Suicide Squad

Jack Brink

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DC Comics’ Suicide Squad was released worldwide to theaters on August 5, 2016, and tells the story of a group of some of DC’s greatest supervillains being forced to team up under the government program, “Task Force X”, to, quite ironically, save the world from supervillains.

Many were pegging this film to finally be the one to end the DC Extended Universe’s unlucky streak of critically panned movies, after Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to stir critics. There had been an insane amount of hype surrounding this movie and it looked as if, following some jaw dropping trailers, it would, without-a-doubt, surpass fans’ expectations. However, unfortunately, the film managed only to disappoint.

Suicide Squad had everything going for it: A stellar cast that included the likes of Will Smith and Jared Leto, beloved characters, such as Harley Quinn, making their big screen debut, and a bold, fresh idea of the supervillains taking center stage in a superhero movie. So, with everything seemingly in their favor, what went wrong?

When it really comes down to it, the film’s main problem is just a major case of “too much, too soon”. The movie tries to pack in as much as possible in its two hour and three-minute run time, and as a result, many aspects of the movie suffer.

The reason why Marvel’s The Avengers worked so well was because each of the main characters had their own screen time to delve into their backstory and flesh out their personality, thus leading to the Avengers films being able to focus on the team-up aspect and relationships between characters within the storyline. With so many main characters, Suicide Squad has to introduce and explain all of them, which takes up a large sum of run time, leaving little time to make relationships between the characters meaningful. This results in it feeling forced when it’s finally time for them to team up.

With what time it has left, the film decides to focus on Harley Quinn and Deadshot; a wise decision considering how phenomenal Margot Robbie and Will Smith are at playing these roles respectively. Unfortunately, this means characters like Katana, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc end up being criminally underdeveloped. They get to kill some bad guys (well, guys more bad than them) and that’s about it, the audience barely getting to learn anything about their past and what drives them.

The character most underutilized though, is Jared Leto’s Joker. Many were skeptical when Leto was cast in the role, yet in the few (and I do mean few) scenes he is in, he captivates the audience. He’s sadistic, unsettling, and pretty funny all at the same time. I truly believe that if he was given some better material to work with, his Joker could have been one of the better interpretations of our time.

“Too much, too soon” doesn’t just apply to the amount of characters in the film, but also to the film’s central villain. DC continually insists on using these gigantic, “This could be the end of the world!” plots; such as how they did near the end of Dawn of Justice. They do it again, here, with the Enchantress and her plot to… build a machine…to destroy the world? Most of us who have watched the movie are still unclear about her whole scheme. Suicide Squad would have worked so much better on a smaller scale mission – something big, but not as apocalyptic. Not every movie has to have the highest stakes in the world. We didn’t need the unnecessary drama and “importance” that this film had. A smaller, less complicated plot could have made it easier to flesh out characters and backstories.

This is not to say Suicide Squad didn’t have its merits, because it did. The actors who are given time to act, such as the previously mentioned Robbie, Smith, as well as Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo, are brilliant in their roles, somehow appearing larger than life and spectacular, yet oddly relatable in their wishes and desires at the same time. Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller was also great, and in all honestly has become one of the most intimidating characters in the entire DCEU.

The movie is also bolstered by an amazing soundtrack, with each of the fantastic songs perfectly fitting the scene or character they were chosen for. I, personally, have not stopped listening to the soundtrack for a solid month.

One of the few positives from the movie’s attempt at trying to fit in a million different things at once, is that the action is a mile a minute. There is never a dull moment or break from the fun of the movie. I truly do mean this: It’s a fun movie. I have many criticisms about the film, but I cannot deny that it’s an entertaining, thrill-ride of a time. It has some great action sequences, interesting Easter eggs for the hardcore DC fans, and the minds behind it definitely decided to listen to critics from previous DCEU films, upping the humor by a lot.

Suicide Squad isn’t the worst movie ever made. Far from it. However, it is one of the most disappointing. It went from being what could have possibly been one of the greatest comic book movies of all time, to being a mediocre one at best, which should never have happened. On the positive side, this movie has given us some great characters to work with – ones that have potential to steal the show in any upcoming titles they’re in, which has me very excited for what the future holds, whether that be them starring in their own film (very likely Harley Quinn), a new team up film (possibly Katana in Birds of Prey), or even a Suicide Squad sequel.

With the enormous box office this film brought in, along with the excitement for future DC titles, this can’t really be called a swing-and-a-miss for DC. For right now… Let’s just call it a foul ball.

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