heroes such as Superman or Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad flips the script and gives us a story from the point of view of those villains we love to secretly root for. Showing her villainous cold side, Viola Davis plays the vindictive Amanda Waller who is the head of a secret government agency called ARGUS. Waller comes up with a plan to have the super villains apprehended over the years do some good for society. Waller, along with the help of her right hand man Rick Flag (Joel Kinsman), assembles a team of fan favorites including Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Killer Croc, to name a few who are tasked to save the world from a powerful new threat.
First things first, Suicide Squad is an improvement over Batman V Superman which left us twiddling our thumbs for the first hour and thirty minutes. Director David Ayer shows you can have fun in the DC universe by adding some laughs, a killer soundtrack and some fun action scenes where the word “MARTHA” is never spoken once. Following a bunch of killers, meta-humans and sorcerers is a nice change-up with the players performing despicable acts that we find ourselves smiling at. After all, this is a tale focused on the evil our heroes usually look to stop. Showing that this universe can be fun and lighthearted at times in Suicide Squad was exactly what DC and Warner Bros. needed to show the fans.
Unfortunately, the many problems that have plagued this relativity new film series are present again in Suicide Squad. Rather than realize they will never catch up to Marvel on film, Suicide Squad decides to throw so many new characters at the audience, which in turn overloads the story. The film uses some flashy editing techniques to introduce each character with their stats similar to a pro football pre game show graphics package, but after that only a few characters are given time to develop. Also, between flashbacks and a plot full of holes, Suicide Squad is all over the place at times. One minute Ayer and company have their foot on the pedal going 120 mph and the next it seems as though someone slammed on the breaks. The story comes to a sudden stop that feels longer than it should during the movie’s 131 minute runtime.
The Joker who is in the film more than expected gets the Wonder Woman treatment we saw in Batman V Superman. The character is quite pointless at times and is more of a distraction to the overall story. Even though Heath Ledger’s shadow will still loom large over Leto’s work, the Oscar-winning actor gives the audience a different take on the lunatic clown prince that could evolve into something wild down the road. For the most part though, Suicide Squad shows what The Joker can do for this franchise rather than what he could do if some time and patience were put into developing this beloved bad guy.
Suicide Squad definitely has some issues with the pace and character development, but luckily two performances save the movie from being another DC disaster. Will Smith and Margot Robbie are so much fun as Deadshot and Joker girlfriend Harley Quinn. Smith brings back that smart ass charisma we fell in love with back in the mid 1990s playing the bad boy with the killer shot. Considering Deadshot is the de facto leader of the squad, Smith benefits from having his character more fleshed out with a back story you can care about. As for Robbie, the world will be here oyster after this role bringing the insane femme fatale to life. Robbie shows she’s more than a pretty face playing the tattooed, baseball wielding Quinn who lights up the screen every time she appears in all of her red, white and blue crazy glory.
Harley and Deadshot show if you take your time and develop characters, it can help with the overall experience of a film. Outside those two squad members, the rest of the folks making up Task Force X are left in a one-dimensional character state. The cast should have been limited so you can have fun with an Aussie who throws sharp boomerangs or a man who lives his life as a Crocodile rather than waste any time on Katanna who shows up out of nowhere and adds nothing to Suicide Squad. Warner Bros., DC Comics, David Ayer and the rest of the crew of Suicide Squad should be patted on the back and told “not too bad” after the mess that was Batman V Superman. However after the mild congrats, someone should whisper in their ears and say, “I know you can do better.”
Overall, I give Suicide Squad 2.75 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell