“C’mon, we’re the bad guys. It’s what we do!”
Suicide Squad is a gritty DC anti-hero film adaptation of a 70’s comic. The film begins with the successive capturing of some of Gotham’s most dangerous criminals for the purpose of establishing a critical response team in the wake of disaster following the film’s prequel, Dawn of the Justice League. Comprised of some of DC’s most well loved villains, the movie follows the group as they work to combat an unidentified threat in downtown Gotham. Suicide Squad runs for 110 minutes, and has one of the best pop-rock soundtracks I’ve heard for a film in years. For a super-hero genera movie, the film opted for a psychotropic kaleidoscopic acid-trip vibe and sported some pretty decent visual effects. The character designs for Enchantress, El Diablo and Killer Kroc look amazing, with special effects bolstering the appearance of their costumes. One of the most interesting components of the film is its reworking of classic DC characters; including a revamp of the characters creation stories and dress sense, as well as including a few throwbacks to characters classic garb too.
Unfortunately, there are some pretty big inconsistencies within the film. For instance, there are some major plot holes which rely on logical leaps from the viewers to understand what’s happening. As such, I feel that members of the audience who aren’t dedicated DC fans may have had trouble following the plot. Generally, the film had consistent pacing issues; one minute everyone’s fighting the main protagonist, the next minute the credits are rolling. There are also a number of noticeable scenes where the angles have changed suddenly where footage has obviously been cut out at the last minute. This seems odd considering the producers took extra time to re-shoot some scenes, but didn’t tweak errors which could be easily fixed.
As a dedicated DC fan, I felt the movie was a bit of a let-down. The premise of the story was bland, and frankly could have been easily avoided; likewise I feel characters were altered a little too much. While I understand doing the same thing over and over gets boring for the creators and for the fans, I feel some of the characters in Suicide Squad were shadows of their former selves.
Furthermore, the portrayal of the characters was predictable and followed a typical trope rubric; “this is the heavy one, this one uses a sword, this is the sexy one”. Without giving away spoilers, the movie as a stand-alone was sort of pointless. Stingers allude to a sequel, and honestly, Suicide Squad felt like it was a vehicle for the set up of the next movie in the franchise. My major problem with this is that not enough time during the movie was spent setting up the characters. As such, it was hard to make a connection with the characters, making them seem one dimensional and detached.
Qualms aside, I still feel Suicide Squad is a cool movie to see if you’re not heavily vested in the DC fandom. It’s definitively an interesting movie if you’ve got a few hours to kill and wanted to see a gritty super-hero movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Reviewed by Empire Times resident DC expert, the Devil’s Advocate.