The latest DC Extended Universe film, supervillain teamup Suicide Squad, received quite the drubbing from critics and has a dismal 27 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But the audience rating is at a respectable 69 percent and it is broke August box office records. record. Something is wrong with this picture.
I was very excited when I saw the action-packed trailers and weird characters but understandably apprehensive when the critics tarred and feathered the movie. And, after having seen it, I can tell you that, while Suicide Squad is not the greatest superhero film ever, it is solid action movie with a lot of personality. I will be breaking down my non-spoiler review in three parts:
#1 Worst Heroes Ever!
The film is about of a group of criminals, some highly skilled and others with superhuman abilities, who are forced by the government to battle a supernatural threat. And how does the government make them fall in line? Why, by placing an explosive in their necks that will blow up their heads if they disobey or try to run away. It is quite the incentive.
The motley crew is led by deadly hitman Deadshot (Will Smith) and lunatic and Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). With regards to Harley Quinn this is the first live action appearance of the character and Robbie does not disappoint. She is unhinged, darkly humorous and deliciously violent, and her antics are the biggest highlight of the film. During my viewing at Digicel IMAX audience members were cracking up for her as well as some of the other jokes throughout the flick. Smith is the biggest actor attached to the project and, while he delivered the physicality of Deadshot, his usual Will Smith wisecracking seemed out of place.
After Robbie the best performance of the film was Viola Davis as the brutal and ruthless Amanda Waller, the government official that assembles the squad. In a film with a human/crocodile mutant and a gangster who can create fire at will, Davis’ Waller is the scariest character and the definitive portrayal of the DC comics powerhouse.
Another character people were looking forward to seeing was Jared Leto’s clown prince of crime and Batman nemesis the Joker. This portrayal is creepy with a bit of a gangster twist. I found him to be okay if nothing extraordinary and definitely not in the league of Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger. Overall I enjoyed every character and they all had their moments.
#2 Violence – It’s what they do
If you are coming to this movie looking for lots of action you would not be disappointed. It is quite the thrill ride. We have Deadshot, the man who does not miss, shooting up the place, the acrobatic Harley taking people out with her bat, the tank of Killer Croc muscling enemies, swordswoman Katana chopping up baddies and fire starter Diablo burning people up in spectacular fashion.
The stunts and practical effects look great and the special effects were top notch, though I found one of the main villains looked a bit odd. I was generally satisfied with the battle set pieces though I probably could have used just one more to be completely satisfied. And I also liked the quieter, more relaxed moments with the characters and you could fell the camaraderie.
#3 Nothing New
With an eight-member squad, back stories, Justice League cameos and the Joker’s side story, the film had quite a lot to balance.
Deadshot and Harley are the most fleshed out regarding their origins and motivation but we do see the tragic origin of another character (which I will not spoil here). I appreciated that an effort was made to give some body to the members’ characterisations and not just have them as one note caricatures. Overall the plot is nothing revolutionary and plays out like your average super hero movie with your run of the mill destroy the world/take over the world villain. But what it does, it does well and I never felt bored, overwhelmed or taken out of the experience. If they do a sequel they should go for a Rated R though as I felt like they were holding back a bit.
In terms of the DC Extended Universe I found that Suicide Squad delivered a better overall movie experience than the bleak Man of Steel or the muddled Batman v Superman though it was not at a level where it can give the best of the Marvel films competition.
Ranking – Suicide Squad gets 3/4 crazy clown girlfriends.
So have you seen Suicide Squad? What did you think of it? Feel free to comment below.
For my review of Batman v Superman you can click here and for my look at the Justice League trailer you can click here. And for more anti-hero movie reviews you can check redmangoreviews for new posts Monday to Saturday or follow me on Twitter @suprememango012.
Julien is outie like a navel. l8rs
NB – This review originally appeared in an altered form on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday