Review: SUICIDE SQUAD Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
Date: August 2, 2016, 11AM CT
SYNOPSIS: It feels good to be bad.
Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
David Ayer is directing SUICIDE SQUAD, which stars Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Also in the cast are Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Viola Davis, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Scott Eastwood. - Warner Bros. Pictures
On the other hand, perhaps you loved BvS and are simply ready for the next installment of the DCEU.
Regardless of where you stand on BvS and the state of the DCEU, something’s going to bring us all together and that something is SUICIDE SQUAD.
David Ayer’s SUCIDE SQUAD is big, bold, action-packed and, well, fun. There’s never been a comic book movie like it before. Frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air. Not for just DC Comics films, but the entire genre.
I’m sure many of you reading this very likely are familiar with the premise of Task Force X, AKA the “Suicide Squad. If not, I’ll fill you in. The U.S. government, under the direction of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis – who is great and plays Waller as a ruthless sociopath) wants to create a covert group of operatives made up of supervillains (some with “Metahuman” powers, some without) to combat the next superman that shows up on Earth. Just maybe – according to Waller – the next one won’t “share our values” and be a good guy like, well, Superman.
It’s doesn’t take long before the government calls on Waller to pull the trigger on her special, special ops group as something evil (not bad, evil) is going down in Midway City (though there was no sign of Carter Hall or the Doom Patrol in the film).
And that there is the entire basis of Mr. Ayer’s film: It’s not “Good vs. Bad,” no, it’s “Bad vs. Evil.” This brings up the question of whether or not we, the audience, can – and should – root for supervillains. Are all “bad people” without remorse and can never be redeemed? I’m not going to spoil anything for you all, but I will say you’ll very likely answer that question for yourself come the end of the film.
The strength of this movie is its cast. While some shine more than others, the ensemble as a whole is great. When I attended the SUICDE SQUAD press conference in New York City, it was evident that the entire cast really liked each other and had a blast making the movie. Their off-screen chemistry followed them on-screen and the film is better off for it.
(Photo by Bill "Jett" Ramey)
Speaking of the cast, if I have to spotlight a few, I particularly enjoyed the performances of Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, and, of course, Jared Leto as The Joker the most. A quick note on each…
I know some people figured Will Smith would be “Will Smith,” not Deadshot, in this film. And yeah, his personality is front and center. However, for the way the part was written by David Ayer, it fit Smith like a glove.
As far as Margot Robbie as Harley, she nails the things that make Harley, well, “Harley.” However, she also humanizes her and makes her something more than simply The Joker’s crazy girlfriend. And yes, she's hot (which is not a bad thing as some folks have tried to suggest).
I never thought I’d say that I was looking forward to seeing Captain Boomerang in a live-action film, but was after seeing Jai Courtney in the film’s previews and trailers. And he didn’t disappoint me! Boomerang was funny – but not in a “comic relief” kind of way (though he does provide comic relief). He’s more like the guy who is just funny due to the way he is – you know what I mean?
Then there was Jared Leto’s Joker. I’ve got to say that it took guts – and a hell of a lot of confidence – to take on this iconic role so soon after Heath Ledger’s legendary performance in 2008’s THE DARK KNIGHT. Leto’s Joker is totally different from any live-action incarnation we’ve seen before; yet, he’s very much still “The Joker.” He’s a scary, psycho gangsta that shouldn’t be trifled with. However, this Joker apparently has a heart. I won’t tell you the details, but let’s just say it’s the entire reason the character is in the film. But his one soft spot aside, this Joker remains a terrifying killer. And despite what the trailers and marketing would make you believe, The Joker in SUICIDE SQUAD is actually a secondary character. Regardless, Leto makes the most of his screen time. At the press conference, Leto told us that playing The Joker was a role of a lifetime. Here’s hoping we see more of him in the future – and I think we will.
The review continues after the trailer!
And yes, The Batman (Ben Affleck in a cameo) is in SUICIDE SQUAD, as well all already know. As David Ayer said, Batman is shown from the point of view of the bad guys. So, you'll briefly get to see Batman do Batman things to Batman villains. (And let's be honest, OK? SUICIDE SQUAD is basically a DCEU film that exists in the Batman sector of that universe.)
Another positive is the film’s soundtrack. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know that they worked in Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.” There’s more of that throughout the film and the songs that Ayer picked accentuate both the film and the characters. Good stuff.
The film isn’t without its faults. With so many characters, there are are moments where things get a bit convoluted and confusing. Also, while the finale against the “Big Bad” is well executed, the Big Bad itself was a rather underwhelming.
One more thing for parents: Even though I said this film is fun and humorous at times, take its PG-13 rating seriously (With a little blood, it would've likely gotten an R-rating).
I liked SUICIDE SQUAD – and you know I call ‘em like I see ‘em (e.g. my BATMAN v SUPERMAN review). I gotta give props to writer and director David Ayer. He took a concept that, on paper, might not work and made it work…really well. The end product is the greatest comic book film with supervillain heroes ever! (See what I did there?)
So my recommendation to you is to gather up your squad, go see this movie, and get your, um, #skwad on. You won’t be disappointed! - Bill "Jett" Ramey
(FYI: Don't leave when the film ends, OK? Sit through the first wave of the end credits.)
SUICIDE SQUAD hits theaters on AUGUST 5, 2016! CLICK HERE for all of BOF's SUICIDE SQUAD coverage!
A life-long Batman fan, Bill "Jett" Ramey
is the founder of BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM.
He likes Elvis, Rock-N-Roll,
The University of Texas, cold beer,
Dallas Cowboys Football, and of course...
He resides in the GREAT state of TEXAS with his lovely wife, three kids, and two Boston Terriers.