Suicide Squad (2016)

An elite team of the world’s fiercest villains are assigned to put a stop to a power driven witch in the latest DC Superhero epic ‘Suicide Squad’


Film Review

The high powers of US government recruits an assembly of infamous antiheroes in order to protect, succeeding the death of Superman. The alleged ‘Suicide Squad’ are forced into a situation of life or death, with the prospects of shortening their sentence hanging in the balance. Intended as part of the recruitment, the possessed witch Enchantress is quick to revolt against the operatives and seek resurrection of her brother and assist her plot for domination. It’s then down to the band of bad guys to ultimately put a stop to the power-driven antagonist, collaborating together their mix of contrasting abilities

High Expectations

Let’s just cut to the chase straight away and say how relived I am that this lived up to be what I hoped. As one of the most highly anticipated blockbusters of the year, the expectations were understandably high proceeding the release. When initial reviews surfaced following the premiere showings, the results were far from what was to be expected. It’s because of these that I’ll admit skepticism did set in.  I am still fully aware, even months after the release, that my verdict is very much dismissed in the views of critics and even acquaintances. But a second viewing of the feature does still captivate me, perhaps more than it does for others. But I can’t avoid the numerous flaws.

Before getting into the many elements to discuss, I will point out that one problem that does bother me was having already seen the trailer too many times to fully appreciate the nature of the feature. Already I have covered briefly some of my quarrels with this over-saturation in a previous post. This is following examples from Suicide Squad as well as DC’s Batman v. Superman as both provoke many reasons to debate over.

Good to be Bad

Fundamentally, it’s a very character driven feature. Already, there have been multiple comments regarding how the storyline and action were lacking, yet this doesn’t trouble me much. I consider the characters themselves to be what drives the plot – and subsequently the film – forwards. Being able to see Harley Quinn in her first live-action cinema appearance is a pleasure in itself. Margot Robbie portrays the right level of crazy, anger and general Harley sexiness that we could expect from the clown’s unhinged companion. It’s obvious to understand why she got the most screen time of them all.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Addressing the personification of the Joker seems to be a topic that is unavoidable when reviewing the film. Jared Leto is by all means, not a bad actor at all. His introduction to the role in fact did fortify my hope for this style of Joker. As much as I enjoyed seeing more of him in the extended cut, I can still come to conclusion that he isn’t suited for this particular film. In a film full to the brim with villains, his appearance doesn’t have the chance to reach it’s full potential which is such a shame. He has the cackle, the splendid crazed presence, but the few scenes he’s given just don’t flow well with the rest of the film. It’s understandable why Harley would mention her enigmatic Mister J whist being held by the task force, but his extra scenes aside from the main plot aren’t needed for this. In fact, scenes such as the Joker’s rescue of his beloved Would’ve been more effective to have saved this for his own movie.

Each villain is introduced through the means of flashbacks, with longer segments provided to Harley and Deadshot. The exceptions being Katana and Slipknot, who are both instead given small segments of all too convenient exposition from Rick Flag. Slipknot didn’t even really need to be there overall. There was no way they could  have expanded for each of the Squad members, as it would just lead to overly complicated flashbacks and back stories. The imbalance that is created from the additional Harley and Headshot screen time seems unnatural and messy. Can’t deny that Harley is a brilliant character, but an equal measure of backstory would’ve benefited the group.

No Honour Among Thieves

Questions do remain revolving around Amanda Waller’s character. She believes the bad guys can in fact do good in Superman’s absence. Multiple times she’s indeed told she’s making big mistakes in recruiting them to do her dirty work. When it comes down to it, it’s because of her meddling with the high risk individuals that then leads to the exposure of Enchantress. Fundamentally, there would be no story if she didn’t try to propose hiring them in the first place. She’s an irritatingly stubborn leader, creating problems and then forcing others to clean up after her. She then leads the bad guys to clear up an anonymous threat. Also why was there a file bind up of all their plans in a big folder marked ‘Top Secret’?…There are so many expositions in some hope for narrative progression.

In general, there were just too many characters to focus on to make a thoroughly successful epic. Both Deadshot and Harley come across as protagonist characters, yet neither seem to develop accordingly. They all float through the loose narrative, not getting a proper chance to expand in the way that would be hoped for in an effective DC feature. There are attempts at giving the individuals more character, yet these cut short and audiences don’t ever care enough for them. The scene at the bar brings forward a new side to El Diablo in particular, he’s got a messed up background that has so much promise to be highlighted more. Yet this is only brought to attention over halfway through.

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite the many flaws, I can’t help but still have a soft spot for the film. Even when I scrutinise it and discover further annoying qualities, it still doesn’t fail to entertain. It has a lot of potential to say the least, each character could be expanded and explored but there is such a lack of any kind of development. Let’s not even go into the disappointing antagonist…

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