So, one of the more anticipated movies for the end of summer has come out. Suicide Squad opened this past weekend.
How was it? Review after the cut.
I have to be honest here. I don’t know what rating to give this movie. Usually when I go to the movies, I have a clear rating in mind when I leave based on how much or how little I enjoyed the film. And as a teacher, a 7 or higher is a good grade as it represents a 70%. Anything less than that is a bad movie. But with Suicide Squad, I was actively confused as to what to rate it.
To be sure, it is not a great movie. There were some good moments, but the good moments were scattered in between some bad or at least meh moments. It was by no means the worst movie I’d seen all summer. That’s still Legend of Tarzan, though The BFG wasn’t much better. But it was likewise far from the best I’d seen all summer. That’s still Ghostbusters. So, let’s list some of the good stuff and some of the bad stuff and go from there.
The good stuff
- Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis are all well-cast in their respective roles, particularly Robbie, even if her wardrobe wasn’t doing her any favors.
- I thought Killer Croc may have gotten all the funnier lines. He doesn’t talk often, but when he does, it’s usually a pretty good punchline to something.
- There’s an actual aesthetic to the film, unique from Batsoup, that shows. Director David Ayer has created a world that’s somewhat broken down given the events of the movie, but there’s a design element to the members of the Squad and their respective pieces of equipment that shows through. I can’t imagine Zach Snyder outfitting one of his characters, even a villain, with something like Harley’s handgun or Boomerang’s jacket. Factor in the very colorful introductory slides for the different characters and you have visuals that show Ayer had some influence on how the movie looked it nothing else.
- El Diablo’s backstory and general character. He was a criminal who didn’t want to be one anymore, and he had a darn good reason. Plus, he really came through when he had to, potentially more than any other member of the Squad.
- The Enchantress’ transformation in the briefing room was really cool.
- The filmmakers knew the source material well. Some plot points and the villain were taken from original Suicide Squad comics written by John Ostrander, who has a building named after him in the movie.
- Deadshot’s mid-movie stand mowing down rows of minions worked pretty darn well.
So, what didn’t work?
The bad stuff
- Blatant studio interference didn’t help this movie one iota. Why are DC Comics movies so at-best mediocre since Christopher Nolan turned off his Batsignal? Supposedly, Batsoup is a better movie if you see the longer director’s cut. That’s what my brother tells me anyway. Editing of a movie works if you don’t notice it, and this one seemed choppy. I don’t know if this edit was better or worse than the one Ayer turned in, but it’s still there. The various on-the-nose pop music cues seemed to suggest someone was trying to make their own version of Guardians of the Galaxy and that didn’t help.
- The Joker’s role in the movie doesn’t seem to add much. I’m not talking about Jared Leto’s performance. Joker isn’t even in the movie all that much, but the thing that bugged me was I didn’t see why he was in the movie at all. Was it just for the name recognition? Did the movie makers think they couldn’t use Harley effectively without the Joker?
- Slipknot. He’s introduced as a master of rope with the ability to climb anything. Man, they found someone who seemed more worthless in description than Boomerang, didn’t they?
- Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag was bad. So was Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress/June Moon. Now, Kinnaman was a second choice after Tom Hardy dropped out, and Delevingne as a former model might have been chosen just because of the skimpy outfits Enchantress had to wear, but the two were not very good in their respective roles, and Kinnaman in particular sounded dumb explaining Katana’s backstory.
- The Enchantress has a brother in the movie. I am not sure he ever got a name.
- Katana and Boomerang didn’t really have much to do.
And that’s not counting a gratuitous Batman cameo.
I did mostly enjoy myself, and my thirteen year old niece came with me, and she gave it ten out of ten. I think that’s a little too generous, so my rating will be a seven out of ten unexpected flashbacks.
The flashbacks didn’t always help much either.
By the by, since I was visiting family for the weekend, I opted to take my niece and her cousin/my nephew out the following morning to see Ghostbusters. Because, if you must give a teenage girl a crazy blonde as a potential role model, I’d rather it be an engineer, inventor and nuclear physicist instead of a criminal in an abusive relationship. Yes, better a Holtzmann than a Harley.