I’m late to the party on this one but it’s actually the last thing I watched at the cinema (I couldn’t convince Chris to take me to see Bridget Jones’ Baby)! I know there’s a lot of mixed feelings about the film, so I thought I’d give my two cents as an average movie-goer with no expectations or prior knowledge of characters or comics. Spoilers ahead, obviously! This isn’t going to be a full-length review with lots of information and critique because I haven’t done Film Studies since 2013 and, well, I wouldn’t even know where to start. But I’m going to give it my best shot.
Suicide Squad was SO highly anticipated. Like, crazy amounts. But especially the Joker.
Being the first movie Joker since Heath Ledger, Leto had a lot to live up to and we were looking forward to (or dreading) seeing his interpretation, especially since the trailers really focused on him. Buuuuuuut we hardly saw any of him. Some people were okay with that but I was looking forward to a new take on the Joker! I guess I was expecting him to be the main villain of the movie because of the trailers but what we did see of him was pretty cool. Lots of people really hated him but I thought the modern version of the Joker was refreshing and current.
[Side note: I’m not a fan of Jared Leto as a person (he has allegations of statutory rape of underage girls and also has tweeted some offensive things in the past and there’s even some weird reports from people who’ve worked with him) but I don’t know enough to form a proper opinion on it.]
So, the actual villain was the witch, played by Cara Delevingne. Mmm. Not a fan. She’s a great model and I’m sure she’s a lovely person but I just don’t like her as an actress, with her weird voice and weird hands. Also… a witch? Ugh. Just.. no. It just felt so WEIRD and it was hard to get invested into the scenes with her. It could have been so good, but they ruined it with magic. Why would a girl with a baseball bat, a guy with a gun, a guy with a boomerang and a big crocodile get sent in to fight two beings with these amazing cosmic powers? There’s literally no sense in that. Also, there was a big laser going up to the sky. Sound familiar? That’s because it seems to be the main go-to for all superhero films in the past few years.
Harley Quinn was a great
calendar character. I know we’ll be seeing thousands of iterations of her come Halloween but I actually really liked her look and her characterisation, even with the booty shorts. Some people have said the relationship between her and the Joker romanticises abuse but you have to be aware that it’s just how their relationship is. Yes, it is abusive and dysfunctional and they both have mental health problems but it’s just a portrayal of them in a film and it shouldn’t be aspired to. As far as I know that’s how they’ve been since the beginning (in the comics) and it’s not exactly showing how amazing it is to be in that sort of situation.
The comedy aspects that they added were mostly gratefully received and DC have definitely started to learn that there needs to be some light humour in their movies sometimes. The DC universe always seems bleak and dark compared to the MCU but you can see how they’ve started trying to capture some charm. It wasn’t quite there as promised, but it tried. Captain Boomerang seemed to be the ‘funny one’ of the group and most of his quips were great but some felt a little forced – this could because they deliberately added some humour into the script after they had finished filming and it didn’t flow as well.
The scene at the bar was probably the best scene in the movie. There were a couple of good scenes but also lots that just really didn’t work. Weird flashbacks, character development that didn’t go anywhere, any scene with the weird lady in charge of them all… Also, there was way too much introducing the characters at the beginning so it got a bit tiresome. The one guy that didn’t get some sort of introduction died straight away, so it wasn’t any sort of shock and we were all just waiting for it to happen. In fact, I’ve actually assembled an idea of how the film SHOULD have played out!
Captain Boomerang gets arrested. In order to reduce his prison sentence after being caught, he gets asked to start the Suicide Squad. Killer Croc then gets introduced, followed by Katana, Deadshot, El Diablo and lastly, Harley Quinn (leaving the best until last?). The group are tense and distrusting because, y’know, they would be.
The big villain is the Joker. He has a some sort of stolen weapon and the team have to take him down. He’s the reason Harley is in prison so there’s a love-hate relationship there rather than adoration (there’s the flashbacks still but it’s more of a ‘look what he did to her’ thing). So they go to wherever he’s hiding his big weapon to get it back. They don’t work together very well as a team. They separate. Boomerang and Deadshot bond over their families. El Diablo and Harley bond over abusive relationships. Killer Croc and Katana bond over bad-assery. They finally reunite to have the bar scene and then team up against the Joker.
Harley betrays the team for the Joker because love = complicated. El Diablo is just about to get his flame on after not wanting to (like the actual film) to try and protect Harley from the relationship and he gets killed. They get away and find an escape route that means they could get out without dying (I hated the bomb-in-the-head thing, it would have been more realistic to have gunmen on them if they tried to abandon ship). They decide not to escape. They end up working together really well and use each other to wipe out the baddies.
Joker has the weapon (and Harley) and the team face him again. The Joker tells them he’s going to use the weapon. Harley is sad and Joker throws her off whatever building he’s on. Harley survives somehow and knocks out the Joker with her baseball bat and stops the weapon. They all go back to prison together (after-credit scene makes you aware that the Joker did survive too).
In conclusion, I think the film is enjoyable if you just take it at face-value and don’t look into it too deeply or actual think about it in detail. It’s another ‘superhero’ (well, supervillain film that raked in the dollar and can be enjoyed for what it is. It could have been so much better, though.
What did you think of Suicide Squad? Do you think my version is better or worse than the actual film? What would you do differently?