Going in to Suicide Squad I read a lot of reviews, and most of them were terrible. Their unrelenting negativity washed over me. I was heartbroken. I had been looking forward to this movie for months, but I steeled for the worse and went anyway with my lovely wife, and you know what? I enjoyed myself quite a bit. No Suicide Squad is not perfect, and yes it did feel like two different movies at times: one a dark over the top action comedy, no doubt being pushed by DC, and the other a more standard David Ayer (the director) grimy street crime drama, but I liked both of those movies.
The setup for Suicide Squad is that US government is worried that the next ‘Superman’ may not be a good guy, so they greenlight a project being run by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to have the bad guys be forced to work off their long prison sentences by saving the world. Not to mention they have bombs in their necks, so if they don’t behave their commander Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) has a button to take a little off the top.
The biggest issue with this movie’s plot is the pacing. There are so many new characters to introduce that in the beginning Suicide Squad can’t seem to focus for more than a few minutes, but once those introductions are finished and the premise becomes clear the movie kicks it in to high gear. Sure the big bad’s plan in this film didn’t make a lot of sense, but not to a movie breaking level like everyone seems to be saying it is.
What elevated this movie for me were the amazing performances. Suicide Squad is an ensemble movie, so the ensemble had to do their parts, and man did they ever. Viola Davis owned Amanda Waller. She was every bit the imposing morally gray A.R.G.U.S. director comic book fans have come to know and love. Will Smith and Margot Robbie likewise nailed their roles as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. I also need to give special attention to Jay Hernandez as El Diablo. It would have been very easy for him to get lost in this movie, but he made El Diablo the emotional center of this film.
One role that is going to be a divisive for a lot of fans is Jared Leto’s Joker. In the comics and the cartoon he always keeps affections for Harley Quinn under wraps. You tended to get the feeling in the comics that their ‘romance’ was fairly one sided with Harley being infatuated with the Clown Prince, but the Joker couldn’t be forced to care about Harley’s well being or feelings. Not so in Suicide Squad. The Joker is just as infatuated with Harley as she is with him. Not to mention Leto’s Joker seems like he is high all the time. He doesn’t seem to be the razor sharp and calculating villain most people expect. I liked this different take, but I can understand why more than a few people are upset.
If you have been excited to see Suicide Squad, but the bad reviews have put you off, you should still go see it anyway. While there are a lot of things they could have done better it was still a ton of fun, and a great way to see a good representation of a lot of fan favorite characters. I hope the Squad gets to come back because I can’t wait to see where they take these characters next. It would be a shame if the Suicide Squad was a one and done franchise. It has amazing potential.