I really loved “Suicide Squad” the first time I saw it, back when it was called “The Dirty Dozen.” Okay, now that I have the sarcastic comment out of the way, let’s actually review the film, shall we? Yes, there are comparisons to “The Dirty Dozen,” the good guys have a dangerous mission that can only be handled by the baddest bad guys and gals, and the mission is nothing short of impossible. There are few original ideas coming to the screen these days, so that is in no way a knock on “Suicide Squad.” In fact, the film is downright okay.
The DC cinematic universe needs a hit. A big, breakout hit. Well, there is plenty to recommend in “Suicide Squad” and more than a little that did not work especially well. There’s a dark, ominous, feel to the film and the tone is even darker than the cinematography. The story works because the cast has some bright spots – Margot Robbie and Will Smith – and everyone else is solid. Well, more on that later.
Margot Robbie hit the genetic jackpot when it comes to natural beauty. Seeing her on talk shows or on the red carpet at an awards shows, it becomes fairly obvious the woman is gorgeous. She is also proving to be a fairly good actor too. As Harley Quinn, she captures the unhinged, insane love of the Joker’s life. There’s a sequence when she takes a dive into the insanity pool so she and the Joker can be crazy together. There’s genuine love in her eyes as she falls toward the future. Seeing her fight her way out of an elevator and look at the rest of the squad when the doors open as if nothing happened is priceless. My big fear was the film would fail in bringing Harley Quinn to the big screen. Happily, I was wrong. Will Smith as Deadshot is also satisfying.
He’s a killer for hire that never misses with a soft spot for his daughter. He also has Smith’s natural screen presence and sense of humor. Some of the best lines come out of his mouth, rapid-fire, and hit the mark. He moves the story forward and is the glue that holds the team of rejects, reprobates and thugs together. He also makes the now-passive Diablo (the subtle, impressive, Jay Hernandez) lose his cool and torch a building. Viola Davis is fairly dull as Amanda Waller. The worst part of the casting is Jared Leto as the Joker.
Plenty of people have posted their opinions everywhere regarding Leto’s performance and the lengths he went to to get into character. I’m glad they edited most of his scenes out of the final film. His Joker is a makeup smeared mess. He comes off as a guy who listened to way too much My Chemical Romance and wrote his deep thoughts in his journal. I don’t want to come off as piling on to the massive hate-fest everywhere on the internet, but Leto was more of a distraction than a plot vehicle. His screen time slowed the film down and served little purpose. His off-screen methods to get into character and play the part have been raked over the coals. The man has won an Oscar for his acting, so who am I to judge? I would have thrown the dead rat in his face if he gave it to me as a gift though.
As for the editing, the CGI and the rest of the film it is a mixed bag. There seems to be an edited-by-committee feel to “Suicide Squad.” Parts of it move seamlessly from one scene to the next. Other times, it’s a jolting ride. The CGI was good enough not to be a distraction. There are plenty of other bits to nitpick, but as a guy who grew up loving DC Comics, it felt good to leave the theater not just not disappointed, but looking forward to the coming Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn films.