Movie Review: Suicide Squad

SQUAD

Written By: Mike Agostinelli

The idea of the Suicide Squad being made into a movie is almost too good to be true.

Ten years ago this never would have happened, a movie as blatantly comic booky as this being made. After all, if not for this film, 95% of you reading this review wouldn’t even know of the existence of half these characters or this team in general. But yet you’re now suddenly experts. More on that later. But for now we can count our lucky stars that in the year 2016, something like this exists. A movie so firmly enmeshed in its “comic bookness” that it has the balls to make Batman and the Joker supporting characters. That it presents a crocodile man as no big deal, as well as a witch woman with a ridiculously modulated voice. This is the era of the entitled nerd. And Suicide Squad delivers on mostly all fronts.

Now I say “mostly” because this is by no means a perfect film. Its clearly been hacked up quite a bit in the editing room, the result of a studio that desperately needs to add a bit more fun into its comic book universe. Or at least they themselves feel like they desperately need to. So we’re left with a bit of a mishmash of director David Ayers vision, and a more jokey and lighthearted romp akin to a Guardians of the Galaxy or any other Marvel Studios film. It’s less noticeable than you’d think, but the discrepancies are still there. There is also a bit of a villain issue, as the big bad (or bads) fall into the underwhelming category. They simply exist as a means to give us action scenes and something for our heroes to punch.

But when the film is good, its a doozy. It’s a DC Comics fans wet dream. There are easter eggs and nuggets to behold in nearly every shot, and there’s a glee to be had when finally witnessing Harley Quinn and the Joker on the big screen in live action for the the very first time. Speaking of The Joker, Jared Leto kills it. It’s a different interpretation than comic readers or even movie watchers are likely used to, more gangster oriented than sadistic anarchist. But there are enough shades of the essence of the character to make that all acceptable. His relationship with Harley is also different than the comics and other media, as here he genuinely appears to love her. Almost bordering on obsession. The hopeless Joker romantics in the audience will likely get off to this with a sick glee. Don’t expect Joker to be a main focus here though, as well he shouldn’t be: he’s only in the film for about fifteen minutes. To me, for a movie like this, that’s a perfect length. This is, after all, certainly not the Joker show.

Margot Robbie is a stellar and sexy Harley Quinn, and Will Smith elevates the one-note character of Deadshot to household-name levels with his funny and charismatic performance. Viola Davis is also a standout as the icy and calculating Amanda Waller, arguably the movies real and proper villain. She nails the “gigantic bitch” aspect of the character from the comics, but does so in such a way that you almost like her. She commands respect from the Squad and from us as the audience. There was almost a point in the movie where I worried there was zero character development or pathos to be had, but in the final act these actors show why they are fantastic at what they can do with some well-written emotional material.

The soundtrack is an interesting mix of modern music and classic hits, as well as a stirring and modern score from Academy Award winning composer Steven Price. It may not be incredibly remarkable, but it gets the job done. I also prefer it to the digital nonsense that was the Batman V Superman score.

Now allow me to end this with a little rant: You people put way too many expectations on these movies. You saw the trailers for this thing and expected it to be a life-altering experience akin to the birth of your first child or the first time you had sex. This is a comic book movie. Its only function in this world or the grand scheme of things is to entertain you for two hours. And this movie does that, unquestionably. Is it a gift from God? No. But is it fun as hell and a great way to waste two hours? Absolutely. It also has three scenes with Ben Affleck as Batman, so really, what more can you require? Do away with your elitist attitude and turn your brain off for a little awhile. It’ll do you some good.

I give Suicide Squad an 8 out of 10.