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Suicide Squad – Movie Review

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Suicide Squad – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures

With so many comic book movies focused on superheroes, the possibility exists for a refreshing blockbuster with villains as the focus. Suicide Squad and director David Ayer seek to poke the genre with a cattle prod and it somewhat succeeds when the characters are given moments to shine. However, it gets bogged down by some of the necessities in delivering a big-budget tent pole. Ironically, for a film centered on villains, it’s the central baddie causing all of the ruckus that brings the picture down a notch. By the time Suicide Squad reaches the closing credits, the juice has already been zapped out before the third act even begins.

This is not meant to be a pretty film and that’s perfectly fine. A movie centered on criminals and psychopaths should not be all rainbows and sunshine. This is a grimy and dirty picture and relishes in the demented figures it’s portraying. For many DC Comics fans, part of the appeal of Suicide Squad is finally seeing Harley Quinn realised in a live-action feature film. She proves to be the scene stealer as the crazed psychiatrist turned criminal and brings a wonderful dosage of energy to the film. Margot Robbie understands the spunk that made Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s original creation so endearing and lasting to younger Batman fans. Will Smith displays a lot of his classic charm with Deadshot, handling both his criminal want for death and destruction and his love for his daughter.

Viola Davis captures the tough-as-nails personality of Amanda Waller, making her an unforgettable presence. She proves intimidating, even to the baddies she has to handle. She is somehow scarier than the main villain threatening the world. The Enchantress’s evil plan is a basic “destroy the city” plot, right down to summoning an army of faceless beings to fight the protagonists. Cara Delevingne’s approach in portraying the character is to wave her arms like an inflatable balloon man and it looks more ridiculous than threatening. The destruction created by the Enchantress and her minions is a bunch of noise and fake looking computer-generated effects. These elements get in the way of the more entertaining character moments peppered throughout the film.

There is a surprising lack of energy in the action scenes. Part of it is because of the hordes of monsters the Squad has to fight, but the choreography does not come across as creative. A lot of it mostly consists of gunshots and slicing through the obstacles in their way. It mostly falls to Harley Quinn to bring some pizzazz to the action scenes with her flips and baseball bat swings. The climax is one of many in recent superhero movies with a portal swirling over the city and it becomes difficult to care about the whole predicament. Far more entertaining are the Joker’s antics. Played like a gang-banger by Jared Leto, the Joker’s screen time does not amount to much, but Leto digs into the role. Despite previous acclaimed turns from Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill, Leto still showcases a unique interpretation of the character.

Suicide Squad is a film that tries hard to break out of the constraints of the superhero genre and yet still finds itself being dragged down by them. Deadpool did this expertly, so it’s not out of the question for other genre-bending pictures to follow suit. The camaraderie between the protagonists is certainly strong and one can’t help but fall in love with Harley Quinn. One almost wonders how the film as a whole would feel without Dr. Quinzel’s presence. Ironically, if ever there was a desperate call to give Harley Quinn her own spin-off vehicle, it’s this film and it would probably be a more focused picture. Throw Poison Ivy into the mix and you got a potential hit on your hands, Warner Brothers.


Stefan Ellison

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