If you’ve been anywhere near social media over the last week, you’ll no doubt have heard the early “buzz” (or lack thereof) for Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad. “An abomination!”, they said. “Worse than Fantastic Four!”, they said. And when you factor in the early outpouring of green splotches on Rotten Tomatoes, the early consensus certainly wasn’t good (even if we really, really need to start changing the way we look at RT).
As a critic trying to keep an open mind – let alone a regular moviegoer – this repeated onslaught of negative feedback is difficult to ignore, and with the best will in the world, the vast majority of the general public are going to be heading into this movie with some sort of preconceptions. So before I get to my actual (100% spoiler free) review of Suicide Squad, I have one simple piece of advice for each and every one of you.
Make up your own mind.
By all means, read as many reviews as you like, including this one (thanks for that, btw), but be under no illusions that at the end of the day, you’re only reading one person’s opinion. And with online reviews and word of mouth seemingly impacting the success or “failure” of comic book movies more than any others, it’s doubly important that you form your own opinion about whether you want to see a particular film or not.
Okay, so let’s move on to the film itself, and the burning question on everyone’s lips… is it any good?
Yes, yes it is. Again, this is just my opinion, but this is a film that feels fresh, exciting, and absolutely nothing like either Man of Steel or Dawn of Justice in either tone or aesthetic. Backed by one of the best soundtracks since Guardians of the Galaxy, the Squad are introduced quickly and effectively, and while the cast does feel a little bloated at times, the bigger players – Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Will Smith’s Deadshot and even Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo – are all given ample time to grow, develop, and build up some fantastic team chemistry.
Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinniman’s Rick Flagg and Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress all perform their roles admirably, and Viola Davis is utterly fantastic as the truly detestable Amanda Waller. In fact, of the entire cast, the only character that really grated on me was Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc, who – for my money – didn’t work here at all.
Okay, to the next burning question… how was Leto’s Joker?
Well, while his role is a lot more limited than I’m sure a lot of people will be expecting, I’m of the opinion that Leto absolutely killed it with an intense, menacing rendition of the Clown Prince of Crime that is, once again, like nothing else we’ve seen before. Yes, there are hints of Hamill and Ledger in there, but Leto most definitely stamps his own mark on the character from the first moment we see him. Yes, I’d have liked to see a little more of him, and I’m sure we will later down the line, but his appearances had some serious impact as he cut through the film like a force of nature, and there’s definitely an argument to be made for a “less is more” approach to a character like this. What he did, he did incredibly well, and while he was never realistically going to approach Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning turn, his interactions with Harley gave her character an added sense of sadness and gravitas that worked wonderfully alongside her goofy, “vexing” exterior.
There has to be some bad things about it though, right?
Most definitely. The middle act felt a little jumbled, some of the action sequences felt tacked-on and overly drawn out, the finale featured a now typically (particularly for comic book movies) underwhelming villain, and – as I mentioned – Killer Croc flat-out sucked, but I honestly felt these to be fairly minor niggles when compared to everything the film got absolutely spot-on.
The inter-team chemistry, so vital with characters that the majority of moviegoers will only know from the promotional material, was fantastic, and watching them grow and come together over the course of the film really captured the spirit of the Squad. The cameos and Easter egg-esque references were used sparingly, maximizing their effect, and the groundwork was laid for this film’s place in the larger DC Cinematic Universe without things ever feeling too forced.
So overall, my opinion of Suicide Squad is a fairly simple one. Is it a perfect film? Absolutely not. Is it a fun, fast-paced and dynamic film that pays great service to its source material? You’re damn right it is. And for me, that’s exactly what prompted me to buy my ticket in the first place.