Suicide Squad. You’ve heard the reviews, critics and more telling you about the film. Now… let us [Insha and Stephanie, Hi!] tell you some things about the film as well.
We’re here to give you some of our thoughts thoughts in a duel review of Suicide Squad. You can hear more about our thoughts in this week’s episode of Comicsbound as well, but we just needed to get some stuff off of our chest today.
Suicide Squad is directed and written by David Ayer, who has directed and written some of the most awesome movies including Training Day (2001) with Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington and Fury (2014) with Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and a brilliant ensemble cast. David Ayer brings Suicide Squad in a direction that’s funny, clever at times, but almost doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Suicide Squad comes from the pages and influence of the DC comic with the same name. Although there are many different lineups, the core group for Suicide Squad tends to remain the same. This movie gives us more of the recent lineup of the DC new 52 arc instead of the classics.
The film focuses on Amanda Waller’s mission to put together a task force, she aims to bring the “worst of the worst” to deal with some of the… things that no one else wants to deal with. When Amanda brings all of these people together, we’re introduced to some of the key players including: Harley Quinn, Deadshot aka Floyd Lawton, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Croc and Katana. They’re fighting a deadly enemy that is pretty adamant on destroying the world.
Insha: Honestly, I had very low expectations for Suicide Squad. I almost dreaded sitting down in the theater and watching it, but to my surprise… it wasn’t as terrible as it seems. There were some hit or miss moments in the film and we’ll get to those a bit later, but I have to tell you guys… I really enjoyed this movie for what it was.
The things I found most enjoyable were the characters. Suicide Squad is a character driven film overall. While the plot falls flat a bit, the characters liven things up and make the film really pop for what it is. The two characters that stood out [in the squad] the most to me were Harley Quinn and Deadshot. They were absolute scene stealers whenever they were on screen. I kid you not, I couldn’t look away whenever they did…anything. Will Smith as Deadshot almost stopped me in my tracks. I loved him and I wasn’t expecting that at all. He was funny, sarcastic, realistic and probably the best characters to grace the screen. The scenes where his relationship with his daughter were the most heartbreaking and it shows that his character has that Achilles heel.
As much as I despise Harley Quinn’s outfit, Margot Robbie completely slays you with Harley Quinn. She has the voice, the personality, the skills, the body, everything you thought Harley Quinn should be and much much more. What surprised me was the amount of details they put into her, including the diamond tattoos, the body language and the again, the voice. Harley Quinn has always been one of those great animated and comic characters and have had great women behind her including Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch and Mia Sara, but Margot Robbie brings a new life to Harley that’s never been seen before. It’s refreshing and brilliant to watch.
Stephanie: TOTALLY agree here. How sad is it that THIS is the best costume that we’ve seen on Harley in like, a decade? BRING BACK THE SPANDEX SUIT! Robbie was a perfect casting choice and my one lingering thing is that I wished she’d been written better. Harley is silly and batshit crazy (pun definitely intended) but she’s still a goddamn doctor, so she’s SMART. She deserved better than the writing she got in the film, but that could be said for pretty much everyone, to be fair.
Three other characters I very much enjoyed were Amanda Waller, Katana and Enchantress. Amanda Waller has been known to be a tough bit, but Viola Davis absolutely KILLS Amanda Waller. That role was made specifically for her and her performance is Amanda to a tee. I really wished they used Katana a lot more in the movie than they did. Katana’s story is very rich and super cool, but they didn’t really do anything for her except use her as muscle which was disappointing.
Stephanie: I know Lan said that he didn’t think the story would benefit from more backstory but I think characters like Katana definitely could’ve used more development. If the DC Cinematic Universe would use the TV stuff for continuity, they could’ve connected Arrow’s version of her to the movie to make it a bit easier for fans to connect those dots and understand what she was all about. Davis is a goddamn queen and I loved how cold and ruthless they made her. Mind you, I have some feelings about how women are portrayed that way too but I won’t get into them here. I’ll just leave it at I liked it.
Honestly, Enchantress was clearly the shining light at the end of this tunnel for me. I know a lot of people don’t like her, but Cara Delevigne absolutely made this character her own. The CGI on her was a bit much, but I didn’t care as much as I thought I would. She made me care about her and that’s important, even though her backstory was short and sweet, the result and seeing what Enchantress was and what it was doing to her made me care about her way more than I originally did. Her relationship with Rick Flag had me invested as well, but not enough to really care what happens. I wish they had hyped the relationship up to give me more of what they had to offer. (I really liked Rick Flag too. He just looked so damn tired.)
