This review has spoilers, small and large. You were warned.
I’m writing this a few hours after having seen the film, so that it is still fresh, but I’m probably not going to post it for a while. This is so that I can come back to it and add anything I’ve missed in my haste.
My last three cinema trips have been to see Tarzan, Star Trek Beyond and then Suicide Squad. Much to my surprise I would have to say that I enjoyed SS the most out of the three.
The film isn’t perfect but overall it’s a lot of fun. I’m a lifelong DC comics fan so I know this comic and I know the characters. Visually the film is stunning, it’s epic in scope, the colour tone is perfect and how all of the characters look is amazing.
Some of the characters get a lot more screen time than others, but that is to be expected in a film with such a large cast. That is probably one of its main weaknesses. I think all of the characters are interesting, and done well by the actors, but some of them had so little screen time they felt superfluous at times. They were there to fill out the numbers and look cool, but didn’t do a lot.
Will Smith was great as Deadshot. I was afraid the film would become a vehicle for Will Smith and he would takeover, but this was an ensemble film. He brought heart to the character and made you sympathise with him, despite what he’s done.
Margot Robbie. Utterly amazing in the role. She stole every scene. She was mesmerising and this might sound weird to say, but I forgot it was Margot Robbie. In every film with Tom Cruise, I can see Tom Cruise playing a character. The best actors, in my opinion, disappear into the role so you forget you’re watching them. Tom Hanks is perfect at doing this because he is kind of an everyman in terms of his looks (sorry, Tom!), not that he’ll ever read this. Robbie was Harley, body and soul. She was just enough over the top without it being a caricature. She had lots to do in the film and she was great.
Jay Hernandez was Diablo and there again, a cracking performance. You really felt for this horrible, tattooed, vicious gang-banger, who has gone from a life of crime and violence to one where he’s almost a pacifist and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else with his gift, or curse. There were some great scenes, and oddly, hints at other bits we’ve seen in the trailers that were cut from the final film. Nevertheless, lots of good stuff.
The others, hmm. Captain Boomerang brought some comedy, had some great one liners, was pretty clear cut and you knew what you were getting. He had one very interesting line of dialogue that I won’t spoil, but it showed he’s a bit more astute than the loud idiot he seems to be. Katana was fine and the actress was great, but she didn’t have a lot to do. Same with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who played Killer Croc. You might know him as Mr Eko from Lost and other stuff, but here he was unrecognisable with all the prosthetics and big teeth. The character of Waylon Jones is one worth exploring, but there was so little for AAA to do. He stood around a lot, looked mean, had a couple of lines (when I could understand him through the big teeth) and smiled a lot. I think they just ran out of time. You could have lost Katana, trimmed the love story with Flagg and June a bit and given more screen time to AA and Hernandez as Diablo.
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller was fantastic. She embodied the utterly terrifying, ruthless and relentless Wall. This is someone without superpowers who had faced down the Batman and got him to back off. In some ways she is far worse than all of the Squad put together and we see this in the film. The creator of the character, John Ostrander, gave his view of the film and the character over on his column over at Comic Mix.
Ok, so I’ve touched on some of the good, here’s the bad. As I’ve said the film has too many people on it, so some of them stand around to fill the screen and don’t do a lot. Jared Leto’s Joker is different, which is good, but it is so over the top it’s almost a parody of someone playing the Joker. I should be terrified every time the Joker comes into a room. People should freak out and freeze like deer in the headlights as he is utterly unpredictable and he scares even the most hardcore criminal. They tried to do this, but personally I wasn’t that convinced by his performance.
The film also suffered from a bit of the dumbed-down idiot syndrome. There was a fair bit of repetition, hammering the point home, then getting a drill and driving it even further into your skull. We know that they are bad guys. They tell you and show you, with an intro on each at the start and their crimes, then later Will Smith’s character says things like ‘We’re the bad guys’, well, duh! We (the audience) know and everyone other character in the room in the scene knows, so who was his character talking to?
Early in the film it is implied what happened to Diablo’s family and the aftermath was shown, then they revisited it and showed us more detail, and then they still had a character ask the question about what happened and another answer it. Really. They went that far at times. It’s like using a sledgehammer to drive a tack into a wall to put up a picture. We get it!!!!
They also had some characters spout some lines simply because they sounded cool, and didn’t really add anything. Like Harley stealing a handbag and saying ‘We’re bad guys, it’s what we do’. A fun aside, an amusing bit, but incredibly dumb dialogue. Or Deadshot toasts everyone in a bar and says ‘To Honour Among Thieves’ and Katana objects, saying she is not a thief. This is true, but then again Deadshot, Diablo, Crock and Harley are also not thieves. The only thief is Captain Boomerang. The rest are assassins, murderers and sociopaths.
So, I know the director, and others in the past, have said the theatre release is their cut, however, I hope there is a director’s cut of this film. I’d like more of the small moments that have been hinted at and shown in the trailers. The action is great and all of that, but to really make us care about the characters, it would be great to see more of their interplay and bonding.
Overall, it was a fun film and I had a fun time at the cinema, far more fun than my previous two trips. I felt something for the characters, I cared about their well being and I would be interested in seeing them in another outing in the future. From the way the box office is looking, it might happen too in a few years time.