What can I say about Suicide Squad that dozens of movie critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes haven’t already emphatically stated? Well, how about the fact that after finally getting the chance to see Suicide Squad for myself, I can see both sides of this film-based food fight?
In other words, I understand the perspective of people who absolutely hated Suicide Squad, and I get the point of view of those that loved it. In their own way, everyone has a right to hold fast to their indignant opinions.
The question we need answered is one for the future. Which side will history likely vindicate?
Before addressing that, let’s take a look at what worked.
First up, the entire casting department for Suicide Squad. Take a bow, folks! I was highly skeptical of getting Will Smith to play Deadshot. Obviously, they knew better than I did. As for the Suicide Squad cast itself, pretty much every character shined in their role. Except poor, useless Slipknot and Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress, but more on her later.
Will Smith was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the movie, and I would love to see more of his Deadshot character. I also adored Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Viola Davis was great as Amanda Waller, but then who didn’t think she would be? Evil tough ladies with ulterior motives is something Davis has down to a science by now.
I also liked the humor. When it landed, it landed well, and that was most of the time. See, DC? You can tell a joke and not be a sellout or whatever bizarre excuse is behind the desire to be a gloomy pretentious nemesis to Marvel.
In any case, I’ll say that the characters and humor worked and that overall, Suicide Squad was a much more entertaining movie than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s a step, albeit a baby one, in the right direction for the DCEU.
Now, what didn’t work? Pretty much everything else. The frustrating part of Suicide Squad is that it felt lazy to the point of being clichéd.
A montage introduction of characters complete with names in big, flashy letters? Check. Music from every other action movie or action-packed comedy that you’ve already seen? Check. Pointless sexualizing of female protagonists? Check. A group of antiheroes coming together at the last minute to wipe out a “big bad” for…reasons? Another check.
Suicide Squad is ultimately a jumbled combination of things others have done better wrapped in a reluctant nod to fun summer blockbusters. Even when acknowledging that the characters as a saving grace, the fact is they all deserved much better than the final product. Yes, even Slipknot.
Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress had one cool scene in Suicide Squad. Other than that, she really didn’t do much except move in a way that made no sense and was kind of cringe-worthy to watch. Yes, I say this despite the fact that her character was, for better or worse (mostly worse), tied to the climax of the film.
So Suicide Squad is a lazy, wannabe summer blockbuster. It will probably only top the domestic box office for a second week, per Variety, because there’s no real competition to speak of. Suicide Squad is not as bad as some want it to be, but it’s not as good as others think it should be considered.
That brings us to a question asked earlier in the article: Who gets vindicated? Honestly, I don’t know.
Time is a funny thing. A movie you think is godawful upon release can develop a true cult following, and the next thing you know, your grandchildren are raving about what an unappreciated gem it is. Nostalgia can make some godawful movies that you hated at the time seem incredible.
Just the same, time can also leave certain movies buried under rocks and rubble, utterly forgotten by film critics and moviegoers alike.
When compared to Batman V Superman, I’ll say that Suicide Squad had enough of a tiny hint of charm that it deserves to be revisited. Meanwhile, Dawn of Justice was created as a throw-away prequel for Justice League that is both joyless and pretentious.
Unfortunately for Suicide Squad, it was brought to life in an inadequate cinematic universe, created by people who’d rather cut corners to catch up with Marvel than take their time and build their own rock-solid brand. Fruitful stories get smashed together haphazardly. Characters get ignored or poorly used.
Still, there’s good news. Harley Quinn and Deadshot are rock-solid characters in their own right. They could do well on their own projects or be used to strengthen the overall DC Extended Universe.
And yet, there’s also bad news. I do not have faith in the DCEU as currently envisioned by DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., and director Zack Snyder. Certainly not at this very moment. Something tells me that until Snyder goes, and Warner Bros. is bold enough to hit the dreaded reboot button, their movies will continue to exist as a poor man’s Marvel Universe.
That aside, I would love to see Suicide Squad get a do-over. Hopefully, with the addition of a coherent story and smarter editing.
What did you think of Suicide Squad? Will Suicide Squad ultimately be remembered as a flop or success? Share your thoughts on the movie in the comments section below!
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures, YouTube]