Stephanie: I have not seen a movie with Delevigne where I was like “Wow, she’s amazing!” and yet I am completely endeared to her. I think I’ve watched too many videos from her interviews and sassy modeling and she just seems like the most hilarious person. Plus her facial expressions (and dem eyebrows!) are always ON POINT. This has nothing to do with her as Enchantress, but let me just add in that I truly feel like every single thing that was wrong with her portrayal was the fault of the director. GIVE HER ANOTHER CHANCE (and a pair of pants, please).
Which brings me to other parts of the movie that I loved. The soundtrack for Suicide Squad was ON POINT. I originally wanted to see this movie because of the song from Twenty One Pilots “Heathens” and Grace and G-Eazy’s “You Don’t Own Me”, but I never expected to get such a gritty and great soundtrack coming from it. I will give whoever put this soundtrack together so much credit because they absolutely slayed it. It was a combination between the old classic sounds of War and Creedance Clearwater and the new sound of Grimes and Kehlani. It all worked inside of the film making it completely memorable.
Stephanie: I have listened to “Heathens” approximately 132 times since seeing the movie.
Now… for the honesty of my dislikes.
The plot was very muffled and muddled for most of the film. Some scenes very much weren’t necessary and when they brought in Slipknot (an original Suicide Squad member) for ten seconds, his presence really wasn’t necessary to begin with. I wanted to see much more than what I saw. I wanted to see these characters connected to the plot more. I wanted to see the TRUE relationship of Harley and Joker and the loving relationship between June and Rick. I needed a more stable plot and more substance. I didn’t get that with Suicide Squad.
I want to get to the thing I have been dreading talking about since I started this review. The Joker.
At first, when he didn’t speak, talk, or laugh… I didn’t mind The Joker’s presence, but then it constantly nagged at me. I’m a big Batman fan and being that knowing the Joker is kind of a given. The Joker’s presense in any Batman movie, comic, television show or more, feels you with a bit of excitement, but fear at the same time. The Joker is unpredictable. He’s a wild card. I can honestly tell you that I’m still stuck on Heath’s version of the Joker, so yes, my view is very limited. I can also tell you, I keep an open mind, with that being said… I hated Jared Leto’s Joker… a lot.
Stephanie: SAME SAME SAME. He’s the actual worst and not in the way he’s meant to be… it’s like he was in a really shitty improv class and was asked to do an impression of The Joker but he wasn’t actually sure who that was and just decided to wing it instead.
It was more of an emotional thing for me in terms of this Joker. Jared Leto’s Joker… made me uncomfortable. It was not in a good way, but in a way that just didn’t feel right. Jared’s Joker in Suicide Squad was a combination between A Death in the Family, The Killing Joke and (as Jared puts it) David Bowie. It was a “gangsta” type Joker like how you see in Brian Azzarello’s comic Joker. You can see the crazy combinations of these, but that still didn’t make it any better. His performance felt very eerie and off putting, the Joker’s actions in this film were dangerous, but I didn’t care about it… at all.
Harley and Joker’s relationship in Suicide Squad came off as loving and affectionate to a point and that made me gag. Harley has suffered way more emotional and physical abuse from the Joker, but he never comes back for her. In this movie, it felt as though the Joker will ALWAYS be there when she falls and that’s not the case most of the time in the comics. I had the hardest time dealing with this portrayal than anything else in the movie.
Stephanie: Ok, I’m not adding much in here because I completely agree. The editing was atrocious. Like just goddamn appalling. The dialogue and the story were ridiculous at best, and not necessarily in the good way. I really, really want people to stop idolizing Harley and The Joker. Their relationship is complex and hella f*cked up. You could say that you like the portrayals or the struggle between them and the weird stuff that brought them together, but to genuinely want a relationship like theirs? NAAAOoooOOOOooao. It’s a broken, abusive relationship and no one, I repeat, NO ONE should want that sort of bullshit in their lives.
Overall, I thought the movie was good for what it was. I’ll probably talk about this on Comicsbound and I’m so sorry guys… I’m so sorry. This was a lot… I need to shorten this.
Stephanie: at the end of the day, after pros and cons, I also liked the film. As a movie faithful to the source material and characters, it’s a hot mess, but it was a lot of fun as a silly, mindless action flick for the summer. So take that as you will.