Suicide Squad Film (2016) Review

Suicide Squad - Film Poster

The cast from left to right: Slipknot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Katana, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, and El Diablo

Crazy, unconcerned and psychotically jagged, Suicide Squad will treat you to moments of fun but largely engulf you in an onslaught of hollowness and disjointed writing. By the end of the film, the main thought overriding my mind was ‘what was the point?’ Were the Suicide Squad really ‘bad guys’ and did they prove to the audience that they can be humanity’s salvation?

The film does follow on from the events of Batman v Superman and it does introduce new elements that set up or potentially sets up future stories in the DCEU, but they are kept largely minimal. Apart from the end and Batman investigating certain meta-humans, there isn’t much to take away from the film. Hell, we didn’t even get confirmation of who killed Robin in the film, David Ayer had to confirm it during one of his interviews that it was ‘the Joker’ who killed Robin.

Where the film’s story should have been built up on top of the characters, their stories and interactions with each other, it is instead skipped in favour of placing those characters in scenarios that appear ‘cool’ and ‘fun’ injected with a hit of music for good measure. Once the introductions of the characters were over, which I did think were entertaining given the stylised approach to it, the disjointedness and jarring hollowness become apparent. The movie struggled to find a flow, with its messy editing it struggled to even make the viewer believe there was one to begin with. The movie favoured form over substance, so much so that it barely even bothered with substance much. Less than half of the team got back stories and significant coverage. For a movie about the ‘Suicide Squad‘, it seems concerning that we only got to know half of the team and that we’d be okay with half the team missing/not present. I am still trying to figure out why the writers thought it was a good idea to introduce Slipshot to only kill him without adding any weight to his death to affect the viewers. Sure he proved the bombs in their necks were real, but he just showed up and then…died… Viewers were left more perplexed than anything. Was he even in the squad long enough to be part of it? What were we really meant to feel about his character?

Don’t get me started on Killer Croc, what a lame Super villain – was he really meant to be terrifying let alone interesting? Ah, I had such high hopes for his character before watching the film, hope that the writers would cover Killer Croc in a unique and tortured manner that would lead the viewer to care for and root for this unknown/minor super villain. In the end, he was just an annoyance. RIP hope

Suicide Squad - Katana

I have to admit, Katana looks amazing in the film, wish she had more of a prominent role…

Katana, oh supercool and badass Katana, what did they do to you? Why did it take Fukuhara answering an interview question to understand why she turned her back on Argus and joined the Squad members later in the film in the bar? With just a few lines and brief flashback, we barely had time to understand her and realise the fascinating nature of her character, story and pain – loved the coverage her character got in Arrow. Hopefully, Warner Brothers take a chance with her character and include her in future DCEU films.

Jared Leto’s Joker, I honestly thought he was going to be the main antagonist based the trailers which I did see, what a disappointing reality awaited me and possibly many others when we did go and see the film. The Joker wasn’t even a secondary villain, he was more a background character that served to highlight Harley Quinn. When you have such an iconic villain as the Joker, why hold back with him? Why include him when the full extent of his purpose is rescuing Harley Quinn? There are so many shades to his character than crazy and obsessed with Harley. I can’t really completely judge whether Jared Leto made a good Joker because there wasn’t much coverage to judge. I would have loved to see more of the Joker but it seems like Warner Brothers were afraid of tainting the iconic image Heath Ledger built up of the Joker and instead opted to focus on the Joker minimally to avoid risking ruining it. Which is a shame as the film could have used a proper antagonist. The Enchantress was just pathetic, completely and utterly pathetic as the primary antagonist – why the hell was she wiggling her hips when casting her spell? Ridiculous. For a 3,000 year old ‘God’, Enchantress was grossly underwhelming.

Suicide Squad - Joker

Ah, what could have been…

Fortunately, there were some positive things to take from the main characters – Deadshot, Harley Quinn and El Diablo. We got to learn about them and understand their reasons for doing what they are doing. Deadshot personifies the squads motivation to change in how he hopes to become a better person in the eyes of his daughter. His daughter understands that he has done some bad things but she believes in him and that in turns inspires Deadshot to want to become the person his daughter sees and believes in.

Harley Quinn, one of the highlights of the film, she was constantly fun, interesting and had some of the best lines. Margot Robbie did a fantastic job illustrating the crazy and psychotic nature of Harley. While we don’t get much character development from her, we do get to understand how she embraced the madness and what kind of psychedelic her relationship with the Joker is – they both feed off each others ‘crazy’. With Harley getting a lot of the focus to shine, the other more unknown members unfortunately had less time to create a lasting impact on the viewer.

El Diablo came as a surprise to me, I wasn’t expecting to like his character so much but his actions and attitude of wanting to stop himself from harming others anymore gives us a good insight into who he is and what his current motivations are. It is tragic what eventually happened to him, but hopefully, the DCEU can pull some multiverse strings to get El Diablo into a potential Suicide Squad 2, if there is one.

In regards to the plot, what was the point? The team was assembled on the premise that the US government wanted a group of people capable of stopping a superman level enemy who didn’t share the US brand of ‘justice’. After the events in this film, who would you call to stop such an enemy? Certainly not the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad should have been a film that served as a window to getting to know the many characters featured within. It should have gotten us excited about the many characters, it should have compelled us as viewers to rethink our opinions about the characters we didn’t care about, instead we are left frustrated and concerned about not only the characters but the future of DCEU, not in terms of continuity, but in terms of quality.

Warner Brothers may have been too ambitious with Suicide Squad, but the upper end interfering that went on trying to ‘course correct’ the DCEU direction by interjecting individual ideas without proper oversight created one jumbled-of-a-mess film. Coherency was non-existent. I was left more confused and puzzled than entertained.

Overall, Suicide Squad is a film that looks colourful, cool and energetic but it has minimal substance to carry it as an engaging work of cinema. It had so much potential to be great but through the lack of an overarching purpose and clarity, it ended up falling flat within the confusion of what it should be. Ultimately, I can’t really bring myself to recommend this film to others but if you are interested in the characters than you should watch the film, but if you are looking to be entertained, Suicide Squad won’t really be your answer. Instead I will recommend the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham to those interested in watching how a movie featuring the Task Force X/Suicide should have been made.

Enjoyment level 3.5/10

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