Suicide Squad Review

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By

Justin Shanlian

“Suicide Squad” is superhero escapism at its finest. This film is a cinematic, fast paced, fun, exciting, funny visual treat. David Ayer is a master filmmaker when it comes to assembling stories with huge ensemble casts, and this film is his most ambitious and entertaining to date.

Plot-wise, the film is a bit simplistic, but “Suicide Squad” doesn’t need to try and be a Martin Scorcese or a Stanley Kubrick film. The story may not be overtly rich in narrative glory, but it displays many delightfully stimulating elements that keep the audience interested throughout. The beginning of the film works really nicely as we are introduced to some of DC’s biggest villains.

The action in Suicide Squad isn’t just fun and exciting it serves plot purposes and moves the story forward smoothly. Ayer is coming into his own as one of the top contemporary action directors in the world. He is not known for strong action, but his balls-to-the-wall brutal action sequences in this film are a nice addition to overall quality of the film. From the top down there is not a single bad performance. Ayer knows how to bring amazing performances out from every single member of his cast.  Will Smith, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto really shine; it’s a testament to Ayer and his ability to work with some of the industry’s top talent and truly have them dive deep into their respective roles that add so many necessary layers to their individual roles.

As the Joker, it seems that Jared Leto has taken every version of The Joker from the comics and integrated them into his performance. It works so well. His voice seems to be a hybrid of Mark Hamill’s and Heath Ledger’s; it’s creepy and disgustingly immoral, just as readers would imagine. This version of The Joker only has one thing in mind: getting Harley Quinn back. It works, but it would have been better if his role allowed him more screentime. When Leto’s Joker is on screen he is electric, unpredictable, funny and completely terrifying. He is exactly what the Clown Prince of Crime should be. It’s a shame he didn’t have a more prominent role.

Margot Robbie nails her role as Harley Quinn. It is as if she was ripped right from the pages of  DC Comics and leaped onto the silver screen. She hits every nuance that we all know and love from Harley Quinn. She is even able to channel that classic Harley voice that we have become familiar with from Bruce Timm’s and Paul Dini’s Batman: The Animated Series. Robbie is campy, fun, creepy and mentally deranged. She also brought a lot of depth to the role as well, as those quieter moments and scenes had in the film truly resonate and add something special that audiences can truly embrace. Robbie is able to channel something dark and deep, that the audience can never truly pinpoint, and the further down the rabbit hole you go into her character the scarier she becomes.

There are a few issues with “Suicide Squad,” some more prominent than others. At times, some of the editing choices lead to pacing issues which can be jarring. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away from the overall quality that has been established by Ayer and his production team. A few minor changes could be made to improve the future sequels that we’re all hoping for.  One of the more glaring issues of the film is the flashback between Joker and Harley, which takes the audience away from the main story of the Squad. The introduction t0 the members of Task Force X, however, was exciting and entertaining. Their individual stories are cut together in a lightning fast interesting way. When the film cuts to the Joker and Harley narrative it doesn’t necessarily drag, but it doesn’t move with the same fervor and intensity as the rest of the story. The moments between those two characters are necessary to future scenes and future films, but the way that they were edited together should have been done differently to mirror the pacing that was already established in the film. Some of these characters will be featured in future sequels, but in all honesty they could spin off into their own films too. Who doesn’t want a live action Deadshot film set in Gotham City? Or an adaptation Paul Dini’s Mad Love? Featuring Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

The other main issue with “Suicide Squad” is the end of the film. The final action piece feels a bit “been there done that” as we have seen the portal-bringing-bad-guys-to-Earth trope in a few previous superhero films. It was anticlimactic and left viewers wanting more. Luckily the smaller, more private moments that each character feels during this final act make it work, but just barely. The character of Enchantress and her motivations were a bit underwhelming during that final battle. Just the way that her character was written and her motivations left a bit to be desired. Those final moments during the huge final battle could have been layered a bit more, with clearer motivations. The fight sequences between the Squad, Enchantress and Incubus should have lasted longer, too.

Those issues don’t negate all the good that is in “Suicide Squad” this movie is flawed, but the positives are throughout and the negatives only lurk for moments at a time. Will Smith is the emotional anchor for the film and he does a fantastic job. His father/daughter scenes are some of the best cinematic moments that we have seen this year. Let’s hope that he will be involved in future DCEU films — including the Ben Affleck solo Batman film.

“Suicide Squad” has a lot of heart, action and having Waller and Batman in your film doesn’t hurt either. Make sure you stick around for the stinger after the mid-credits too, for a nice dollop of things to come in future DCEU films. You don’t have to wait for the entire credit crawl to see some amazing Easter Eggs. Make sure you give this film a chance, don’t listen to critics who bash it. Be your own critic and judge the movie for yourself. You’ll probably enjoy this film as much as I did, flaws and all.
B/B+

 

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