DISCLAIMER: Before we dive down to this review proper, I must confess that my knowledge on DC Heroes is almost zilch. I do know about the existence of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and I can roughly tell which heroes are in Marvel or DC, but that’s about as far as my knowledge goes.
So naturally my editor thought it would be a GREAT idea to get a clueless writer to catch the movie preview to offer a different take on the highly anticipated American super-“hero” movie.
The brouhaha of Suicide Squad has been palpable since its creators released the official trailer this January. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite met the expectations of movie critics, as one can tell with their 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the plethora of bad reviews everywhere.
Directed by David Ayer, the film’s plot centers around a team of supervillians made to carry out high-risk missions for the US secret agency. Led by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), she recruits veteran hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), deranged Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), fiery ex-gangster El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the ancient Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and scaly cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje). In exchange for shortened prison sentences and other miscellaneous demands, they become a covert group meant to tackle the worst of the worst. Waller also recruits Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to be her main commander. Meanwhile, the Joker (Jared Leto) is on a mission of his own to rescue Harley from the clutches of the secret agency.
Contrary to all the negativity, I think Suicide Squad isn’t as bad as everyone makes it up to be. With the likes of Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Viola Davis, its arsenal of talented actors in the ensemble cast offer some saving grace to the hero flick.
Margot Robbie stood out for me and nailed her role of Harley Quinn impeccably. She was insane, creepy, bad-ass and funny in all the darkest ways– it was everything I expected from the Joker’s completely mad lover. Perhaps the most memorable scene was during the mission of defeating the Enchantress, Harley casually smashes through the glass of a mall display and steals a shiny handbag for herself. When Rick Flag asks “the hell is wrong with you people?”, she simply replies with “we’re bad guys, it’s what we do”.
I also really enjoyed Davis’ portrayal of Amanda Waller, which bears resemblance to her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, an American drama series she also starred in. Both of them are fierce, feisty and know how to manipulate others to get what they want. To me, Davis really excels in roles like these.
Now, back to the actual film itself. Waller’s introduction of the Suicide Squad in the beginning definitely helped to give some context for its members, which was useful for clueless viewers like me. Dubbed by Waller as “the worst of the worst”, she introduces their backgrounds, abilities and weaknesses. She later concludes why she wants to recruit them as assets for dangerous missions in the United States. This established the whole objective of the movie concisely, allowing me to follow the rest of the plot easily.
There were some misses though. Not every member of the Suicide Squad had their fair share of the spotlight. It seems like only Deadshot and Harley Quinn are the only prominent members, which gave me the impression that they subtly self-appointed themselves to be the squad leaders. Everyone else just seems to be forgettable after a while. But we did enjoy how the introduction wasn’t dragged out to a painfully long run-time in an effort to try and sell every character to the audience.
Suicide Squad’s marketing strategy plays on intense colours, as evident by its posters which even brightened up our train stations for a while. This intensely chaotic colour palette made me think that the Joker would have more airtime because he is defined through his bright colours, right?
But not only did I barely see Jared Leto in the big screen (apparently his total airtime was only 20 minutes, the movie lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes), the settings and overall tone of the film was much darker than I expected, which is good for long-time fans familiar with the dark deeds the Suicide Squad does. But the consistency as shown in the posters and the actual film was not there, at all.
Nonetheless, do take the negative press created by movie reviewers with a pinch of salt and judge it for yourself when it releases in cinemas. While it may not cater to everyone’s tastes, it wasn’t as sorely disappointing as I thought it would be.