Suicide Squad Review: Looking Back

 A few years ago in August of 2016, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures released Suicide Squad. I was very excited in the lead-up to the film as a big comic book fan, and the film looked like so much fun. After first seeing the film, I did feel disappointed, but since I had been waiting to see it for so long, I saw it as a great and fun movie. In 2020, with my thoughts on the film changed, and no new films currently releasing due to the pandemic, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit the mismatched group of maybe not-so-super villains.

       Let’s start with what I like about the film. The cast is still superb in my opinion, but let’s talk about which characters come off well. Will Smith brings a lot of coolness and gravitas to Floyd Lawton AKA Deadshot, but also some emotion to the role. His first scene where he is tracked down by Batman (portrayed here by Ben Affleck) is not only swift and cool to look at, but shows how much he cares about his daughter. In fact, his daughter is what drives him throughout most of the film. Margot Robbie is near-perfect as Harley Quinn, so much so that she is in my top three portrayals of the character. She rides the line between crazy and compelling so well without ever getting annoying, which is hard to do for the character. I also thought Viola Davis was a great choice for Amanda Waller because she pulls off being intimidating almost as if it’s natural to her. I enjoy El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) as well.

       Aside from the cast, there are a few things I also like. All of Deadshot’s action scenes are entertaining, and I often find myself returning to watch those scenes on YouTube. I love the few times Batman shows up, and I kind of wish we could have had more of him in the film, even if it were just one scene more. El Diablo’s backstory was well done, it’s still fun to see Ezra Miller’s Flash cameo (despite recent controversies), and I really dig that short post-credits scene between Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne. Not to mention that the special effects aren’t too shabby and some of the jokes really land.

       What I think is bad about the film unfortunately really overshadows what is good about it. The biggest problem namely being the plot. The plot itself is one giant, jumbled mess. It starts off strong and promisingly, but falls apart, leaving something wanted. Although it may at first seem like it is just focusing on the characters more than the plot. I’m afraid it doesn’t seem focused on either. The movie isn’t focused. Things happen over here, then over there, Joker pops up for a second to distract you, and he’s gone the next to remind the audience, and the writers, that he’s not the real plot. You either make Joker the real plot or don’t include him at all, especially after hyping him up in every trailer, only for him to be in the movie for ten minutes. They kept the real plot hidden for so long, only for it to be another portal shooting into the sky. I am far from the first person to complain about all of this, nor will I be the last. Over time, I also just really don’t like Killer Croc in this film. Nothing is wrong with the actor (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but Croc is given nothing to do until the last ten minutes. He has a funny joke once or twice but that’s about it. For such a built man, they somehow make Akinnuoye-Agbaje look small as Croc, it was a huge misstep on the (Oscar winning) makeup department’s behalf. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing the character.

       There are some things I’m basically indifferent about in the film. Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker isn’t great but it’s not terrible either, I think we really needed to see more of him to form a full opinion, but at least he was somewhat menacing (design choices aside). I also really have nothing to say about the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) or Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Sure, their effects are cool and one is the main antagonist, but they’re both just kind of there. I don’t have as big of a problem with David Ayer’s directing style as everyone else does. It’s definitely the same thing in each of his films, but there’s nothing outwardly offensive about it. It’s just not that unique.

       Suicide Squad could have been great, it could have been a special kind of comic book movie, instead it’s just messy and mediocre. I have fun watching it and truthfully get the urge to watch it a lot of the time, but looking at it critically, it’s just not good. If you’re looking for some fun to entertain you for about two hours, you can pop it on and have a good time, but if you’re looking for a bit more than fun, popcorn fluff to pass the time, you can skip Suicide Squad.

Final Rating: 6/10

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