After the ill-fated release of Batman vs. Superman, DC has been controversial for hyping up movies then not living up to their own potential. Suicide Squad (2016) is an, even more, riskier project because of its relatively lesser-known characters than the aforementioned blockbuster. Spoilers ahead.
The Plot: After the events of BvS, intelligence operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles Task Force X, a group containing one of the most dangerous criminals in the DCU.
The Good: David Ayer’s direction was top-notch. He showcased each character well in the running time of 123 minutes. In my opinion, Will Smith really stood out from the rest of the cast, and that’s due to his charisma in such roles. I loved his performance in Hancock (2008), and he showcases his caliber in playing another anti-hero.
I know most of my friends who are reading this would wonder when I would mention Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. And so here you have it: She was a doll. Not only was she wonderful to look at, but she acted quite well. Jared Leto’s theatrics as The Joker are in no way to be ignored, and despite being in the picture for a lesser screentime, he did play his part to the fullest.
I think it’s unfair to compare Leto’s Joker with Heath Ledger. I mean Ledger did do immaculate justice to the role but Leto gave his own stellar persona to the world’s most infamous villain. And I applaud Suicide Squad on being a movie where The Joker was shown less but had as much as an impact as he could in the feature.
I also liked the comic parts which really helped move the story along. And this is where Smith’s Deadshot and Robbie’s Quinn really outdid themselves by having a strange on-screen chemistry, the same way they did in the movie Focus (2015). They complemented each other well as much as Quinn and Joker did in this venture.
Cinematography-wise, the film is really lit up well. Although, it does seem the majority of the flick was shot in a way to induce epilepsy, the overall look of the exhibition had style, and SS has an emphasis on style. The action sequences are truly adrenaline-pumping, especially those featuring Deadshot and Quinn. Not every SS member is given an ample amount of screen-time, but the direction of the action scenes incorporating them were superbly shot. Even though members like Katana and Killer Croc seem under-used, they did add a great deal of versatility towards the end. It’s sad how Slipknot had so little screentime though.
Another positive factor I noticed is that the movie gets better as much as it progresses. This is largely due to the start being poorly made, but as the pace moves along we get to broaden our horizons, that this is a team of anti-heroes. And that’s where the uniqueness of SS lies.
The bar scene was also enthralling. Despite some mediocre storytelling in between sequences, the footage of such fiends being shown together at one place, and the righteous Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) taking a seat next to them is simply brilliant. The story of Diablo’s past really hit us in the head that why this individual is so afraid of his powers. But if this sequence was shown earlier, then it might’ve been better, as there’s a dissatisfaction when this realization has been reached.
The Bad: From onset to the ending, there is one continuous error, and that is the central storyline. Not only is it average, but the follow-through by screenwriter Ayer rendered it a confusing mess. In the end, we’ll just be dying to guess what the majority of the team’s motives were.
And I mean the only one truly crazy in the group was Harley Quinn. Deadshot was a father so his reason for staying does mean he has a stronger moral compass than the rest of the group. But the characters aren’t all that interesting. Although, the actors and actresses are not to blame as they gave their all in the depictions.
But the worst character was that of Enchantress played by Cara Delevingne. I’m not sure what turned me off here, it was either the character was poorly designed or just that the actress didn’t suit the role. When you reach the movie’s third act, the CGI effects are so poorly enchanted on Enchantress that you’d wonder whether employing Smith and Robbie was worth the cost of such bad quality visuals. The effects of the third act also made me wonder whether this was comedy-action or action-comedy.
For a film that boasts on the action, the ending was supremely anti-climatic. You still have to love that part where four SS members see their wildest fantasies coming true, and Diablo (Jay Hernandez) tells them that it’s not real. This part was the strongest sequence of Suicide Squad, and only if the entire duration had this much depth, the narrative would’ve justified the screenplay.
The Verdict: Suicide Squad lives up to its title by showcasing a group that has nothing to lose ethically. It might not be the best-written comic-book adaptation, it’s a stronger viewing after the initial half has passed, and the ending might not be justifiable to the plot, but it was still satisfactory in terms of what you see is what you get.