Suicide Squad hit the big screens last week in what seemed to be a sea of critic’s lashing out at the newest comic book movie but the box office doesn’t lie with records for an opening weekend were smashed left & right as the movie-going public chose to make their own minds up.
The relentless marketing would make sure that we knew who was in it and what the general story was – a group of the most dangerous criminals incarcerated in the highest of high security jails are just the right people for the war on evil. The “Worst.Heroes/Ever” tagline is a fair one given their background and the movie opens with music video after music video as an introduction to each of the messed up members. Deadshot, Harley, Boomerang, Killer Croc, Diablo, Katana & Enchantress all get their own brief origin and if anything it’s the skimming of each story that pushes this close to becoming a messy blend of ideas.
The clamber to be funny, cool and gritty seems evident from the off but that’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable. The movie coasts along at a steady pace before Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) rears her head and starts picking the Task Force X members before getting that rubber stamped as a valid but top secret option in the government’s arsenal. Waller’s leverage on them all is the key part in controlling the uncontrollable but even those plans have flaws and they backfire in the biggest way imaginable as Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) quickly emerges as the real threat to city & the world.
Within the core Task Force X crew there are two standout members in the shape of Deadshot (Will Smith) & Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Smith plays a great mix of parent/assassin as Deadshot’s heartfelt motives show a deeper side to what could well have become a forgettable, one-dimensional character. His relationship with the other characters & Harley in particular showed that he could at least be a team player……but the leverage of his daughter was leaned on just enough to keep him in check so you still knew he could turn. His targeting abilities were definitely shown off in some slick set pieces too as he took point in the some of the first ground battles in the city.
Robbie brings a fantastic blend of crazy, naivety & irritation as Harley and while the movie makers choose to focus as many camera shots on her ass as possible, she does end up being a far more interesting character than I’d first expected. The ties between Harley & The Joker (Jared Leto) are examined across the movie but I wasn’t a big fan of The Joker appearing in this in the first place. The weight of a character like The Joker should have a massive impact in the DCMU as much for Batman as the other characters he is integral too but since the first trailers I always felt he should have been kept out of this movie and I still feel the same.
The rest of the Squad play their part too and add as much as they can with the screen time they get but I can’t help but think they could have shortened the roster and built a stronger, smaller team before adding in others. The ultimate threat to the City/World becomes formulaic as well as the “death & destruction form above” card is played in what ends up being a lazy hand to play. Lets not forget that DC produce some of the best animated movies around and if they took the same approach to their live action offerings they would be setting the bar higher than anyone. Without doing that, then the likes of Batman v Superman & Suicide Squad come across as them trying just too hard to catch-up and mimic Marvel when they are a separate entity with their own vast array of characters who all have some amazing stories in them already.
BvS seemed to split opinion but it’s Suicide Squad that seems to highlight the thirst of some critics to knock down Comic Book movies simply because they come from Comic Book movies……an unfair approach but the fans and movie goers are seeing through this in the same way as they have before. Harley, Deadshot and Amanda Waller prove too be particular high points in their own messed up way and they manage to carry the movie across the finish line with a sigh of relief rather than a yell of triumph. The test for the movie will be box office longevity as breaking records in an opening weekend don’t always lead to an overall success. That being said, Suicide Squad DID entertain me a bit more than BvS but it suffers from the same flaws as its cool, stylish exterior can’t fully hide some of the hollow elements within. This leaves us with a good cinema offering as opposed to a great cinema experience but there is always the hope that the positives will gain momentum and exert that influence on the next movie in the DCMU.
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Will Smith as Deadshot
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Jared Leto as The Joker
Jai Courtney as Boomerang
Jay Hernandez as Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc
Cara Delevingne as June Moore/Enchantress
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Karen Fukuhara as Katana