I wanted to love this movie so much. I wanted to write a great review explaining why you have to go see Suicide Squad not this weekend, not tomorrow, but right now! I wanted to convince you why you should love this movie. But I can’t, because I not only didn’t love Suicide Squad, I’m not even sure I liked it more than just saying it’s “okay.” This may be a case of building a movie up too much in my head.
Let me say this from the start: I am a die-hard DC fan. I loved Batman v Superman, and I love the direction they are taking with Justice League and Wonder Woman (which looks to be the best of them all.) I like the Marvel movies a lot, but I’m not emotionally invested in them. I’m invested in the DC movies, though. These are characters and concepts I’ve loved since childhood and I will unabashedly admit that I am totally biased when it comes to DC. I will find anything positive to say about them that I can, but in the case of Suicide Squad, a movie that I hoped would be so free of convention and expectation that it could swing for the fences, well, there’s not much.
Nonetheless, I’ll try. Let’s start with why you’ll enjoy this movie.
Margot Robbie stole the show as Harley Quinn. She was funny, charismatic, and interesting. Jared Leto was a Joker unlike any we’ve seen before and creepy beyond belief. I could have watched an entire movie of these two and been totally satisfied. Viola Davis had ice running through her veins as Amanda Waller, and she proved really interesting to watch as well. There were also some very cool cameos, some of which were unexpected and delighted the DC fanboy in me. Captain Boomerang didn’t say much, but his body language and facial expressions always drew my eye to him — he kept me entertained.
Some things that didn’t really do it for me include hokey dialogue. I mean, at times, the characters said things that were just flat out goofy – not funny, not ironic, not inspiring, just goofy.
Also, Killer Croc never quite looked right next to the rest of the crew. He was a little too “special effects” compared to the relatively homemade look of Boomerang, El Diablo, and Harley Quinn – he’d take me out of the movie every time I saw him. Croc is supposed to have a skin condition making him appear to have scaled skin, but they made this Croc literally part crocodile.
I’ll admit that Deadshot was an awesome character, and when his mask was on, he was cool as could be. But every time that mask came off, I saw Will Smith. I saw Will Smith as Will Smith playing Deadshot. I can’t help it. It’s not his fault, he did a great job with the character and came through in the action scenes. I just always see Will Smith when I see Will Smith.
At first glance, El Diablo seemed really complex and visually striking, but as the movie unfolds, he just becomes a cliche wrapped in a stereotype. His climatic scene made me groan a little. I feel like they really dropped the ball with him, especially because of the importance they gave him in delivering the Squad’s concept to the audience.
Oh, man, it sounds like I didn’t like Suicide Squad, which is certainly not the case. I liked it, but there was just so much going on — there was actually too much going on, if I’m being honest. At times I felt like I was on overload, and that’s when I stopped caring about the movie. By the end, I really didn’t care one way or the other what happened to anyone because there was just sooooo much going on all the time!
For example, each character had a backstory presented at the front end of the movie in fun and creative ways. Very cool. But then, more characters arrived throughout the movie, with more backstories, and I still had to care about those first characters, and there are lots of different plots going on, and so much action, and lots of bad dialogue, and …
So, I won’t spoil the movie, but it goes all in on the Enchantress. I mean, magic is a major, major influence in this movie. There’s also lots of bullets. And razor boomerangs. There’s a dude who can light himself on fire. There’s another guy who specializes in ropes, which is kind of lame. There’s also the crocodile guy. Oh, and Will Smith with a cool beard and a shaved head. There’s also a great story line involving Joker and Harley Quinn which utilizes several flashbacks and depicts Joker in a way never before seen. We’ve also got the Enchantress thing, which I can’t really go into, but it ends up devouring the film, and, for me, taking it in too strange of a direction compared to what occurred previously.
Truthfully, it seems like there may be no less than three movies taking place in Suicide Squad. The Joker and Harley Quinn stuff would have made a great movie all by itself. Amanda Waller putting together the Suicide Squad for a straight forward military movie could have been it’s own thing. All the magic stuff with Enchantress could have carried an entire film, just with different characters such as Dr. Fate, Deadman, John Constantine, or Zatanna.
In the end, Suicide Squad tried to do too much – too many plots, too much backstory, too many blurred genres that didn’t mesh well, too much hokiness.
I hate to say that because I really wanted to love this movie.
Should you go see it? If you’re really into Harley Quinn or the Joker, I think it’s worth the price of the ticket. They were both so unsettling and magnetic — really fun to watch. If you just want an action movie that’s busy, fast-paced, and full of color, then I think you also will be satisfied. Otherwise, though, you’ve seen most of the best parts already in the trailer.