After the disappointment of Batman v. Superman – it was merely okay – Suicide Squad is a definite step in the right direction.
Despite having too many characters to give any but a handful more than the sketchiest of backgrounds, it’s smarter and more fun than BvS (though not the mad romp the last few trailers suggested it would be).
Essentially, Suicide Squad sets up the situation (Amanda Waller’s plan for creating a team of evil metahumans and assorted other criminals to take on missions that normal couldn’t); introduces the members of the Squad (Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang and Slipknot); gives them a mission, and lets the freak flag fly.
For bad guys who are not Squad members, we get the Joker (Jared Leto) and Enchantress (Cara Delevigne) – the former looking to break his girl out of the secret prison that houses ‘the worst of the worst’; the latter, having taken over the body of the Squad’s field commander’s girlfriend, archaeologist Dr. June Moone (also Delevigne) is planning to destroy the world – or at least the humans on it.
Waller (Viola Davis) is every bit the bada$$ she is in the comics (if a tad bit more svelte) – not only is she responsible for planting teensy nanite bombs in the members of the Squad, she has Enchantress’ heart in a box (if the witch steps out of line, Waller can crush the heart and kill her. Cold.)
Colonel Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) is Waller’s field commander and he is in the dicey spot of having promised June that he would destroy Enchantress if she stepped out of line – even if she, too, died.
Although we get snippets of background on Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje), Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), we get a full blown origin for Harley (Margot Robbie) and a look at Deadshot’s (Will Smith) daughter.
Flagg’s metahumans backup, Katana (Karen Fukuhara), gets a brief description from Flagg – and poor Slipknot (Adam Beach) gets nothing.
Coming in at a hair over two hours (123 minutes), Suicide Squad is pretty efficient at getting through its somewhat meager plot – but like most superhero/villain plots, it’s there to hang action sequences and great lines on.
Written and directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury), Suicide Squad does feel like a kind of metahumans war movie – a super Dirty Dozen, if you will.
The various action/battle sequences are pretty convincing – especially when you see Boomerang (the Vernon Pinkley of the team) duck behind a car and chug a beer when the first big action sequence begins. Given his later contributions, this can be taken as either fear, or assessing the situation. Either way, it’s funny.
And let me just say here, pink unicorns!
Also, the brief sequence with the Flash (Ezra Miller) might seem superfluous but it plays to The Flash comic’s canon and adds a further moment of fun. The movie would have worked just fine without it, but it adds to the overall feel of a coherent DC film universe.
While Suicide Squad has considerably more humor than BvS (almost any amount of humor would be more), it stills plays into the darkness of the characters and situations.
No matter where she is or what she’s doing, for instance, Harley is always bat$#!t crazy; Killer Croc is still a reptilian cannibal, and Deadshot is the world’s deadliest hit man.
Smith gets most of what are supposed to be the best lines, and he delivers with more zest than we’ve seen from him in a long time, but Robbie is the real star of the movie – despite getting less screen time.
She encapsulates the Squad better in two sentences than anyone else, ‘We’re bad guys. It’s what we do.’ Her love for the Joker comes across as more real than any of the other Squad members’ humanizing bits – except for El Diablo.
Some of the best moments in the film come when it turns out that the least likely characters turn out to be the… ummm… heroes – and there is a great scene in which a hug goes extremely unappreciated.
Effects-wise, Suicide Squad is also very good. The screening I attended was not a in 3D but it still felt like it was 3D – between the cinematography, editing and effects, it has as much impact. So, if you don’t feel like spending the extra three bucks (or whatever), and you can see it in 2D – it might be a good idea to go that route.
Despite there being far too many characters to really develop any but the very few, Suicide Squad is an intelligent adaption of the source material – and a lot more fun than the previous two DC Extended Universe movies.
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P.S. Don’t leave when the credits begin to roll – there’s a killer tag after the main titles.
Photos by Clay Enos/Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC