The Squad has arrived.
This is the 3rd film in the still developing DC Extended Universe. Written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day, Sabotage, Fury), Suicide Squad follows the exploits of a team of criminals as they are used by the government to carry out dangerous missions in exchange for lower sentences.
The Squad consists of hit man Deadshot (Will Smith), the psychotic Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), ex-gangster El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), thief Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and cannibalistic Killer Croc ( Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). The team is under the command of Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and assembled by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).
If I were to sum up Suicide Squad in one word it would probably be hectic. The film starts with pretty quick summaries of each inmate and from there it basically jumps right into the action. The events that follow are pretty standard comic book movie fare, but like its core cast, Suicide Squad is far from perfect, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy my time with these criminals.
First, the positives. Suicide Squad is a fun film. It reverses one of the major criticisms of its predecessor from earlier this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Check out my review for that film). And it has a pretty damn good cast who do a good job capturing their respective character. There are a few acting highlights here. Will Smith as Deadshot reminds us of the charisma and cache he brings to these summer blockbuster roles. Margot Robbie brings great energy and unpredictability to Harley Quinn and Viola Davis brings absolute ruthlessness to the screen as Amanda Waller. Jay Hernandez as Diablo brings some tragedy to the role and his redemption story is pretty nice to watch.
One big question is, how would Jared Leto fare as the Joker? While it’s no question Leto has the acting chops, his Joker didn’t leave much of a mark here. It also didn’t help that he wasn’t in the film much at all despite marketing saying otherwise.
Other positives include the way the action scenes are shot and choreographed as well as moments in between the action where the team gets to experience some comraderie. For me the team dynamics is pretty much the point of films like this anyway.
On the negative side, not all the characters get time to shine. Katana, Killer Croc and Boomerang may have some individual team moments, but not too much on their histories as others get. Another downside is the story itself. The team’s first mission is a pretty large scale one. If it had been a situation a little more contained such as in the animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham, it would have worked better for their first tme out. The film has a nice soundtrack, but it can at times insert itself a little bit too much into the film where score would have been much more appropriate. Suicide Squad also suffers from some wonky editing. Scenes seem to jump around quite a bit. Sadly it is not by design. Characters appear suddenly, sometimes you get what feels like a gap in the action. It can be jarring at times and there is no excuse for it.
I feel that some of the negative reviews that Suicide Squad received may have been a bit hyperbolic. This isn’t one of the year’s worst films. It has it moments and brings us some really dynamic characters to the screen for the first time. Despite its flaws I had a great time with Suicide Squad and I want more films with these characters. Honestly I hope that they are just standalone films and not part of the bigger picture. Let these guys do the dirty work of the DC Universe. I’m down for it.
Final Rating (3/5) Suicide Squad brings us some dynamic new characters to the screen, but suffers from some story and editing issues that keep this from being all it can be. Still a fun time for me.