So let me open with a disclaimer. I was never much of a DC guy, and I haven't seen either of Suicide Squad's previous movies. Still, the trailer looked like a lot of fun, and I thought I'd give it a shot.
Review by Crispy
Added: August 16, 2016
With Superman gone, the United States government is scrambling to come up with a contingency plan in case the next one that arrives isn't so friendly. Amanda Waller has the answer. After taking control of The Enchantress, a six-thousand-year-old sorceress that's possessed the body of archaeologist June Moon, she plans to assemble a team of the worst sociopaths she can put together. Scouring the world's prisons for other meta-humans, Waller is going to use The Enchantress' powers to force the group to cooperate in the deadly, black ops Squad X. In the meantime, she's assigned career soldier Rick Flag to guard June, knowing that they'd fall in love, giving her leverage over an elite military unit as well. Naturally, you can't just keep all that power under control, and Enchantress finds a way to release her brother into New Way City, build herself an army of her own, and separate herself from the control Amanda has on her. It's time for the Suicide Squad to take action.
Like Batman vs. Superman before it, Suicide Squad isn't faring too well with critics, but I have to say, most of the common complaints I keep reading about it aren't quite warranted. One of the most repeated is how poorly developed most of the characters are. Croc is the only one who got completely lost in the shuffle, and Captain Boomerang was reduced to comedic relief. Of course, with a name like Captain Boomerang, would you expect anything less? Deadshot got the most complete arc, which is to be expected since he assumed something of a leadership role, with Harley Quinn coming in a close second. Despite her fan-favorite status, Harley didn't need a full arc just yet. Considering there is no way DC is going to move forward in a movie franchise featuring Batman without including her and Joker in future installments, they have plenty of time to really delve into those characters. Besides, pretty much any movie about a military squad is going to see its members fall into various tiers. The plot has also come under fire for running on the thin side, and I have to admit that this one has some merit. With that said, if you go into this expecting your basic action movie plot, you won't be disappointed. I know that this isn't much of a defense, but it was enough to keep things moving. It's one of those movies that coasts on the action and the characters, and it worked beautifully in that regard. I had a blast with it. The only thing wrong with this approach is that in the grand scheme of the DC Universe, I get the feeling Suicide Squad's biggest contribution will be introducing Joker and Harley.
That's not to say the movie doesn't have its problems. For one thing, they really rushed this group gelling together. They had this big sappy pow wow, and all of a sudden they're referring to each other as family. Something like that should have taken a few missions to develop, and it was incredibly ham-fisted the way they did it. The biggest problem I had was that they didn't dive into the movie's novelty of a squad of villains hard enough. They were put together because they were a bunch of ruthless, aggressive sociopaths, yet the most we see towards this end was Harley stopping to steal a purse out of a store window. I understand Flag had them on a leash, but there was nothing special about their actions to differentiate them from any group of soldiers.
I know it's not a great idea to do this, but seeing how this is my first foray into DC's Universe, I thought I'd take a minute to compare it to what Marvel has been doing. For starters, the whole tone is completely different. There's not even an iota of that bright, comic book feeling; instead, DC's world is darker and much more cynical. Likewise, the action scenes follow suit, employing a much more gritty style. Granted, considering this is supposed to be a movie about the villains, this might just be a side effect of that, but truth be told, I really hope not. If I want that feeling, I can just watch the Marvel movies. I'd much rather have DC do their own thing. Also, Marvel's phases consist of a collection of solo movies that come together in The Avengers before separating. While I can't say for certain having not seen the other two movies, this felt more like DC Universe 3 than is own animal. While this approach might lead to an ongoing problem of rushing characters into the franchise without giving them a chance to develop (a complaint levied a mere two movies in by most critics), it can absolutely work.
Despite the ensemble cast, all everyone could talk about going in was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as the Joker. I wasn't too keen on this iteration of the Joker (he struck me as just an amalgamation of Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson's interpretations of the character) but he's also got a much smaller role than the trailers would have you believe. I've no doubt that he'll be popping up in future sequels, so I'll wait to pass judgement until he gets a full movie to call his own. On the other hand, I absolutely loved Robbie's Quinn. She captured the character's insanity perfectly and I can't wait until she gets a chance to go full-on villain. There was also a lot of talk of Will Smith forcing the studio to tone down Deadshot to match Smith's more family-friendly reputation. While I can't say I'm familiar with the character, I can say this is a definitely a nastier Will than we're used to seeing. Of course, you can tell it's a bit forced for him, but not enough to cause any real collateral damage. Also, I really like the way Jay Hernandez handled El Diablo, a pyrokinetic gang-banger trying to live a pacifist lifestyle. On the other side, Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag is pretty much a straight-forward soldier, but Viola Davis did amazing things with Amanda Waller. I'm actually really looking forward to seeing her in future installments. Finally, Cara Delivingne didn't actually have to do very much acting as The Enchantress, as her role mostly consisted of gyrating in a bikini in front of an electrical vortex. I will say she did that very well however.
So, I definitely enjoyed Suicide Squad. It's a brain-dead action movie sure, but I had some fun with it. More than that however, it's piqued my interest in the rest of the DC Universe. I definitely intend on going back and catching those other installments. 7.5/10.