I’ll be honest. My first draft of this opening was far more combative than what you’re going to read now. And had I published this article shortly after seeing the movie last Sunday, you would have seen that first draft. I was prepared to come out, guns blazing, shooting down decently reviewed movies that I didn’t believe were all that better than Suicide Squad. But as the days passed, I decided that that wasn’t the type of article that I wanted to publish. So, you’ll see none of it. Instead, I’ll stick with my thoughts on Suicide Squad.
In short, I enjoyed the movie. Yes, I do believe it has some pacing issues. And there are some rough transitions cutting between present day scenes and flashbacks, and also going from action to exposition. But the characters really make this movie. So, let’s jump right into it. Spoilers after the break.
Suicide Squad is the story of several villains being coerced into doing the government’s dirty work. And I think with that first detail is where some misplaced expectations began. Suicide Squad isn’t immensely known outside of comic readers, but that’s not that big of deal. There have been unknown properties succeed fairly recently. Unfortunately, I feel people tried to lump Suicide Squad in with those other movies, that I’ll leave nameless. I have faith that you can figure out which two movies I’m talking about. But there’s a major difference. Those characters, deep down, are actually good guys. Sure, they may be a band of lovable losers or make nothing but crude jokes, but they are in fact good guys trying to take down bad guys. Here we have a group of undeniably bad guys trying to take out other bad guys. There isn’t really anything current that you can compare it to. Maybe The Expendables, if all of them were horrible people.
But anyways, we get some flashback, origin type scenes that introduce us to each of the characters. I really liked the introductions done like this. Yes, it was a little over-stylized, and the visual of the character introductions doesn’t actually match the rest of the movie. It’s difficult to describe exactly, but there is a brief character bio displayed on screen, and then a flashback scene of how they were captured. The flashbacks were entertaining, and did a decent job of providing enough information on these characters. But it was weird when Amanda Waller goes through the introductions in a dinner meeting, and then lists the characters again in a military meeting. Yes, it makes sense in a real life scenario where people in the “official” meeting weren’t at the dinner meeting, but you’re not making the movie for characters in the movie. You’re making it for the audience watching the movie. They don’t need that list again.
Things go terribly wrong when Enchantress releases her brother Incubus, and his spirit also possesses somebody. Here’s where the movie gets in the weeds a bit. June Moone, the woman possessed by Enchantress has a romantic thing going on with Rick Flagg. Flag sees Enchantress disappear for a while, and return. The next day maybe, Waller sends him with June and a team to check out a mystical disturbance. This disturbance is Incubus. Enchantress takes over again and disappears. The question I’ve seen is why would Waller send them after Enchantress disappeared the night before. The simple answer to that is that Flagg probably didn’t tell Waller, out of fear of what might happen to June. So, the next question is, why would Flagg go with June, knowing what happened the night before? I don’t know. Maybe he was just naive. Maybe he was blinded by his love of June. I don’t know. Whatever it is has to be assumed. Here, I felt like the better move would have been for Enchantress to just sneak away to do her thing, so that the audience doesn’t have to ask the question of what was Flagg thinking.
With everything gone to hell, the Squad is called in to retrieve a high value target from an office building. Just that. They were not sent to deal with Enchantress or Incubus. Who was going to take care of them? That’s also a good question. There was some mention of a second team black ops team that they lose contact with. So maybe they were going to take them out. During the mission, they run into these creatures that we learn are people that Incubus has taken over. They look pretty silly, but I do think it was the right call to not just have the Squad mowing down actual people, and instead, take out these “monsters.” I won’t spoil everything, but know that when they reach their target, things don’t go well with the extraction, and this leads to them actually having to take on Enchantress and Incubus.
There’s also a subplot involving the Joker, and his attempts to find and rescue Harley. For me, these scenes really hurt the pacing of the movie. I understand that with having Harley in the film, you really want to show her connection to the Joker. But that subplot doesn’t really have that good of a payoff, and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. They may have been better served by only showing Joker in the flashbacks, and then maybe having a surprise appearance in the present day.
The brightest spot of this movie is without a doubt the work done by Will Smith and Margot Robbie as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. I thought both did a fantastic job in showing the complexities of each character. With Deadshot, you get the combination of contract killer, but also someone that strives for the opportunity to be a good father. In Harley, you get someone longing for a normal life with her love, or something as normal as she can have. Of course, her normal right now is pretty crazy, but that’s fine as long as he Mr. J is in the picture.
In the end, while I did enjoy what I saw, I would like to see a director’s cut of the movie, similar to Batman v Superman. I encourage you to maybe find a matinee, and see and judge the movie for yourself.