Suicide Squad Review
Suicide Squad Review
Suicide Squad is about a ragtag collection of criminals and meta-humans who are assembled by U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller to combat superhuman and supernatural threats to the U.S. and the world. The squad consists of assassin-for-hire Deadshot played by Will Smith, deranged Joker associate Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie, fiery gang member El Diablo played by Jay Hernandez, part man, part crocodile Killer Croc played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, thief Captain Boomerang played by Jai Courtney and the sword swinging Katana played by Karen Fukuhara.
The third entry into DC’s cinematic universe will unfortunately be another divisive one. The film has a lot going for it including a talented director in David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch) and something different to offer from the usual superhero film, choosing to focus on the villains instead. This all works to Suicide Squad‘s advantage because the result is a stylish, fun and compelling journey. However, the film is let down considerably by a muddled plot, heavy editing and a lack of backstory for some characters.
The stand out performances in this entourage film are certainly Will Smith’s Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Smith’s character is the most fully fleshed out and he’s given a good amount of backstory examining the relationship he has with his daughter and his skill with firearms. Lawton is a good anti-hero and reluctantly plays the hero when he has to with charisma and a sense of duty. Fans of Batman: The Animated Series where Harley Quinn made her debut on-screen will be pleased to know that Margot Robbie brings plenty of energy, wit and craziness to the role. Much of her story is about her relationship to the Joker and we are given glimpses of their life together via flashbacks but Quinn also gets all the best one liners. One issue with the character is we don’t get to see how she really fell in love and became infatuated with the Joker. Each of the characters is given a vignette introducing what they are all about near the start of the film and while Harley’s showed glimpses of her in Arkham Asylum with Joker as her patient, the film skips over any semblance of Harley’s former sanity and normality.
Other members of the squad don’t fare so well when it comes to backstory and motivations. For some like Killer Croc, the vignette near the beginning is about as much backstory as we are given while characters that have an interesting hook to them like Katana or Captain Boomerang are only given superficial backstories. It’s almost as if the executives at Warner Bros. weren’t sure who the breakthrough character was going to be from the film. Consequently, I feel the squad could have been trimmed down to make more room for character development. Suicide Squad also marks the appearance of a new Joker played by Jared Leto. After Heath Ledger’s phenomenal performance in The Dark Knight, Leto had a tough act to follow and he certainly isn’t the focus of this movie. This Joker isn’t quite as menacing or gripping as Ledger’s but there’s enough in Leto’s performance particularly in certain scenes such as the one with Harley at Ace Chemicals to suggest he’s going to be a decent Joker for the DCEU.
Suicide Squad goes all in on the idea of magic and crazy abilities which on the one hand is commendable as it treats the audience with intelligence however more context is needed in some areas such as Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress. Her character is very thinly written and doesn’t really have any other motivations for attempting to destroy the world other than that she is evil. Delevingne’s performance is equally as bad as she is very over-the-top but the material doesn’t do her any favours either in this regard. The film also suffers from a muddled plot and heavy-handed editing; its clear that there’s a lot cut from this film and recent comments from Jared Leto on his scenes that were cut and the rumoured extensive re-shoots paints a disappointing picture.
There are a number of problems with Suicide Squad but it’s a fun film with more humour in it than we are used to seeing from DC films previously. There’s lots of one liners and quips from many members of the squad and although not all of them provoke laughs, it is refreshing to see something different from DC. It’s also neat to see an actor of Will Smith’s calibre playing Deadshot, a character that is less well known than Batman or Superman. There are also a few cool cameos in the film which work well and are used sparingly which I won’t spoil here.
Overall, Suicide Squad isn’t quite the film we all hoped would reignite the flame under the DC’s cinematic universe after the disappointing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nevertheless, the film is pretty fun, entertaining and features some standout performances from Will Smith and Margot Robbie. It’s the film’s weak villain, poor editing and lacklustre plot though that hold Suicide Squad back from being the film it could, and probably should, have been.