Suicide Squad - Review

At the time of this review it's only been one day since Suicide Squad's release, and it's already proving to be a divisive hit. Thanks to a wonderfully wicked cast of villains, Suicide Squad certainly lives up to the hype, but that doesn't make it perfect.

Plot

Suicide Squad is not about the plot. Heck, a movie with Deadshot, Enchantress, The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Killer Croc should certainly not focus too heavily on plot. The film follows the basic superhero storyline, with a few welcome twists. Enchantress is trying to destroy the world with the help of her equally crazy brother, and the titular Suicide Squad is sent in to stop her. The story begins and ends there, without changing even once. While this would be under heavy scrutiny in any other film, the backstories of the villains help fill out some of the void left by the main story. Deadshot is by far the most filled out, telling the story of his relationship with his young daughter, and how she doesn't want him to kill anyone. While Deadshot may have the most storytelling time, it is the tumultuous relationship between Harley Quinn and The Joker that really makes Suicide Squad a movie worth seeing. The insane duo's love has never been portrayed on the screen better, excluding any animated or comic adaptations. The film does a great job of explaining how Harley became so crazy, while also staying true to the comics. While The Joker does make enough appearances to be considered a main character, this is certainly not his movie. I would have greatly appreciated more of him, but it appears the filmmakers are saving him and Harley for something different, hopefully with a more interesting main story.

Performances

Yes, Jared Leto is a good Joker. A great one in fact, but different than previous Jokers. It would be impossible to compare Heath Ledger's portrayal to Leto's, as they both clearly pull their inspiration from different source material. Leto's feels pulled straight from the Batman Animated Series, or from any one of the excellent Batman: Arkham video games. More intentional is how I would describe it. Ledger's Joker was always very careful in the ways he performed his villainous acts, as well as revealing that he was the villain at all. Leto's on the other hand, is obviously out for blood from the get-go. His costume plays a big part in this, decked out with tattoos, grills, and some slick neon green hair, this Joker feels much more light and playful than previous incarnations. This is an amazing thing, because it gives ample opportunity to explore different sides of the character than we've seen before, specifically with Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie plays the crazed former Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Harlene Quinzell, turned sinister by Mr. J himself. Robbie gives her all in the film, but that doesn't keep her lines from feeling forced and often out of place. While it makes sense that an insane killer would talk in a way that doesn't make much sense, it seems Robbie still has room to grow with the role. Will Smith gives a great performance as Deadshot, balancing cold hard evil with sentimental tendencies perfectly. His performance brings to mind I Am Legend, which should make anyone who has seen it very happy. The rest of the cast is mostly brushed to the side, save for Diablo, who has a compelling backstory that doesn't amount to much by the end. 

If you're like me, you are constantly flabbergasted by the actor Jai Courtney. His appearances in films like Divergent, Terminator Genisys, A Good Day to Die Hard, and Jack Reacher continue to shock me and many others on the internet. He rarely brings anything more than a good face to his roles, and doesn't seem to have a lot of real talent. Those who are curious of whether he will ever give a good performance will have to keep waiting, as his portrayal of Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad certainly won't be winning him any Oscars. However, it is much more fun than his other roles, and a step in the right direction for who appears to be the great mystery man of Hollywood. 

Style

Suicide Squad is usually helped by its visual effects, though they occasionally become too cumbersome to enjoy. There are several great scenes that mix practical effects with CGI, usually involving Enchantress. Other fight scenes are aided by some smooth effects, like the fire shooting from Diablo's hands or the always accurate bullets of Deadshot. Things begin to get frustrating when the plot of Enchantress trying to build a machine to destroy the world calls for some heavy CGI. The effects often look cheesy, and bring back memories of 2015's Fantastic Four (a film currently sitting at 9% on rotten tomatoes). 

Summary

Suicide Squad is not without its faults, much like its colorful cast of villains and heroes. Thanks to standout performances from Jared Leto and Will Smith, and the promise of a compelling Joker/Harley relationship, Suicide Squad lives up to the hype of expanding the DC Extended Universe in an interesting and creative way. 

Pros- The Joker and Harley's relationship, Will Smith as Deadshot

Cons- Bland Story, Most Characters Sidelined