We fought the crowds to see Warner Bros. Studios and DC Entertainment blockbuster Suicide Squad on opening night and having seen it with a packed house in one of many sold out sessions I have to say it was an enjoyable night at the cinema.
On first impression, as fun action movies go it’s easy to see why fans are loving this movie.
After any closer scrutiny whatsoever, it’s easy to see why critics are tearing it to shreds.
Firstly I have to say I strongly disagree with anyone declaring this movie to be worse than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and those few critics announcing the recent train wreck Fant4stic is a superior film are either kidding themselves or know nothing about Marvel’s First Family.
Suicide Squad does plenty of things right and the vast majority of people leaving those sold out sessions did so with smiles on their faces, myself included.
The soundtrack is upbeat and fun, there are plenty of jokes, the characters each have their own great spotlight moments to establish who they are and why they’re here and David Ayer has turned what should have been the off-beat undercard offering from DC into the best introduction to a shared DC cinematic universe committed to screen to date. All of those things make for an enjoyable ride.
Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy however (an inevitable comparison even if you ignore Spirit in the Sky featuring on both soundtracks) the upbeat pop-music soundtrack is completely at odds with the actual content of the movie, giving a light-hearted feel to many scenes that logically have no right to feel that way and with song choices that a cynic might suggest are artificially designed to cash in on the success of Guardians of the Galaxy rather than having any relevance to Suicide Squad. Thanks to the multiple awesome and very funny trailers, 90% of the jokes are spoiled because they’ve already been shown over and over again, oddly leaving Killer Croc with a couple of the biggest laughs. Add to that the hugely unbalanced use of Deadshot and Harley Quinn as essentially dual protagonists and some weird things start to happen with what you might expect to be an ensemble movie. Killer Croc‘s three jokes outnumber the amount of times he gets to do anything in an action sequence, an especially odd choice when it results in Harley Quinn racking up a significantly higher kill count with her baseball bat than the supposed powerhouse of the team. So too does Deadshot manage to star in the action sequences, plot development and character scenes. With that said, Will Smith and Margot Robbie both deliver performances worthy of such attention and easily carry the movie between them.
In terms of plot issues, Suicide Squad doesn’t suffer from anything that other action blockbusters haven’t done before. Some clumsy dialogue fails to convince us that the hordes of evil minions are incredibly tough and can “shrug off a headshot” right after a 10 minute action sequence of dozens of said minions being killed in droves… specifically with headshots, the big bad monster has the ability to kill anyone with the touch of his arms, so when the protagonists face him he starts kicking them around harmlessly instead and perhaps most frustrating of all, none of the hints of genuine plot actually develop into anything of consequence.
It may be too harsh to call this a DC Entertainment failing, but after two Zack Snyder blockbusters it was ultimately disappointing to have the fresh hand at the wheel fall into the same trap. It’s acknowledged briefly that every single enemy faced throughout the dark and brutal (albeit bloodless, thanks to the PG-13 rating in the US) action sequences was once an innocent citizen of Midway City. Everyone that the heroes and anti-heroes (because mostly the Suicide Squad go out of their way to not be particularly villainous) kill over the course of this movie are innocent people, yet any and all consequences will have to wait for a sequel.
All in all the plot doesn’t achieve anything beyond establishing the Suicide Squad as a team, killing a whole heap of civilians, destroying a section of a fictional city, exposing Amanda Waller (well played by Viola Davis)as the most evil person seen in a DC movie to date and then for some inexplicable reason throwing in a post-credits scene to link her with Bruce Wayne.
The credits and the two scenes within them are fantastic examples of the strengths and weaknesses of this movie as a whole.
Bright colours, fun music, Harley Quinn and a Batman cameo all make for a positive experience as a fan.
The party atmosphere clashing with the depressing events of the movie prior to it isn’t ideal.
The much hyped Leto-Joker being nothing more than a leader of assault-rifle carrying criminals isn’t great.
Bruce Wayne getting files on metahumans he already has files on and expressing interest in starting a team he’s already expressed interest in starting adds literally nothing and offering protection to the woman wholly responsible for the death and destruction of innocents completely undermines the character of the man that dedicated himself solely to bringing Superman to justice for less.
Ultimately any in-depth analysis of the movie will reveal it to be bullshit, but if you like your bullshit brightly coloured, funny and with a super-catchy soundtrack you can certainly do a lot worse than Suicide Squad.