Film review: Suicide Squad

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: https://barrygjquinn.wordpress.com You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn

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I seriously do not understand the criticism hurled at the DC Extended Universe. So, the movies aren’t as funny as Marvel – so what? Darkness can be good. Darkness was good in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; it’s BRILLIANT in Suicide Squad.

Mild spoilers to follow.

Suicide Squad isn’t without its flaws – don’t get me wrong – but it’s easily the second-best superhero film EVER, falling just short of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Suicide Squad is fun and bold, featuring a (mostly) memorable cast of characters. I’ll get the huge negative out of the way first, though.

Yeah, you guessed it. The baddie. It’s always the baddie in a superhero movie, right? As was the case with X-Men: Apocalypse and Ant-Man (and will probably be the same for Doctor Strange), the bad guy is introduced hellbent on destroying the world and then… nothing. I won’t spoil who the baddie is, because DC have done a surprisingly good job of not revealing it, but they turn up and then do sweet FA for 90 percent of the movie while the team is set up and navigate Midway City. If the bad guy is as powerful as they are made out to be, surely they wouldn’t have to wait around until the good guys turn up in order to put their plan into practice? ALL superhero movies need to develop their baddies. Maybe let the baddie win for once?

Suicide Squad is so good because of its cast. Sure, some are forgettable. Slipknot? Who? Killer Croc looks stunning, but other than that he’s one-dimensional and completely unnecessary, really. He’s tame, whilst he should’ve been tearing people limb-from-limb. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is dealt scant material here. And El Diablo only really comes into his own in the final act, though Jay Hernandez is good throughout.

But it’s Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie who truly steal the show. Will Smith’s Deadshot is a typical Smith role: i.e., Will Smith himself. Will Smith only plays characters who are EXACTLY like him, but that’s what makes them such enjoyable roles. Smith is the true heart of this movie, and his motivation carries Suicide Squad much more than the wet romance plot between Rick Flag and June Moone.

Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t really have all that much screen time, but he lights it afire every single time he flashes those jewelled teeth. As a method actor, Leto is stunning. Just look at his turn in Dallas Buyers Club. Here, Leto has managed to make the Joker different from those performances that came before him. The Joker is truly deranged. Manically laughing whilst firing a gun midway through, there are hints of how dark this character can become. I cannot wait to see his relationship with both Harley Quinn and Batman explored in future films.

And Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is as brilliant as the trailers led you to believe. She’s a scene-stealer, and she’ll have you laughing numerous times. Yeah, most of the jokes have been ruined by the trailers, but she is just fantastic. The few, brief scenes of her and Leto together are stunning. We could’ve had a movie based JUST on Harley Quinn and the Joker and I would have left the cinema a very happy man. Their chemistry is sizzling.

So Smith, Leto and Robbie are, unsurprisingly, brilliant. BUT, surprisingly, it’s Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller who is the standout. From the very beginning you get the impression that Waller is a formidable force to be reckoned with, and she only gets more ruthless as the movie progresses. The mid-credit scene certainly sets her up for future appearances, and I. CANNOT. WAIT.

If there’s one qualm about this cast, though, it’s that there are simply too many characters. Suicide Squad probably should’ve come later in the DC Extended Universe, after some of these characters had been introduced in other movies. The Joker, Deadshot and Harley Quinn, of course, could’ve been introduced in a Batman movie. Captain Boomerang could’ve been introduced in The Flash. As thrilling as the flashbacks at the opening of this movie are, it’s a huge information dump that slows the pace of Suicide Squad straight away.

But, as it is, it works exceptionally well. All of the characters have been introduced now, so surely they’re gonna pop up somewhere down the line. The solo Batman movie is rumoured to take place entirely in Arkham Asylum, in which Batman is pitted against SEVEN villains… Harley Quinn and Joker – that’s all I’m saying. Anything with either of these in will be brilliant.

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